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Someone wrote in
2011-01-07 04:14 pm (UTC)
FFVIII, Quistis/Seifer (1/2)
Late as always, but whatever! Hopefully one of these is what you were looking for. :)
Five Times Seifer Tried to Keep Quistis Warm
One [Once Upon A Time]
Even though the weather was warm and mild most of the year, it occasionally turned chilly, especially within the damp stone walls of the orphanage. A storm had blown up off the coast earlier and the staccato sound of the rain on the rooftops was a reminder of the biting winds that brought it.
Quistis shivered in her bed, trying to make do with only a thin cotton sheet. She turned over and looked longingly toward Selphie, asleep in the bed next to her, happily nestled in not one, but two, blankets. She'd been sick recently with a bad cold that had worried Matron, so when her friend had complained about the temperature, Quistis had dutifully offered up her coverlet. Selphie had been grateful, which had made Quistis happy, but she hadn't expected that she'd be freezing all night.
With another shiver, she turned again, presenting her back to the room. She could hear the soft, sleeping sounds of her friends, each oblivious to her dilemma. She could make out the snuffling sound Zell seemed to be making above the rest of the boys, and she wondered if he had caught Selphie's cold and would be the next one who was sick.
The girl shifted until she was on her back, staring up at the sloping stone ceiling as she tried to focus on anything but how cold her toes were. Maybe if she counted the raindrops -- 1, 2, 3...
Quistis didn't make it to 5 in her head because she felt a sharp tug on her hand, and the other one flew to cover her mouth so her surprised yelp wouldn't wake everyone else. She peered into the darkness at what had a hold of her hand and then had to stop herself from squealing again when a small light suddenly flashed on and illuminated a face inches from hers.
"Seifer!" she hissed, scrambling to sit up. "What are you doing? You're supposed to be in bed!"
He had his own blanket throw over his head like a cape as he clutched the old flashlight that Matron said was
for emergencies only
. "I'm not tired," he told her. Then, "You look cold."
cold and she told him so before adding, "Get back in your bed before you get us in trouble."
He ignored her and instead tugged again on her arm, trying to get her to join him on the floor. After a brief tussle, Quistis reluctantly followed his lead, landing in an ungraceful heap as she slid off the bed. As they tried to sort out their tangle of limbs, Quistis noticed the big rectangular-shaped item that Seifer had under his arm. "You're not supposed to use Matron's flashlight to sneak and read!"
Seifer rolled his eyes at her tone even as he adjusted the blanket so that it covered both of them. "She won't know if you don't tell her."
Quistis wanted to protest that that wasn't the point, but she was too busy relaxing into the cocoon of warmth Seifer had created around the two of them. He'd thrown the blanket over both of their heads to hide the flashlight's beam from the rest of the children, and she was pressed close to him as they squeezed together in the tight space. Seeking more relief, she buried her frozen toes against his shin.
"Hey!" he protested.
"You woke me up because you want me to read for you," she told him. "I read better and you know it."
He glared at her, thrusting the book into her hands, but he didn't disagree. "The one about the knight," he ordered. "The one who saves the kingdom and rides the white horse."
On any other night, she might've refused, but the warmth was too much to resist. Quistis ordered Seifer to hold the light just so, and then her quiet voice joined in with the sound of the rain as she entertained him with a story about the daring knight and the beautiful sorceress that saved the world.
Two [A Conjunction of Bodies]
There was something deceptive, Quistis reflected, about coastal weather. Balamb was always so warm on the beaches and the plains that it constantly surprised her how cold the nights -- and even days -- could be in the Gaulg Mountains on the island's northern hem. It had been cool but not pleasantly so when she and her companion had started their hike mid-morning, but now that the sun had dipped completely beneath the horizon, the chill was starting to set in, one that wasn't completely off-set by the small campfire they'd started. Sitting just on the edge of its fiery glow, Quistis wrapped her arms around herself in an effort to ward off the cold.
"Nice work, Trepe," Seifer said as he came back into the clearing they'd chosen for the campsite, carrying another armful of firewood. "You got the fire started and everything."
She shot him a glare at the obvious mockery in his voice. "I can't believe I let you talk me into this."
He dropped the wood near the tent they'd already pitched, then slouched down next to her in front of the fire. "What? This is a great idea." He made a vague gesture that seemed meant to encompass their bucolic surroundings. "I bet there's going to be a lot of camping in our future when we make SeeD."
"But this is our last free weekend," she protested. "After this, exams are just around the corner. I still have three texts I need to finish before I can even think about starting my review."
"Books?" Seifer snorted, shaking his head at her even as he carefully inspected the edge of his gunblade, looking for any minute damage. "This is real-life experience, which is way better than anything in those stupid texts they have us reading."
"The written exam is a huge part of SeeD qualifications," Quistis said. "You should remember that."
Seifer paused and gave her a strangely pensive look. For a moment, Quistis wasn't cold at all as she watched his animated face in the fire's red-orange light. "Everything I need to know about the fight I know here." Seifer tapped a glove hand against his chest. "It's what I was born to do."
She smiled, something soft and fond that he occasionally brought out in her when she didn't want to beat him senseless with her whip. "That's an awfully romantic view of SeeD, Seifer," she said. "I didn't know you had it in you."
"Yeah, well..." Seifer made a vague noise in the back of his throat as he made a show of his gunblade inspection. "Does this look like a nick to you?" He held it up for her to see.
"How do you think I can tell?" she asked, laughing. "It's pitch dark out here and I don't have my glasses."
Seifer grinned his acceptance of her limitation and laid the blade aside. "I guess it can wait until we get back."
"So why were you and Raijin coming up here anyway?" she asked, rubbing her hands over the back of her chilly arms.
Seifer looked confused. "Raijin?"
Quistis shot him a suspicious look. "You invited me because he backed out at the last minute, right?" It had been the story he'd given her the day before when he'd asked-begged-demanded (they were all the same with Seifer, sometimes) she join him on his little camping adventure.
"Maybe," he said, smirking. "Maybe not."
She elbowed him for his trouble. "But there is a reason?"
He held out on her for a minute before he answered. "Yes, okay? There's something I wanted to see."
Quistis made a show of looking around at the rocks and the shadowed trees, then up into the dark sky, littered with stars. "What?"
Seifer glanced between her face and the sky where she'd been looking. "You'll see."
Her doubt was palpable, even as she shivered against the wind that suddenly whipped up. "When?" she wanted to know.
"In a minute." When she apparently didn't look in the right direction, Seifer slung an arm over her shoulders, pulling her close so that her side was flush with his, touching from shoulder to ankle. She tensed under his touch, until he rolled his eyes. "Would you stop? Just look. Up there." He pointed to where the moon hung, heavy and luminous, above them.
"I could've seen the moon from my dorm room."
"Are you looking?" he asked. "Wait for it."
Quistis stared at the moon for a few minutes in silence, acutely aware of the heat radiating from Seifer's body. His arm was heavy but comforting across her shoulders and the thick fabric of his gray coat buffered some of the wind. Even as nice as the moment between them was, she was about to demand an explanation to their skywatch when she finally saw something -- a slim line of reddish shadow outlining the curve of the moon. As she watched, the line slowly marched across it, obscuring more and more of the moon's pearly white surface.
"Lunar eclipse," Seifer supplied, although Quistis recognized the phenomenon. "Cool, huh?"
"Yes," she agreed. She kept watching the shadow creep across the moon. "Wow."
Seifer inched a little closer, his arm tightening a little. "Yeah."
Instead of any of the several moves she'd used against other boys who'd gotten that close, Quistis settled against him to watch the celestial display in the cool mountain air.
Three [The Last Straw]
"Are you sure you're all right?" Xu asked in concern. "Maybe we should have a doctor check you out before we go?"
Quistis shook her head and fought her rattling teeth to choke out an answer. "I'm just wet," she said. "And cold. I'll be fine."
Xu didn't look convinced but she didn't argue. "You did good work today, Quistis," she told her. "Exactly what a SeeD should do." With a quick squeeze of her arm, Xu left her alone, headed straight for the throng of SeeD and cadet teams milling around several yards away.
Quistis was glad to see her go, and she fought off a shuddering breath as she turned away. She knew Xu was just trying to be encouraging given the dramatic events that had surrounded the SeeD field test, but Quistis wasn't sure she could stand it at the moment. All through the day, her training had held firm, and she'd been calm, collected -- completely professional. But now that it was over, she was fighting against the insane impulse to burst into tears.
Doubled over and shivering, Quistis trudged toward the transport vessel, craving solitude she couldn't find on the crowded shore. As she suspected, the boat was completely empty; she slid into a seat with a relieved sigh, still huddled over to preserve as much heat as she could, given that she was damp from head to toe. Her hair was falling out of its usually orderly confinement, streaks of sopping blond tendrils that stuck to her neck and ears. Quistis leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes.
It didn't feel like more than a moment had passed before she heard raised voices outside of the transport. The first she identified was Xu's, crackling with anger. "Get your ass in here now," she was ordering someone. "You're in for it when we get back to Garden and I don't want to see your face before then, you hear me?"
"You're loud enough, anyway," Seifer retorted, his voice suddenly booming as he yanked open the door into the vessel. Quistis flinched at the sudden change in volume. He stalked inside, but he was too busy glaring back at Xu to notice Quistis.
"I mean it," Xu said, right before she closed the door. "Stay put."
Seifer let out a frustrated growl at the door before he turned around and saw Quistis. He looked startled by her presence, pale eyebrows raised.
"What?" she asked, reminded of her own anger.
"I figured you'd be with Medical," he said.
"I'm fine," she gritted out. She was still frigid and the shaking seemed to be getting worse. "No thanks to you."
Any concern in his face evaporated at her tone and a sneer twisted his lips. "I don't want to hear it."
"Don't want to hear what? How spectacularly you failed your SeeD field exam? How you almost got two other cadets killed?" She returned the sneer. "What is it you don't want to hear?"
"That is not what happened," he argued, making a cutting motion with his hand as if to dismiss her version of events. "Yeah, things went wrong, but I knew what I was doing. I would've never let --"
"You're not the one in charge!" Seifer seemed surprised by Quistis's volume, so she pressed the advantage. "You disobeyed orders and almost got your team caught!"
"I was actually
Quistis didn't even realize she was on her feet until they were almost nose-to-nose. "Then you continued to ignore established protocol until I
to disobey direct orders to come after you!"
"Yeah, about that..."
"And now we'll both have to retake our exams because you still haven't learned to listen to anything but the voice in your head that tells you to jump into danger at every opportunity!"
"I..." Seifer broke off, scowling. "Damnit, Quistis, I can't argue with you when your lips are turning blue!"
"Then you shouldn't have gotten me trapped in a flooded underground cave!"
Seifer actually had enough decency to look chagrined. He reached out for her. "Quistis..."
"No!" She pulled away and went back to her seat, pointedly turning her back to him. "I'm the one who doesn't want to hear it anymore, Seifer. Leave me alone."
Seifer didn't answer immediately, but it was like every second he was silent just added to the fury he eventually unleashed. "So what? We have to take the test again. What the hell has really got you so pissed off?"
Something hitched in her chest, something cold and painful, but she ruthlessly suppressed the broken sound it wanted to force out of her throat. Suddenly, there wasn't enough energy left in her for anger; all she felt was an almost debilitating fatigue that she knew was more mental than physical. Her words, when they came, were quiet and resigned. "You almost got yourself killed too."
Silence followed and, with her head turned away, she wasn't even sure if he was still in the same part of the vessel. But then Quistis felt something heavy and woolen settling over her shoulders, something wonderfully warm. When she looked up, Seifer was watching her with a terrible expression that she couldn't name, now dressed only in his uniform pants and white undershirt.
She didn't express any thanks or even acknowledge the gesture, except by pulling the jacket more closely around her. Still, she didn't object when he sighed and threw himself into the seat next to hers.
The two of them waited in silence for the long journey home to begin.
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