Pins & Needles Chapter 9
The group stood around paralyzed as more and more noises were coming from Seifer's room. At first, it was indecipherable sounds of derision. Those grew to soft painful cries for something to stop and leave him alone.
Quistis peered at Tayle Kadowaki with uneasiness. "Who's gonna go in there first?"
"Not me!" Irvine whispered back.
Raijin started to move towards the room when Edea stopped him. "I shall go first."
"Don't try and get him to talk to you at first." The doctor warned. "Wait until he speaks to you. That way you'll know he's sober enough to talk to."
Matron nodded, going to the door and opening it. She softly stepped into the room, closing the door behind her. She once again laid her eyes on the now animate form of Seifer.
His brow was crinkled and covered with sweat. His face twisted in fear, confusion, and anger. Too many emotions. Edea want to run to him. Wrap him in her arms like she did when he was a child. Try to ease his mind. Everything will be alright. She wanted to make it alright. She wanted that power. Power to make it stop.
"Matron?" A harsh and cracked voice said, breaking her from her reflection. Seifer was looking at her now. His eyes were still red and glassy from the drugs, but he was conscious.
Give him your smile, her mind told her. That smile he always loved. So, she did. The smile that she would use when he was hurting but tried to act like he didn't. "Seifer " she said softly. Edea went to him, slowly, and sat beside him on the bed. "You gave me quiet a scare, child."
"Why? I'm not sick." He told her, in the boyish innocent voice of Seifer's that she hadn't heard in years.
"Still being brave." Matron said, lightly touching his face. "But you are sick, my dear. And I'm going to help you get better."
Seifer frowned and Pouting? "Does this mean I can't play 'Knights' with Squally today?"
Oh dear He thinks he's back at the orphanage? Maybe I shouldn't have been first. Matron took the blanket folded neatly at the end of the bed and pulled it over him, tucking him in. "Not today, Seifer." She told him, trying to hide the sadness in her tone. "You must rest so you can get well." If only for a little while, you can forget we can both forget what we've done
"Okay " He gave in, still pouting.
Edea kissed his forehead and stood. "Sleep well. I'll be right outside if you need me." She assured him, casting a sleep spell on him. "Good night, my brave boy I love you."
The people that had taken seats jumped back up as Edea exited Seifer's room. They all stared at her silently, awaiting her to speak. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. "He's asleep now."
Raijin bit his lip. "What what did he say?"
"He was conscious, but he wasn't lucid. He was " She paused.
Cid put his arm around his wife. "What is it dear?"
Matron gave a sad, haunted smile. "He was disappointed that he couldn't play 'Knights' with Squall today."
While everyone else was bewildered, Irvine laughed softly. "I remember that."
"You do?" Zell asked, curiously.
"Yeah they played Knights a lot, before Ellone left. We'd all play. Ellone would be the Queen, cause she was the oldest. And Quisty and Selphie would be the Princess's they would rescue from me and Zell. I was the evil Warlord, and Zell was my troll sidekick."
"Troll?!" Zell exclaimed.
"How would it end?" Quistis asked, ignoring Zell's outburst.
Irvine frowned. "They would beat us, of course. But then we would be forgiven and allowed to live with you all in the castle. Happily ever after."
Quistis shook her head, turning to Matron. "Could he have been possessed too? Like you were?"
"Ultimecia made him do all that, didn't she?" Zell pleaded more than asked.
"No, only a sorceress can be possessed by another sorceress." Edea said.
Quistis nodded. "That makes sense. If Ultimecia could possess whoever she wanted, she would've just possessed Ellone from the beginning."
"But," Matron inferred, "That doesn't mean he was acting of his own free will."
"What do you mean?" Raijin asked.
"Sorceress, as a whole, have some of the same powers. Such as the use of different magic, levitation, walking though solid walls and doors." Edea told them, "But sorceresses also have powers unique to themselves. Ultimecia had the power of time control and compression. I had the power to captivate the masses. You might remember in Deling City how the crowd reacted positively even though the tone of the speech was atrocious." Zell and Quistis looked at the sniper, who nodded fervently. "Ultimecia could have easily persuaded Seifer to turn against the Garden. And with her possessing me, a woman whom he known as a mother, how could he refuse. Even thought the GF's were meant for you to forget that, Ultimecia could have brought back those memories to him."
Zell nodded. "She had plenty of time between Timber and Deling City to convince him."
"She used all the things that ever happened to him against him. His dreams, his rivalry, his failure " Quistis thought out loud.
"And made him promises of glory, victory, and the acceptance he desperately craved." Edea added.
"By the time Matron wasn't possessed, it was too late to turn back." Irvine spoke.
"And if he had said no, he would've been killed." Zell also added.
"Maybe maybe we won't have to keep this a secret forever, ya know. We could make them understand, right? We could come back, and it'll be like old times except better, ya know!" Raijin exclaimed.
The room went silent. After a few moments of this, Dr. Kadowaki spoke up. "We'll see, Raijin. But we have to get them better first."
"Yeah " Raijin said, his excitement deflated a bit.
"Well, we should start getting prepared." Tayle suggested, turning to Quistis, Zell, and Irvine. "You three should go back to your rooms and get the things you'll need. Clothing and supplies for a couple weeks. You'll probably want some things to keep you occupied too. Edea and I will put down some cots for you too sleep on."
The three SeeDs concurred and left the infirmary once again. The Garden was noiseless and placid, with only their footsteps to be heard.
"Hey Quisty," Irvine whispered as they made their way to the dorms, "what time is it?"
She looked down at her watch. "11:30."
"Oh shit!" The cowboy exclaimed.
"What?" Zell asked him.
"It's about this time, every night, that Rinoa sneaks out of Squall's room." Irvine replied.
Quistis' mouth dropped. "You're kidding."
"Maybe she'll stay there tonight. She's done it before." Zell observed.
"Let's hope." Irvine said.
"And how do you guys know all this?" She questioned.
Zell stifled a chuckle and Irvine winked. "Squall's opened up some since hooking up with her." He said.
Irvine, Zell, and Quistis entered their dorms and began gathering up their supplies. Quistis hurriedly packed clothing, personal belongings, and some books for all three of them. It had been about ten minutes when there was a knock at her door. Her heart jumped in her throat wondering who it could be.
"Quistis, it's me Zell." The voice said through the door.
Sighing with relief, she opened it. "What is it?"
He smiled at her. "Irvine is already on his way back. I just came to see if you needed any help."
Quistis blushed slightly. "Alright here." She told him, handing over a small duffel bag.
Zell noticed her face colored. It made his heart skip a beat. Maybe Irvine telling her wasn't such a bad thing after all. She was finally taking notice of the nice things he'd been trying to do for her. Maybe he could finally prove to her that he wasn't some brainless jock. But he would have to watch his behavior, especially while watching Seifer. He would have to keep his anger in check. He would not disappoint Quistis.
"Quistis " He spoke as they walked down the hallway.
"I I know you're doing this for Seifer and Fujin." He told her. She said nothing, so he continued. "And I'm kinda doing this for them too. But I'm really doing this for you."
Zell swallowed nervously. "I guess what I'm saying is that I'm gonna do my best."
Quistis looked over at Zell. "I know you will."
"I won't let you down." He continued, not taking his eyes off of her.
She smiled warmly. "Thank you."
"And I just wanna say that I " He stopped, trying to cease stumbling on his words.
Quistis stopped walking and faced him. "Zell, you don't have to "
"No," he interjected, "It's not fair that Irvine said it and I didn't I want to."
Zell cleared his throat. He'd been waiting for this moment for years. To be standing before her, with her full attention. And even thought she already knew what he was going to say, he still felt the orange-sized lump in his throat. "Quistis, I "
Footfalls from a distance interrupted him. Whoever they belonged to was approaching them from around the corner of the dorms. "There's nowhere we can hide!" Zell exclaimed.
"Hide the bags at least!" Quistis urged him. Their bags were shoved behind some decorative plants, out of view. "What if it's one of our friends? What if they ask questions?" She whispered.
The footsteps were coming closer. Zell's mind panicked. He had no idea what he would say if it were one of their friends. Closer. If there was a way that whoever it was would ignore them
I'm sorry." Zell said quickly.
Rinoa swore she heard talking from around the corner. It would be just embarrassing to get caught coming out of Squall room. She quietly tiptoed up to the corner of the hall, and peeked her head around the other side. She instantly recognized one of the figures that was halfway down the hall. What's Zell doing out this late? She could also see someone's arms wrapped around his neck. Ooh! What have I stumbled on? Who's he with? Rinoa saw Zell passionately kissing someone a blond a tall blond. Quistis!? Zell and Quistis!? Sure enough, with a closer look, the young instructor was lip-locked with the energetic fighter. Rinoa threw her hand up over her mouth to keep from giggling hysterically. She wanted to scream out congratulations to them, but knew it would be inappropriate. They'd be embarrased if they saw me I'll just go the long way, Rinoa told herself. She quickly continued down the hall she was already in, bypassing her friends.
As Zell heard the footsteps begin to walk away again, he held the kiss for a moment longer. Partly because he wanted to make sure she was gone, and partly because he was enjoying it. When he finally released the embrace, he looked down the hall where Rinoa had come from.
"It worked!" Zell exclaimed. He heard a strange noise coming from the woman who he still had his arms wrapped around. Quistis face had a look of utter surprise. He immediately released her and stepped a few feet back. "I'm sorry Quistis! It was the only thing I could thing of!"
Quistis quickly tried to compose herself. "It-it-it's q-q-quite al-right. L-let's g-g-go." She stammered out her words, her cheeks flushed red again and a big smiled forced its way to her face.
Zell blushed as well and rubbed the back of his head. His lips still tingled from where hers had been. They both gathered their bags and continued down to the infirmary, without saying anything else.
Notes: Took me long enough to write this! I hope you like it. Hopefully, the next chapter won't take quiet as long.
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