Pins & Needles Chapter 14


By Asyria

Quistis finally sat up in her cot. Stretching as she stood, she gazed down at Zell, who was still snoring lightly. He looks so adorable when he's sleeping, she thought to herself. Gently patting his shoulder, she tried to wake him. "Zell. It's time to get up."

Zell stirred and slowly opened his eyes. "Evening Quisty."

"You want the shower first tonight?" she asked.

"Nah, go ahead." He said, yawing. "I'll make some coffee."

"Alright." She replied and began gathering her shower essentials.

Zell stood, rubbing his back. "Man, I can't wait till I can sleep in my own bed again!"

"Me too!" Quistis agreed wholeheartedly.

Just as Zell was about to open the door for her, Irvine came crashing though it.

"Whoa!" Zell exclaimed, backing away.

"Sorry guys," Irvine uttered quickly, "but we've got a problem!"

"What's up?"

"It's Fujin. She's not doing too good." He answered.

Quistis hurriedly put her things down and rushed to the room. Edea and Dr. Kadowaki were talking to each other in hushed voices. Both women turned to Quistis with worried eyes. Fujin lay on her bed barely conscious, drenched in sweat and shaking.

"What's wrong with her?" Quistis voiced with concern for her new friend.

"Alot," the doctor spoke frankly, "For one, she has pneumonia."

"Well…pneumonia isn't deadly, is it?" She asked.

"Not usually. But she also has AIDS."

"What!?" Quistis cried, eyes darting from the doctor to Fujin. "How?"

Edea went to her. "She was raped, remember?" Quistis buried her face in her hands and wept.

"Even though it's only been a few months," Tayle said, "The virus, the heroin, and the lack of nutrition has weakened her immune system."

Quistis' head shot up from her hands, her mouth agape. "Seifer…they shared the needle!"

Dr. Kadowaki bowed her head. "Yes, I know. He…he more than likely has AIDS as well."

Quistis shook her head. "They'll both…? No! That's not fair!"

The doctor agreed. "Fujin has, at the most, a week to live. Probably less. Seifer…who knows. It could be a couple months to a couple years."

Edea wiped her own tears from her eyes. "Is there any chance that he wasn't infected?"

"There is always that chance, but six months of sharing the same needle…" She told them doubtfully. "I also want to test Raijin, and the four of you."

"Why?" Quistis asked uncertainly.

"I'm pretty sure that I was the only one to handle any open sores on them, but I would like to be sure." Quistis could only nod. Tayle looked sadly down at Fujin. "Now, who's going to tell Seifer and Raijin?"

Quistis sighed heavily. "I will."

"And I shall come with you." Edea said.

Outside of Fujin's room, Quistis told Zell and Irvine the news. Both were in shock along with her. Dr. Kadowaki began testing Zell and Irvine as Quistis and Edea went to Seifer's room. Raijin had been telling Seifer a dirty joke he heard from Irvine when they entered.

Raijin looked up at her cheerfully. "Hey instructor! What's…" He stopped, noticing her red puffy eyes. "What's wrong?" He asked, drawing Seifer's attention to her.

"It's Fujin…" she started to say.

"What about her?" Seifer asked defensively.

Quistis bit her lip. "She's sick."

"Sick?" Both men asked in unison.

"She has pneumonia."

Raijin looked at his leader. "Didn't you have that once?"

Seifer nodded but didn't take his eyes off Quistis. "Yeah, but not when I was already sick from drugs."

"Well, there's a little more to it now." Quistis responded. Seifer and Raijin said nothing, just waited. She cleared her throat. "She's also got…AIDS."

While Raijin continued to stare in simple confusion, Seifer became horrified. His normal façade of emotionlessness could not be conjured to hide his shock, fear, and grief.

"What's that?" Raijin asked her after a long silence.

"It's a disease."

"How'd she get it?"

Quistis bit her lip again. Oh Hyne, this is so hard! He'll be heartbroken! Be strong, Quistis, be strong for them. "More than likely from whoever raped her."

Seifer looked at Raijin with extreme anger. "You told them about that!?"

"No." Quistis responded instantly. "She told me. That's why the doctor gave her a blood test." She lied. She hated lying, but she couldn't have Seifer pissed at Raijin. Not when Raijin would need him the most.

"So…what's gonna happen?" Raijin asked nervously. "How bad is it?"

"AIDS is a disease transmitted through the blood." Edea spoke, sensing that Quistis was having a hard time. "It weakens the immune system."

"Isn't that what fights off bein' sick?" he asked them.

"Yes, AIDS leaves you weak for other diseases to infect you."

Raijin absorbed this information slowly. "Is she gonna be okay?"

Quistis opened her mouth to speak, but Seifer beat her to it. "No," he spoke gravely, "she won't. She's gonna die." He turned to Quistis. "Right?"

Quistis could understand why Seifer had become so hostile, but it still made her angry. "She's got a week, at the most." She answered him.

Raijin just couldn't believe it. "But…but…she can't die! No!" He cried loudly.

Edea put her arms on the weeping Raijin. "Come with me, Raijin."

"Why?" He asked through choked sobs.

"We all have to get tested and make sure no one else has it."

"I might have it!?" Raijin cried in horror.

"Probably not, but we must be sure." Edea told him, using her most reassuring voice.

They left, leaving Seifer and Quistis alone. Quistis watched Seifer for a while before saying anything. He seemed to have aged years in a matter of seconds. His eyes brimming with the raw anger he was famous for, but also with the engulfing sadness he tried so hard to hide.

"We have to…test you as well." She said to him.

Seifer looked at her, smirking. "But there's no maybe with me, is there?"

"You both shared a needle." She said, trying her best not to breakdown. "But there is still a chance you don't have it."

Seifer snorted at her. He turned away from her, staring at the floor. "I hope not. I hope I do have it."

"Pardon?" Quistis questioned, not trusting her hearing.

Seifer seemed to ignore her. "But that would be my luck. For her to get sick and die and not me. My luck would be to live with the guilt of killing her."

Quistis shook her head. "You didn't give it to her!"

Seifer stood, getting right in her face. "She was raped because of ME! It's my fucking fault, Trepe!" He yelled at her. "Dammit! Not only that, I also gave her the heroin to fuck her up some more!"

Quistis was shaking from the anger Seifer was unleashing on her. "She choose. You didn't force her."

Seifer seemed disgusted with her answer. "But I know she'd follow me! She'd follow me to death! I should have been more responsible! You don't understand…" He spoke more softly. Sadly he turned away from her. "I don't care if I die. I fucking deserve to die! But she doesn't. She deserves better! Someone who won't hurt her and fuck up constantly!"

Quistis approached him slowly. "None of that matters now." She said, speaking softly. "She loves you. And she needs you now." Seifer seemed to loosen a little. "Don't let the last thing she sees is you blaming yourself."

Behind them, the door opened slowly and Zell stuck his head in. "It's your turn, you two."

Dr. Kadowaki awaited them, with her latex gloves and syringe. Irvine stood against the wall along with Raijin, who was still crying. Edea sat patiently at the table. Quistis turned to Seifer. "You want me to go first?" she asked him. Seifer nodded to her.

Quistis sat down in the chair the doctor had pulled out, lifting the sleeves of her shirt. Tayle carefully plucked the needle into her arm and began drawing blood.

After Quistis was finished, Seifer took off his trenchcoat and sat down. "You wanna know what's really funny," he asked, not smiling in the slightest, "I fucking hate needles."

The doctor smiled. "I remember it being quiet a chore getting blood from you when you were younger, Mr. Almasy." Seifer looked up at the doctor, and smirked.

Edea smiled despondently. "You should have seen him when he was a baby, taking him to get his shots. I took you and Squall on the same day and both of you wailed all the way back to the orphanage." She said, leaving the others trying to picture it in their minds.

Tayle withdrew the needle with Seifer's blood. "The dear commander still gives me trouble during his physicals."

Zell put his hands on his hips, doing his impression of Squall. "'I don't see why we have to do these all the time.'"

Irvine followed along, being the doctor. "'It's mandatory for everyone, Squall.'"

All three SeeDs joined in for the last comment. "'Whatever.'"

Seifer actually started laughing.



Notes: Here's the latest chapter. Does Seifer have AIDS too? Does anyone else? Find out! And yes, I have the ending to this story. So there should be no more foul-ups! (hopefully)


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