Pins & Needles Chapter 7
Zell and Quistis had successfully made their way down to the infirmary hall unnoticed. There, they met Irvine, who was standing partially in the shadows. He was trying to be still, his hands shoved in the pockets of his duster.
"They're not back yet?" Quistis asked him, as they huddled together in a corner.
"No." He replied, looking over at Zell who was avoiding his eyes.
Quistis brushed a strand of her hair back. "I'm gonna go peek down the hall." She told them, proceeding back towards the archway.
Irvine took this opportunity to speak with his friend. "Zell?" Zell still did not meet his eyes. "If it's worth anything, I'm sorry."
He seemed to be fighting his anger. "It's alright." Zell responded quietly. "I just wish you'd picked a better time."
"I know. But I really didn't have a choice," Irvine admitted, "I knew you would help, for her. But she didn't know that."
"Yeah, I understand. I just hope this doesn't screw up my chances. They weren't great to begin with!"
"Don't worry, man!" He assured him. "You just gotta keep your cool."
Zell turned his gaze back to Quistis. She was coming back towards them. "They're coming."
"Good." Irvine noted. "I feel like a sitting duck out in this hall!"
Dr. Kadowaki, Cid, and Edea strode quietly down the hall towards the three SeeDs. Cid and Edea Kramer both wore an expression of paternal worry. Tayle acknowledged Irvine and Zell. "Thank you both for helping."
They nodded, following the others inside the infirmary after she'd unlocked it. Dr. Kadowaki turned on the lights and the group formed a circle in her office.
"Alright," Tayle began, "I trust Quistis has explained the secrecy issue to you both?" Both boys regarded her with a nod. "Good. Now, this is the situation. We have two drug addicts on our hands. Seifer's vitals are good and aside from malnutrition, he'll be fine. Fujin, however, is in critical condition. I didn't want to say this in front of Raijin, but I'm not sure if she'll survive." This statement produced surprise from everyone except Quistis. "If she does survive, her withdrawal will be extremely hard and painful. The withdrawal alone might kill her. Quistis, Irvine," Tayle said, looking at them, "you will be the ones looking after her. You must do everything, short of giving her more heroin, to make her comfortable. Keep an eye on her vitals, which I'll show you how to do. You'll need to be kind, calm, and gentle with her. No excitement or panic!"
"Why?" Zell asked curiously.
"Heroin effects the heart's function. Even the slightest excitement could cause heart failure. That's why you must keep her calm. It won't be easy, especially when she finds out where she is." She told them. "Now, I'm going to get Raijin. He needs to hear this part. I'm also going to check on Seifer. Quistis, take everyone in to see Fujin and have Edea check up on her."
Tayle went to the room Raijin and Seifer were in. Quistis lead the others to the room next door. She opened it and everyone filed in, one at a time.
"Fujin?" Zell exclaimed quietly, as if his voice alone would shatter the figure of the woman lying on the infirmary bed.
Edea moved to the bedside, glancing over at the monitors. "Poor girl." Her voice said softly.
"I don't remember her being that skinny!" Irvine said more to himself.
Quistis nodded. "She doesn't even weight more than ninety pounds."
Matron turned to Quistis. "I want to see him."
She led them out the door and into the office. Dr. Kadowaki was already there with Raijin. Cid and Edea went into Seifer's room while Raijin looked nervously at Zell and Irvine.
Zell noticed this and held out his hand. "It's cool with us, Raijin. You don't have to worry."
The relief washed over his face. He took Zell's hand and shook it. "I'm sorry, ya know, for draggin' you all into this. I just couldn't let this go on!"
"Hey, it's okay " Irvine stopped, hearing a soft cry coming from Seifer's room. He, Zell, and Quistis entered, seeing Edea kneeling by Seifer's side. Irvine was taken back as well by Seifer's appearance. "You can hardly recognize him."
"My boy " Matron wept by Seifer's side, "Oh my poor Seifer " She touched his face lightly. Matron's eyes shone with a maternal anguish and worry.
Dr. Kadowaki came in the room, sighing as she saw Matron. "Come back into the office please. I don't want him waking yet." Matron nodded and followed the others back. "Okay. Raijin, Zell," Tayle said, gazing at them, "you'll be watching Seifer. This will not be easy either. In fact, this will probably be harder. I say this because Fujin will have a harder withdrawal, but she won't be able to move around for most of it. She'll probably need to be bedridden for a while even after it's over. Seifer " She paused. "Okay, I'm going to be honest with you. This next week for you two is going to be hell." Zell rolled his eyes, Raijin's face fell even more.
"Why do you say that?" Cid asked, speaking for the first time since arriving.
"Well, let me tell you some of the withdrawal symptoms of heroin. There's loss of appetite, muscle cramps, nausea, insomnia, chills, tremors, and panic." She stated, getting gasps from everyone. "Those are just the usual ones. Some people have experienced much more severe symptoms, like hallucinations."
"Are you saying that Seifer is going to be going through all that?" Irvine exclaimed harshly.
"Most of it, yes." The doctor answered. "I'll be honest with you, he's going to be a handful! The main thing you'll need to do is try to keep him calm and quiet, especially during the day. If worse comes to worse, we can restrain and sedate him." Dr. Kadowaki told them.
Matron shifted herself slightly, showing that she wished to speak. "Raijin?"
Raijin popped his head up in attention. "Yes, Mrs. Kramer?"
Edea folded her arms across her chest. "Why? Why are they like this?"
Raijin sighed heavily, then took a deep breath. "It started about six months ago. Seifer was going nuts havin' to sit at home alone all day, with me and Fujin workin'. He never told us, but Fujin heard him talkin' to himself. She said that he was hearing voices in his head."
"Voices?" Zell asked in disbelief.
Raijin didn't pick up on the skepticism and nodded. "She said it sounded like they were callin' him names. Cause he was sayin' stuff like 'No I'm not' and 'Shut up'. But that was just during the day. At night, he couldn't sleep good cause of the nightmares, ya know. He'd be tossin' and turnin', then he'd wake up screamin'." Raijin told them, visibly disturbed by his own words. Recalling the many times before when the night was filled with Seifer's screams.
"Do you know what the nightmares were about?" Matron asked.
"No, he wouldn't tell us, ya know. I think he was embarrassed. But Fujin said that it might be because of what other people say."
"What do you mean?" Tayle inquired.
Raijin looked down at his feet. "Well, before Seifer stopped leavin' the house, people would be mean to him, ya know. Callin' him names and stuff." He replied, shame and anguish reaping his face. "I don't wanna tell you guys what they were sayin'. It's bad."
"It's okay," Quistis assured him, "we've got a pretty good idea."
"How did Seifer react to these people?" Dr. Kadowaki asked.
"He ignored 'em most of the time. Sometimes he'd tell 'em to fuck off." He said, then his eyes widened. "Oh! Sorry Mrs. Kramer!"
Edea waved her hand. "It's alright."
"Nightmares, voices, and the whole world hating you? That's a lot to handle, even for Seifer." Zell spoke gravely.
"I'd probably want to kill myself too." Irvine added.
"Raijin, was there something in particular that drove him to heroin? Something specific that happened?"
Raijin bit his lip nervously. "But I can't tell, they'd be mad at me."
The doctor put her hand on his arm. "You must tell me. It's part of the recovery process. If there's something that happened that drove him to his breaking point, we can focus on that to help him recover."
"It didn't really happen to him, but it was because of him, ya know."
"Please explain, Raijin. We're not here to judge."
"Everybody hates Seifer, and because we're his posse, most of 'em don't like us either. It happened one night when me and Seifer were waiting for Fujin to come home from work, ya know. We waited for two hours. When she didn't come back, we got worried, ya know. So, we went out lookin' for her. It was late, so it was kinda quiet. We were on our way down to the piers when " He stopped. His forehead was creasing and tears were starting to fall from his eyes. "We found her crying behind the hotel. She was bleedin', she got beat up pretty bad. And and her her pants were torn off " His voice would no longer let him continue with the details.
The group stood there staring at him, horrified. Dr. Kadowaki was the first to ask the impending question in everyone's mind. "Was she raped, Raijin?" She asked softly.
Raijin nodded, wiping the tears from his face. "I tried to tell Seifer it wasn't his fault, but he didn't listen!"
Matron buried her face in her hands. "Dear Hyne!"
Irvine shook his head, trying to shake off his anger. "That's wrong! To hurt her like that because of what he did!"
Quistis was not clearing her own tears, she freely let them pour. "I don't care what Seifer did! She didn't deserve that!"
"Nobody does." Zell agreed.
Raijin nodded, calming himself somewhat. "Fujin stayed home with Seifer after that. We didn't want her goin' out no more, ya know. Fujin wouldn't eat or let either of us touch her. Then she started havin' nightmares too. I wanted to stay home with her, so I could try and make her better. But Seifer said that one of us had to work if we wanted a place to live, ya know. So, one day I came home from work like always, and there's this guy in our house. He was the guy who gave Seifer the drugs, ya know. Seifer said it was just stuff to help him sleep. To stop the nightmares, ya know." Raijin told them. "And it worked! No more wakin' up in the middle of the night hearing him screaming. The first week, he just did it once, cause the guy told him to try it out first. The next three weeks, it was three or four times. One night, Fujin had woke up from a nightmare again. Seifer was sitting there with that stuff getting ready to take some and sleep, ya know. He offered her some, and she said yes." He shook his head. "I was happy for them at first. They were both sleepin' good, ya know. No more nightmares. But then they started doing that stuff every day. They didn't eat much, so they got all skinny. About two months ago, they started doing it three and four times a day. When they ran out of the stuff, they'd wait till I got home and ask for money. Of course, I gave it to them, ya know. Seifer would go find that guy, and Fujin would wait at the house." He paused, another regretful memory invading his mind. "She'd sit in the corner, rockin' back and forth, waitin' for Seifer to come back."
"Four times a day? For the last two months?" Dr. Kadowaki asked.
"Is that bad?" Raijin asked.
"It's amazing either of them are alive!"
Raijin stomped his foot on the ground in frustration. "Why do I gotta be so dumb!? Why "
"Don't go blaming yourself now!" Dr. Kadowaki interrupted. "They brought this upon themselves. They chose this! Don't ever forget that!"
"I've just got one question." Zell spoke up. "What about everybody else? What is everybody gonna think with all of us in here for a week?"
The doctor acknowledged him with a nod. "That's where the Headmaster comes in."
Cid cleared his throat. "I'm going to pretend to send you all on a mission together. We're going to say that the mission is in Deling City, just a routine diplomatic situation with the Galbadian government. I'm going to send Selphie to Trabia with the Ragnarok, to estimate the supplies needed to rebuild their Garden. Squall " Cid paused, sighing. "I'll give him a weeks vacation, maybe have him go to Esthar. I'll urge him to take Rinoa with him."
Tayle agreed. "I'll give my nurses the week off as well. We can order out for food and " She stopped suddenly and turned to the direction of Seifer's room. "I think I hear something."
Silence filled the room quickly as the group listened for sounds emanating from that room. Sure enough, there was a low groan heard.
Raijin's eyes filled with honest dread. "Uh oh "
Notes: I hate to say this but the next chapter will take a while to put up. I'm moving to my own house and this here computer isn't mine. It might be a while. In the meantime, please feel free to review. I still haven't decided exactly how this is going to go, just a rough draft in my head. Please be kind, review! Until next time, mahallow!
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