That damned clock.
It never stops ticking. Minutes, hours, days..... Not a single moment goes by where I dont hear the infernal sound of another second being ticked away by the clock that hangs in the farthest, darkest wall of this hellhole that I now call home.
Not that Ive ever really had somewhere to call home, you see. My whole life Ive drifted from place to place, never finding a place or person that could truly accept me and give me that sense of belonging Ive craved for so long. I couldnt find home with my parents, who abandoned me; couldnt find home at the orphanage, where I was always the outcast; couldnt find home with my foster parents, who hated me; definitely couldnt find home at Balamb Garden, where my role was the bully and the eternal failure.
I thought for a while that my search for a true home had ended when I met Ultimecia. Being her knight gave me a sense of duty, a natural high of self-righteousness and glory; finally I was doing something worth remembering, and for a sorceress who could appreciate my talents and passions. But I was defeated, cruelly cast aside, abandoned for the second time in my life and left with a void bigger than the one Id had to begin with.
And to make matters worse, now the whole world hates my guts.
Only my posse defended me, stood by my side when everyone spat in my face and hurled words burning with hatred, cursing me to a dozen lifetimes in hell. Yes, I was a traitor. Yes, I did things even the most vicious and power-hungry of men would cringe at. Yes, I almost brought the world to its knees at the feet of a woman who would crush time itself in her warped madness.
But cant they see why I did it? Cant they see that all I wanted was a shred of honor, the smallest sense of belonging and the realization of a romantic dream. My mind was clouded, my dreams obscured by the haze that was that womans venomous words, savage eyes, soulless smile....
Who the hell would put a clock in a prison cell?
But even my posse couldnt defend me against the world. I remember watching their faces as I was being dragged from the courtroom, my sentence still ringing in my ears. Sad and angry and hopeless and bitter, all these emotions concentrated at me through two morose brown eyes and one fierce red one. I was kicking and screaming, the reality of it all crashing around me and sending fury, shock, and....yes, fear, coursing through my veins.
Three life sentences.
I am condemned to hell, not once, not twice; but three times will I have to face the devil for my sins.
Tick tock tick tock.....dammit just shut UP.
And thats how Ive ended up here. A bloody trail of lost battles, sworn enemies, and glorious, unfulfilled promises all lead me to this tiny, black cell where I am to spend the rest of my existence rotting away in humiliation, disgrace, and the constant smell of death and cold, hard steel pervading my senses.
Some people say that our only true enemy is time. Well, those people know nothing, and I mean nothing about just how horrible time can be. It draws out like a blade, every passing second an eternity that seems to stretch out into a never-ending black hole in front of you, and youre left staring it in the face like looking down the barrel of a gun. Only, a gun could bring you peace, provide an end quick and painless, but time.....
Time makes every memory an incessant torture, elevating every guilt and crushing every hope. It gives you nothing but a despairing void of anguish, of knowing there will never be anything else in your life but an eternity of staring at blank walls and wondering where you went wrong.
And the sad thing is, I know I deserve it all. Ive done everything theyve accused me of and more. I cant even take a piss without pissing guilt.
I lie here, seeing nothing but blackness and passing visions of what I used to dream I could become.... Unseen vermin scuttle around in the dark corners of my cell, the only company I have in this wet, fetid shit-hole, furnished with only a small filthy toilet and a dirty cot that is hard and cold as rock.
I swear to God Im going to tear that clock off the fucking wall.
Sleep used to be the only savior I had. I could escape reality, if only for a few meager hours, and it was blissful release. Now, even my sleep is haunted by horrific dreams. Every night I see bodies strewn everywhere, bloodied and broken; endless fields of carnage that are scorched black and red. I look down to see bloodstained hands, and I know that it is me who has done all this. The killing never stops, the lies and hatred never ends, and I see myself failing over and over and over again, unable to stop myself, unable to warn those who stood in my path, unable to--
Almasy, you have a visitor.
Who in Gods name would visit me here, and after all this time....
Not even my posse came to see me after I was sentenced to three lifetimes in the D-District Prison. Not once.
Make it quick. You got 15 minutes, lady.
The door to my cell swings open, letting in a blinding shaft of light that forces my eyes to squeeze shut and my arms to fly up protectively over my face. My eyes remain closed, and I pray pray pray the door will shut and please stop hurting my eyes like this....
Whoever came to visit me stands silent for a moment, their silhouette casting itself across my shivering body like some shadowy beast until the thick metal door is slowly shut behind them. The sound of six inches of reinforced steel being closed resounds loudly for a moment, echoing in my tiny cell like a gunshot, followed by the sound of high heels clicking on the bare cement underneath them. The clacking of heels comes closer to me, and I slowly open my eyes, lowering my arms in wonderment of who this visitor, my only human contact for months, could be....
Long blonde hair. Penetrating blue eyes. Tall, shapely figure. Even by the scanty shafts of light provided by the bars in my cell door, I have no trouble discerning the beauty of a woman who has come to see me, the scum of the universe.
God, shes still as regal and beautiful as I remember her, golden hair flowing in sweeping tresses down the sides of her pale, oval face. Lips still as pink and full and pouty as in my memories, still standing straight and proud and exuding the intelligence and sophistication of a woman who became SeeD instructor by the age of fifteen. Her ice blue eyes widen a little, obviously taking in my appearance and not believing what she sees.
Seifer Almasy, the one Im sure everyone remembers, was always larger than life, towering over those who would challenge him with an arrogant sneer and over six feet of trained muscle straining to lash out. I prided myself on intimidating people at first sight; striking fear in others was one of the few things I was good at and I enjoyed it, reveling in the feeling of being powerful and impressive in the eyes of those weaker than me. Tanned to perfection, hardened and sculpted by years of practice, and armed with the deadliest of weapons, a resplendent sword that sliced flesh and glittered with deadly accuracy in my hands, I believed no man could get the better of me and everyone saw it plainly on every one of my features.
If they could only see me now.
The Seifer Almasy that Quistis is seeing is only a ghost, a mere whisper of the man I used to be. I imagine what I must look like in her eyes right now; pale, ashen, my clothes baggy from all the weight Ive lost. My hair, which used to be short and clean with a loose lock or two to add a daring charm to my appearance, now hangs messily in greasy, unwashed clumps reaching down past my shoulders. My nails are yellowed and uncut, dirt and grime covers every inch of my body, my lips are dry and cracked. Remnants of cuts and dried blood can be seen everywhere, evidence of nights when I bit my lip clear through in my dreams and days when I was mercilessly lashed and brutally beaten on the whims of the guards.
I wonder if she is disgusted by what she sees, or simply shocked.
Either way, she disguises her emotions quickly and strides over to where I am crouched on my cot, still disbelieving that she is here; an actual, living, breathing person come to visit me.
She hesitates for a moment, looking me over head to toe with a sad look in her eyes, then quietly sits down next to me. The cot creaks with the added weight, and I subconsciously shrink away from her with apprehension in my eyes.
Surprise and little bit of hurt crosses her face as she sees me react to her closeness, followed quickly by sorrow and pity.
Dont look at me like that....
I dont want you to see me like this.
I hate what Ive become. I hate that Im such a sick mockery of what I used to be.
And yet......part of me does want her to look, to see what Ive become, what theyve done to me and what Ive done to myself. I want her to be appalled, to be shocked, to feel anger and regret and sadness. It makes me feel more....real. To know that someone can still see me, that I havent wasted away into nothing just yet.
Seifer.... she starts. Her voice sounds shaky and unsure of herself. She licks her lips and tries again.
Seifer....do you remember me?
Like I could fucking forget. Just because I look like this, just because Im only a skeleton of a human being doesnt mean Ive forgotten who I used to be. Thats all I can think about anymore, other than the eternity of silence and solitude that is to be my future.
Yes, you. I know you never noticed the way I would look at you when you walked past me, stealing little longing glances when you had your back turned to us in class or when you were talking to him. Hating you for loving him, hating myself for wanting you, and worshipping you more with every breath you took. I can loathe you, want you, hate you, desire you.....
.....but never forget you.
....Yes. Of course I remember. Instructor Trepe. My voice comes out weak and scratchy, catching in my throat from not having been used in ages.
She smiles a little, reassured that I havent forgotten, but her smile quickly dies as she looks at me and is reminded of where she is and what shes doing here. Which is still a mystery to me....
Seifer....I cant....cant begin to tell you how I feel. I know nobody else knows, but I know that what you did wasnt your fault. You dont belong here. And seeing you like...this, she averts her gaze, unable to look me in the face any longer, only makes me feel worse about whats happened to you. Im so sorry. I failed you as a teacher; if only I couldve done something differently, maybe you wouldve turned out differently, maybe you wouldnt have chosen the path you did. I should have been more understanding, saw things differently, tried harder to be the instructor I shouldve been, but I-
Your fault? You shouldve? You failed? Quistis, the only failure was me. Nobody made decisions for me; Seifer Almasy decided his own path and anybody who didnt agree could go fuck themselves. Dont think for even one second that this was your fault because I chose to do what I did by myself and no one helped me to reach hell but me.
Stop it. I did what I wanted to and you know it. So you can stop feeling sorry for yourself and you can sure as hell stop feeling sorry for me. I felt a little bit of my old arrogance come back as I said that, haughtiness and disdain creeping into my voice.
Quistis only looked at me. But someone couldve made you see....forced you to stop and look at what you were doing. We, I, didnt try hard enough to stop you or help you; we only thought of defeating you and not what you were going through yourself-
Oh, and I suppose you think you couldve stopped me? That you and your little friends could be my saviors and make me see the light? Dont fool yourself. What else were you supposed to do but think of how to defeat me, how to beat what was threatening your lives? And as for what I was going through....well none of you could have possibly known, could you.
My throat was already starting to hurt; this was the most Id used it in God only knows how long. I wasnt about to let this stop me though; my voice started to grow in volume and fervency. Ive kept this inside for too long.
I was hurting people and you did what you thought was right. To hell with how I felt, theres no reason you should give a damn. If I were you, I wouldnt care what happens to my enemy as long as hes stopped, and I have been stopped and Im here now so why should this worry you anymore? Why are you even here, why wait all this time just to come back and see me for what I am and try to apologize for something when its no use, not even your fault? Why do you have to come here and rub it in, remind me of what a failure I am? The wars over, you won, stop trying to be so damned diplomatic and leave me to rot like the miserable piece of garbage I am.
The more I said, the more resentful I became, feeling the anger that was the old Seifer Almasys trademark rising in my throat with all the other emotions I had swallowed when I came to prison. Minutes ago I had been wallowing in self pity, wishing that someone, anyone, would empathize with the pain and loneliness I felt and now I couldnt stand the thought of someone feeling sorry for me.
I slowly started to come out of the scared position I had assumed when Quistis entered my cell and advanced on her inch by inch, anger flashing in my eyes and my hands shaking with unsuppressed emotion surging forth after being contained in darkness and silence for so long.
When have you ever cared, or anyone else for that matter, about what I felt before? Why are you coming back now? So you can be the perfect little instructor that everyone knows you are, so you can pity me and feel sorry for me and make yourself feel better? Youre not a fucking saint, so stop trying to be one. I dont need your pity. I dont need forgiveness, not from anyone; not you, not God, not the whole shit-infested world. I dont deserve it and I dont want it.
She started to look scared and tried scooting away from me, but she was backed up against the cold cell wall with nowhere to go. Her eyes became frantic, a mixture of confusion and fear, but somewhere in them, I could see that she still wanted to help me, to reach out to me, hoping that I would calm down and let her reason with me and it made me even angrier.
You say youre here for me, to apologize to me for everything youve done to wrong me. Thats bullshit, and dont think Im going to believe that for a second. You came here for yourself, so you could stop feeling bad about what you couldnt help and so you wanted to seek my forgiveness. You wanted me to tell you its ok what you did, its ok whats happened to me so you can just forget me and move on. You want this for yourself because you know what? You never cared about me and you never will; no one will.
Shes about to cry, I swear I can already see the tears welling up and her lip is quivering. But I cant stop.
I always wanted you to care, dammit! You never saw it before, how I loved you and how I love you still because youre so caught up in your own unrequited love and your own troubles that you cant see mine!
I was face to face with her now, her blue eyes staring straight into my green ones, and for a moment I was left without words I was so choked with emotion.
I knew what I was doing to her. My thoughts were so confused and so bitter that they were getting all mixed up and not making any sense, so I hurled them at her with poison in my voice, hoping to hurt her the way shes hurt me. I wanted her care, her loving smile and soft embrace for so long, but I was never once graced with either. So now I want her to feel the coldness and the loathing I felt when I couldnt have her, when I lost her to someone else. I want her to feel pain, the way I did. I want to hurt her.
She looks so lost, eyes wildly searching my face, not knowing what she should feel or say so she just stays silent. I can tell Ive shocked her by telling her I loved her, but I was past caring whether or not she could handle everything I was pouring onto her at once. Id kept everything bottled up for so long, resigned to never being able to tell it to anyone, and now that I could it was all rushing forth faster and more vehemently than I could control.
All this time, no one to talk to, no one to understand me, no one to just fucking listen.
And now here I was, unexpectedly inches away from the face of the woman whos haunted my dreams for as long as I can remember and I want to throw her to the floor and pull her into my arms all at the same time. Just like always, shes making me hate her and love her at the same time.
I hate her because she feels sorry for me, because she came here trying to lift a weight off her chest and somehow I dont want her to, I want the guilt and burden of my sins to weigh on someone other than myself I know its so incredibly selfish but I do I do I want someone to acknowledge my existence even if its through guilt because it makes me real and it will keep me in her mind and if Im not in her mind I think Ill just disappear and itll be like I was never here in the first place and I cant stand it I want her to see me to think of me pleasedonteverforgetme....
I love her because she had the courage to try, to come here, because she is the woman Ive always admired and loved and cant stop loving because shes so beautiful and smart and strong-willed. I love her because a small part of me still clings to the hope that maybe someone out there still cares, still remembers the way I was. That maybe she didnt just come here for her own peace of mind, but because she actually....cares.....about me. I love because I want her to love me back.
Time seems to hold still for a second, and for once, I dont really mind.
Shes still wrestling over everything Ive told her. I can see emotions churning inside of her, a chaotic frenzy, and shes trying to sort it out, trying to reason with it like she always does. For once, though, I dont think she can. Ive finally succeeded in making her feel, making her see the confusion that has been my life, but I dont feel the triumph or relief that I thought I would. I only feel more lost.
Finally her lips move, and it takes me a second to realize that shes speaking.
Seifer....I.....never knew. I had no idea. You shouldve said something.....Why didnt.....why didnt you say anything?
I only look at her, my eyes slanting and hardening, projecting everything I want to say without words. And what could I have said? Would it have changed anything?
I hate rejection.
Her lip shakes even more, and Im positive shes on the verge of crying.
Good. I hope shes suffering right now. I hope she knows what I feel. I hope her heart is aching and her vision is blurred and her temples are throbbing and her blood is burning and her mind screams with confusion--
The tears fall, one down each cheek. They slip down her porcelain skin silently, leaving glimmering trails of silver wetness, gliding like knives that slice ice cold into my bitter heart.
I.....Ive made her cry. I dont want this. I dont want her to hurt, oh please stop crying! I cant stand what Ive done; I wish Id never told her. Why did I want this? Am I really that bitter, that lonely, that angry? What a monster Ive become.
Im trying to think of what to say, my mind scrambling for a way to take it back, to retract what Ive done to her, quick quick quick I have to make you stop hurting
and then your hand touches mine.
Time stops for the second time since I saw you walk in that door. Your touch as you gently close your hand over mine sends shockwaves down my spine, even though your fingers are barely touching mine. This is the first time Ive felt someone, the first real, human, solid contact Ive had in months and Im amazed at how I could have ever taken so wonderful a sensation for granted.
Your hand is astonishingly warm against my cold, pallid fingers. It feels so good, so human. So you. I can feel small, rough calluses on your palm from where you so tightly grip your whip, and it contrasts with the rest of your hand, which is soft and delicate and pulsing with heat against my skin. It feels so alien and yet so welcome, this warmth that spills over from your hand and into mine, spreading into every muscle, every vein, every bone in my body.
Ive never felt anything this extraordinary in my life.
I tear my eyes away from where youve placed your hand so lovingly over mine, and the look in those mesmerizing pools of cerulean blue that greet them makes my heart stop.
You are so breathtakingly beautiful when you cry.
This time Im not angry when you say it. I drink in your words, because this time I believe they are sincere, that finally, finally someone has said something to me with meaning, withcare in their voice.
Im so sorry....
Youre leaning forward, bringing your face closer to mine, and I see your eyes closing and your hand grips mine even tighter and your breath is warm and gentle as it caresses my lips and you kiss me.
My heart races, and for a moment, a moment that seems suspended in time it is so unreal, so inexplicably wonderful, I am no longer the filthy, scared, cowering wisp of a human being that was sentenced to a lifetime of loneliness and suffering, but a man. A real man, like I used to be. For the precious moments that your soft lips are pressed against mine, I am again Seifer Almasy, the tough, brazen, proud man full of dreams and hope and love, handsome and tall and brimming with life.
There is so much clarity in the seconds that you reach out to me; I can see myself laughing as Fuujin and Raijin fight over breakfast; yelling as young cadets go scrambling at the sight of me and my clipboard; exulting as I spar with Squall and beat him for the first time; blushing as Im called on by my gorgeous instructor. My hair is no longer unkempt, my skin is no longer ashen, my eyes are no longer dull; I am as I once was, radiating glory and honor in a sweeping coat of gray emblazoned with a fiery red cross: a true knight, when I am kissing you.
For once, I want time to hold still. You make me feel so real and alive. I could stay in this moment forever.
But of course, time never listens to anyone, least of all me. Another second ticks by on the clock and you have separated from me, your eyes fluttering open. I could have spent eternity secured in your lips, but the tick-tock of the clock overhead doesnt allow for dreams like mine to come true.
Mercifully your hand has not left mine, for if you had withdrew all of yourself from me so suddenly I would have gone mad. Instead, my clarity, my moment of bliss drains away from me slowly, disappearing like wisps of a cloud being drawn away from my mind. I desperately try to cling to the happiness that bathed me in your kiss, but your warmth is slowly pulling away from me, and the purity I saw for mere seconds is trickling away, leaving me cold and wanting.
Im me again, gaunt and dirty and scared. The cell around me which had disappeared at the touch of your lips now melts back into view, a blackness that starts at the edges of my vision and slowly seeps into substantiality. Ive tumbled headfirst back into reality, and it feels colder than ever.
You watch me, piercing blue eyes searching for my response. I cant look at you; I simply cant because I know I wont be able to take it, seeing you in here amidst all this filth and damnation. Youre a reminder of the life I almost had, a glowing beacon in the middle of an abyss filled with death and ruin; my fates. I can never leave this place; this hideous cell is my future. That is my reality, not the bliss I felt in the warmth of your kiss. You were a momentary reprieve, a moment of clarity and hope that doesnt belong in a place like this.
I cant stand to look at you because it will only make me hurt more.
I wish you had never come here.
But I force myself to look into your eyes, to savor the look and feel and smell of you one last time. I know it will kill me, I know it will only magnify the pain once you have left, but I cant help myself. I simply cant.
I see you there, eyes still brimming with tears, hand still grasping mine. You look so sad, so sad. I can feel your heart aching; you exude a sorrow and a wretchedness I hoped never to see etched across your elegant features. My heart is breaking. Im helpless when it comes to you. I cant look at you anymore.
So I turn away again, and I hear you cry out softly to me, pleading to me with those eyes shining with grief, but I cant see them because Im struggling desperately to block out your pleas.
Seifer.....Seifer, look at me!! Please....why wont you look at me....
Stop it. Just stop it. Stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it
You think I want this? You think I want this fate?? To never know freedom again? To suffer for all eternity in the hollowness that is life without you? To be bound and broken by a darkness that I have condemned myself to with my own hands, doomed to face an eternity in hell where I will forever see my hands stained with blood Ive spilt and lives I put to waste? You think I want that? I dont I dont I DONT!!!! But youre only making this worse for me. You dont know how empty Im going to feel once youve left me in this place. So stop making it worse.
Look at me!!!! I want you to look at me!!! Cant you see how I feel about you? Cant you see what Im going through right now? Cant you see that I love you too?? Why are you doing this to me??!?
I want to be with you every second of every day for the rest of our lives, loving you and watching you love me back and holding you, breathing you in and being happy with you but I cant! I want to SO BAD but it doesnt work that way.... We reap what we sow, and whatever Im about to reap you certainly dont deserve. You deserve so much better and looking at you reminds me of that.
I will never look up at the stars with you. I will never take you to a carnival and win you a stuffed animal. I will never share a sundae with you, made with extra fudge just the way you like it. I will never take long walks in the rain with you. I will never make love to you. I will never cuddle with you by a warm fireplace on a cold winter night. I will never watch you walk down the aisle, an angelic vision in flowing white and pale flowers. I will never turn over in bed in the middle of the night to watch you breathe as you sleep. I will never watch with you as our children grow up. I will never grow old with you.
Im doomed to spend eternity without you. Everything we can ever share, I shared with you in that moment in which you kissed me; that was our eternity together, and we have already spent it.
You try one last time to reach me, but by now your voice is only a broken whisper and Ive made myself deaf to your cries.
She is lost to me.
Lady, your 15 minutes are up. You gotta go.
She lingers for a moment, hoping feebly that I will turn around and look at her, that I will embrace her and tell her again that I love her. I dont even move. The cot creaks again as she slowly, hesitantly rises, her hand raising itself as if to touch me, caress me one last time, but then she turns around and walks out the door and is gone, shutting out the only light Ive ever had in my life.
She never came back.
So here I am again, left listening in the darkness to the sound of a clock that never seems to stop. Sometimes I dream about her, but those dreams are always painful and fleeting and I wake up from them reaching out to her in the darkness. I cant count how many times Ive woken up in the middle of the night, my arm outstretched, disappearing into the blackness in front of me, hoping to grasp her, to feel her warmth, to touch her one last time. Its then that I feel like crying. Sometimes an old, forgotten part of me tells me not to cry, that real men dont cry, but then I remember that there is absolutely no one here and no one sees me and I let go and I cry.
I hope she is off somewhere having the time of her life. I hope the reason that I have never seen her since that time we kissed is because shes living the life I wanted to share with her with someone else, someone who makes her happy. I hope shes making mistakes, learning from them, taking in every moment of life that she can and loving it. I hope she is looking up at the stars. I hope she is taking long walks in the rain and eating sundaes with extra chocolate fudge on them. I hope she is happy.
The only time a hand touches mine since she came is when the guards rain down blows on me, and I actually look forward to it. Its an empty, disgusting mockery of her, a farce of human contact, but its all I have. But then they deny me even that and they rain down blows instead with their heavy boots, breaking every little last bit of pride and dignity and self in my body into a million little pieces and crushing it with their black boots until it scatters into dust under their feet.
It doesnt matter anymore that I dont have any pride left. It doesnt matter anymore that I cry in the middle of the night like a little boy. It doesnt matter that I dont know anymore what it means to be human. It doesnt matter that I cant remember what love felt like.
Nothing matters when no one can see you.
And no one will see me. Because I will spend all of eternity locked away in darkness.....
.......someone please take away that damned clock.......
Authors Notes: And there you have it, my first angst-filled fanfic. Well okay, so its actually my first fanfic period if youre going to be all technical. That poor poor Seifer! Hes my absolute favorite character in FF8, and yet I do such cruel things to him....I swear, in my next fic Ill give him a really happy ending to make up for it. Please feel free to comment/criticize but try and keep everything constructive! I really want to hear what people think about this piece. Try not to flame me (though Im sure some of you will....actually Im sure a lot of you will) but just keep in mind, this is the absolute first fanfic Ive written, so please be gentle!!! E-mail me at: email@example.com (P.S. Please try and put something about FF8 in the title of the e-mail so I dont mistake it as spam and delete it.....not that Ive ever done that before or anything.......)