Disclaimer: Dont own em...
Rating: PG-13 for violence, profanity, and some sexuality.
Summary: [Seifer/Quistis] A horror broken free. A Garden treading the thin line of its own downfall. A man with nothing left but his pride. An instructor with nothing left to lose. This is their story.
AN: My first fic sprung out of my first obsession, Seifer Almasy. I think Ive gotten better at writing, if I do say so myself. Enjoy, and dont forget to tell me what you think! ^^
Even monsters dreamt.
His eyes were open in a sudden sharp breath, and the remnants of his dreams burned into his vision; crimson nightmares that spilled like thick syrup across his mind. An agony rose up, rearing its ugly head, jaws snapping, teeth slicked with blood. It was bitter irony. He would hurt, and hurt, and hurt, and never give a second thought to the people; real people, who had dreams, and could feel pain, just like he could. Never a care to who they were, sisters, sons, fathers, husbands, lovers, children.
And now the tables were turned. Now he truly regretted.
His throat worked as he swallowed the cry that tried to force its way out of him. This was what he had become. Lowly and worthless. Him! Reduced to such a state, when once he had been the very epitome of graceful death, languorous power, feared, and at the same time revered. He scrabbled at the floor, at fractured cement and cold marble tiles and metal warped by the passing of time and power. It was hopeless, he couldnt get out, he was trapped.
Seemingly a lifetime of servitude...and he wished this was how it ended.
Hell looked so much more appealing now, with the view he had from rock bottom.
It seemed like an eternity in chains, and at first it didnt seem so bad, to serve, when he always deluded himself into believing that he was his own master. But he couldnt remember when he started to wish for freedom, when what had once been love festered, rotted, into an emotion far worse than hate: boredom, monotony, a dull I dont care...
Hate was fire. Hate was passion. Hate was feeling.
And tedium was not.
Freedom. Something he once had, but it had been so long, he couldnt remember how it felt like to go about, knowing there was no one watching him, no one who could tear into his mind at a whim. But he knew even if he had, it would not last. He was too valuable, too goddamn powerful, to be let loose upon an unsuspecting world.
His limbs protested, creaked with strain, and his lips peeled back in a growl as he felt his trembling muscles threatening to collapse, as he pushed at the ground, trying to heave himself off, because it was so cold, and the tiles nearly froze his skin. Muscles that had been neglected for so long now were withered and thin and dying.
But he got back onto his feet; if slowly, and painfully. Eyes still bleary, from a prolonged sleep, he waited patiently as everything refocused. The gunmetal blurs shrank, sharpened. Once his home, now his prison, and so familiar, he knew which piece of broken concrete, twisted metal belonged where, all the way down to the shattered glass that spilled like a jagged stream of water across one corner of the room.
No, it was no longer a room. It was a twisted hulk of what it used to be, deformed by unnatural magic, the whims of a Sorceress. Just a shelter, where he came for peace. Peace from the invisible demons that plagued the place, silent clamoring in his mind that alternately whispered, screamed, assaulted like an off-key opera singer would pierce and tear at sensitive eardrums. Something about it, perhaps the white marble floors, cold to the touch, or the rows of cracked pillars that held up a collapsing roof, soothed him. Or maybe it was the dazzling display of crystal, shattered and broken, but still shining with a harsh brilliance that brought him momentary quiet.
The blinding, multi-hued light left afterimages of shadows and fear. Yet it was so much more pleasing to the eye now, after what it had gone through. It had been a solid wall of crystal, before, smooth and cold to the touch, with a core of glowing, electric blue. Blue was her favorite color. Maybe Time Compression had changed it, purified it. Maybe it was once against inert beauty, unliving stone.
Maybe it was just rock. Beautiful, but no longer a storehouse for corrupted power.
So much more dazzling in this innocent display that seared colors into his eyelids, ultraviolet with a tinge of silver, aureolin yellow, edged with fiery red, painful scarlets and velvet blacks.
He turned away from it, turned his back on it. Didnt want to see, didnt want to feel the march of weakened power that crawled along his skin like a swarm of fire ants.
Reaching out to it, he tried to sense it, but there was nothing there. And he thanked Hyne.
He hurt. But it was the beginning of another day, precious time that he couldnt sleep away. Had to go, prowl along this place, tense at shadows. Trying to escape.
A heat flickered behind his back, flaring in brilliance, and the air was thick with it. His eyes stung with dread.
Whipping around, he had a split second before his eyes were blinded, and he gave a roar that echoed around the Lunatic Pandora, covered his aching head. A spread of warmth engulfed him, before it whiplashed into ice. Still he kept his head covered, not wanting to look up, not wanting to see. Coward. The colors licked at his tightly closed eyelids, and he wanted to scream, but old pride didnt let him.
So he held it, tightly bottled in, while breath wheezed in and out painfully of his constricted chest. He felt the ice encrust on his body, freezing rivulets crystallizing into long icicles. He was shutting down, perhaps returning, once again, to hibernation, and there was some part of him that welcomed it, wanted to feel the numbness of sleep. Wanted to sleep, and forget.
He knew he wouldnt die. She wouldnt let him.
Abruptly, he was released from its grasp, and he fell, gasping, onto the floor. Lying there facedown, eyes closed. The weakness enveloped his mind, and the whisperings came again, softly at first, but growing more and more persistent.
And they were different.
He struggled back onto his feet for the second time in as many hours, and his limbs trembled. His mind trembled along with them, balanced on the fine edge of a sheer drop, down into nothingness and insanity.
The hope was too real. But so was fear.
I know how to get out.
He was running. Streaming down shattered halls of crystal and glass before he knew what he was doing, breath coming out in ragged gasps, blood flowing through deadened limbs. He leapt over a pile of the twisted, burnt metal that had once been the iron skeleton of Lunatic Pandora, came down on the wrong foot, slipped as ice melted and ran down into puddles on the floor. He stopped, could almost taste it, the sense of freedom, just beyond his grasp.
Pain caught in the back of his throat, and his breath hitched out, shuddering. Warmth pooled in his eyes, wet and stinging. It had been too long, and he thought he had lost his capacity for human emotion. But they gathered, until his vision was a swimming mess, and he couldnt see past the dim blurs of hope.
It doesnt matter. His mind sharpened to a rusty knifes edge, honing in on that one weakness. He directed it forcefully, driving it through layers of wards and defensive magic. They gave a moments resistance, of a cool fire that played across in flickers and glimmers, but he gritted his teeth, forced it over, felt the moment it gave way, a release of a barely contained heat and ice
It broke open, the magic barrier that was slicked on over the gigantic ship. He felt the tear in the smooth, metaphorical walls, walls he had pored over endlessly, and a rush of triumph burned in his veins, left a giddy, sweet aftertaste in his mouth.
The world spread out around him, and he roared. His mind ripped, shredding with claws of magic until the tear ripped further open into a wide, gaping hole. There was a fine trembling to his frame, uncontrollable shudders that weakened his knees. The immediacy of his torn prison burned into his eyes, and concrete and blasted steel splayed out into the dark, velvety night.
He recognized this place.
It all started here. Or maybe that was wrong. No. His distant past, their distant future. They were crumbling, the barriers of time and magic and space wasting away. But maybe it was only his mind that was splitting, splintering with hairline fractures. Wrenched apart by inner rot, unholy pressure.
Why am I here?
The vast, Estharian desert was silent. Tell me. There was only the chirping of crickets.
If he noticed the small flickering of regret in the back of his mind, he only ignored it, let guilt and its burden be carried away with the wind.
The taste of freedom was strangely bitter.
The clear brilliance of stars spilled across the desert, and off in the distance, there came the answering roar of a Behemoth.
The whispers mocked him inside his head.
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