Pins & Needles Chapter 15
Relief and Release
Three days. Three long, excruciating days of waiting. Zell both rejoiced and dreaded that the third day had finally arrived. The doctor would tell them the test results at four am, which was only an hour away. Zell was happy because the wait was over. They would finally know. But what if one of them tested positive? What if he, himself, did? Zell was almost certain that he hadn't touched any open sores on either Fujin or Seifer. Nor did he have any cuts on himself. But there was always that chance. What if Quistis has it, he thought. Zell shook his head, trying to dismiss those haunting thoughts.
Instead, Zell gazed at the beauty seated across from him, the object of his affection. Her long golden hair was up in its usual style. Her thin fingers twirled a strand as she read one of her books. The pale skin of her face was illuminated by the reading light next to her. Her azure eyes darted back and forth across the pages. Seifer is right, he told himself, I am a lovesick puppy.
Zell hesitantly tore his eyes from Quistis and looked at the table. What if she does have it? I I wouldn't be able to do anything! I'd have to sit and watch her die, like Fujin. Zell recalled a scene from earlier that evening. Seifer, silently hunched over Fujin. His eyes distant and cold. Watching her struggle for air. Struggle for life. Zell shuddered and looked up from the table, only to find Quistis looking back at him.
"You okay?" she asked tenderly.
"Yeah, me too."
Zell shook his head shamefully. "I'm worried about you." He said, then pounded his fist on the table. "I should be worried about everybody! Especially me! But " Quistis just smiled, stopping his rant dead in it's tracks. That smile could melt ice. "Quisty I um I "
A door opened behind them and Irvine stepped out. Yawning and stretching with an unpleasant look on his face. "Fuckin' cots " He mumbled loudly.
"Morning, Irvine." Quistis said, holding back a laugh. Irvine groaned a reply and grabbed a coffee cup. "Been up long?"
He rubbed his eye with a free hand. "An hour or so. Considering the situation, I'm amazed I got any sleep at all." He commented, pouring the hot liquid in his cup. "But at least the wait is over."
The three sat at the table, conversing to each other. Eventually, Dr. Kadowaki arrived at her office.
"Good morning." She greeted them. "I know you've all been very patient. Give me ten minutes and I'll let you all know."
Quistis turned to her friends. "Irvine, please wake Raijin up. I'll get Seifer and Edea."
Irvine went off to his destination and Quistis went to hers. Inside, Seifer was still sitting as he was earlier, gazing over Fujin. Edea stood in the corner, sorrowfully watching them both. Quistis went to Edea. "Matron. The doctor is here." Edea acknowledged her and left the room. Seifer did not move. "Seifer?"
"I heard." He said wearily. "But I don't wanna leave." Knowing it was pointless to argue, Quistis turned to go. "Quisty?" He called behind her.
Seifer turned to face her. "Find out for me. Come back and tell me straight. No mushy bullshit."
Quistis sighed. "Alright."
Quistis, Zell, Irvine, Raijin, and Edea sat together, awaiting the doctor. All were nervous, scared. Lives were in the balance. Even after three days, the last ten minutes of not knowing took forever.
Finally, Tayle arrived with the results. She stood, expressionless, having done this before. "Edea, you tested negative." She said. Edea merely nodded. "Irvine, you also tested negative." Irvine was visibly relieved. "Zell, also negative." Zell just balled his fists, awaiting the more important result for him. "Raijin, negative." Raijin nodded as well. "Quistis, you are negative as well." Zell gasped with relief along with Quistis. He smiled at her, embracing her tightly. To her surprise, she was holding him back just as tightly.
"I was so afraid that " He whispered to her.
"Shh. It's okay now." She assured him.
Raijin ignored the two. "Seifer?" He asked, his question taking Quistis and Zell out of their embrace.
The doctor nodded. "I tested the results three times all came up positive."
The first reaction came from Raijin, who hung his head and began to sob. One could almost hear his heart breaking again. Two of his best friends, his only friends, his brother and sister were dying. Edea wept for her 'son', hugging herself as the tears fell. Irvine put his arm around his surrogate mother, trying to comfort her. Zell, who had been expecting this, still silently mourned. Quistis simply swallowed hard, and got up.
She opened the door and shut it behind her. He hates pity, you know that! She lecture herself, fighting back her sorrow.
"Well?" he asked, not facing her.
"You tested positive." She said, her voice betraying her. Quistis watched his reaction.
Relief. Plain and simple relief.
"And the rest of you?"
"All negative." She responded.
Greater relief, followed by a smile. "I wanted it, you know that." Seifer told her.
Quistis nodded. "Yes," she uttered, "but I don't have to like it."
"You'll get over it." He told her flatly.
Quistis gave in and let a tear fall. "No, I won't." She said, the firmness she tried placing in her voice came out shaky. He looked at her, uncertainly. "You were my student." She continued, watching him rise and walk to her. "And my friend."
Seifer smirked, not his vicious smirk, but the amused one. "And your enemy." Quistis shook her head, more tears running down her face. "Didn't I say no mushy bullshit?"
Quistis laughed a little through her tears. "You always were a stubborn bastard!"
"I know." He replied with a smile.
Seifer's head snapped around quick. Fujin was awake. "Fujin!" He quickly knelt by her side. "Fu "
Fujin moved her head around. " off." Her hand lazily motioned to the oxygen mask that covered her mouth.
"No, you won't be able to breathe "
"Off " she repeated.
Seifer carefully removed the mask from her face. "Get the doctor!" He said to Quistis. She quickly opened the door and called for Dr. Kadowaki.
"Seifer chest fire " She uttered though raspy coughs.
Seifer touched her face that burned with fever. "I know."
The doctor ran into the room, standing next to Seifer. "Quistis! Do you have revive magic?" She asked quickly.
But before Quistis could respond, Fujin held up her hand. "No " She told them, in the harshest tone she could muster. " no revive "
Seifer understood. "Fujin, you're gonna die! I can't let "
"No r-revive die any-way " She told him, bringing her hand to his face. The muscles in his jaw were clenched tightly. "Seifer let go."
"No!" Seifer cried, his voice filled with panic.
Fujin pressed a finger to his lips. "Let me go." She whispered to him. "Will wait for you."
Seifer smiled. "You won't have to wait long." He whispered back to her. "I know you hate it when I keep you waiting " After holding back for so long, the barrier which held back his tears finally collapsed.
Fujin's eyes began to flutter. " love you "
'Her last words were spoken and she was gone. She, the pillar of strength and of reason of the group, departed from this world. There were not enough tears to mourn her loss. The emptiness she left behind, never to be filled again. May Hyne have mercy and give the silent angel her wings.'
Excerpt from Edea Kramer's journal
Notes: Short chapter, I know. But this is one of the last.
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