Author's Note - (14:39 PM 8/11/2003) I haven't much luck with Final Fantasy fics, so I'm not sure what to expect of this one. This, unlike my typical writing style, will be written in a style that's more serious. Which will either make it better or worse. We'll see.
Additional - Suggested song for Prologue: Serial Experiments Lain, "Speed".
Warnings - R - Language, mature themes and situations; couples: Squall-Rinoa, Irvine-Selfie, Seifer-Quistis
Disclaimer - Final Fantasy VIII is copyright protected under penalty of law by Squaresoft. I am but nothing in the overall scheme of things.
Seraph Macabre * Seph Lorraine
She was falling.
Her panting breath had ceased. The rims of her vision were stained by a creeping blackness that seemed to be quickly clawing across her vision. Like tiny claws they shut out the light. They clamped their fists upon her throat and stopped her heavy breathing. They filled her nose with the scent of blood and something stronger.
She could hear nothing but her heartbeat, furiously pumping crimson blood through her veins. It was slowing. Slower... Slower... Slower still...
She wanted to cry out for help. But there was no one to cry for. Nothing to cry for. What did it matter anymore? Death is just like sleeping.
She liked to sleep.
Suddenly, there was a scream. She couldn't hear it, but she could feel it. The sound that vibrated against her scarred skin and sent her tumbling to the cold damp ground.
It scratched at her like the claws that now consumed her vision. The sound had been sudden and uninvited. Who was screaming?
She was screaming.
Finally there came mercy-- sweet unconsciousness.
"Dammit! How did they breach the damn wall!?" The man scrambled to lift himself from where he'd slipped along the large looming structure that now stood before him.
"I told them we didn't have enough guards on watch." A taller man, pulling himself up from a large chunk of the broken wall. "They never listen to us! All because we're -just SeeD-." He spit the last two words, "This is fucking ridiculous."
The shorter man, already standing, nodded and walked forward to offer a hand up to his still fallen comrade.
"Forget it, chicken-wuss. I can get myself out of these situations." He again began to struggle with the boulder of rock wall that was trying to completely crush him.
The other snapped up his visor and rolled his eyes, "Obviously."
There was silence from the other man, and one could only assume he was glaring, given the silence. Though, it was impossible to see through the helmet.
There was a small chirp from the comm-link of the standing man.
=Team 03 state your status.=
He sighed, moving the small link that attached behind his ear down to his mouth, "Team 03 positioned at Deling Wall, point..." he drifted off and glanced at his comrade, who was still having little success with the rock that was trying to crush him, "Hey, what point are we at?"
His teammate paused and glanced down at his small tracking computer, resting in crushed piece beneath part of the rock.
=Shit, Zell, just give me a description.= The voice on the comm-link cut in.
"Hey, calm down, Xu. We're at the place where the wall was breached. Ya know... by the wall, on that road, with the traffic sign..."
The voice sounded tired, =There are several wall-breaks. Which one ar you at?=
Zell frowned, "There are more than one? Damn. How did they manage that... We're at--" He peered at a street sign not far from their present position, "--South 3rd Avenue. Intersection 13 or 14, I believe."
=Stay at your position, we're sending back up.=
"...Back up?" The man's frown deepened. He didn't like the sound of that, "...Back up?! Xu? Why do we need back up?!"
=There are several of -them- heading your way.= There was a pause from the voice, =Surely you don't want to handle this battle alone, do you?=
"Aw, man..." Whining.
=Stay at your position, team 03.= The link snapped off.
"This day just keeps getting worse." He snapped his visor back down over his eyes and sighed, shoving the link back into place behind his ear.
There was a loud 'thud' and the ground seemed to vibrate momentarily. Zell jumped and looked around, tightening his fists for the fight that was about to come. He paused when he realised there was nothing there and turned to look at his comrade.
The man had pushed the rock over and simply stood, dusting off his shiney black suit.
Zell swore at the momentary scare, "This job sucks."
"I thought that's why you're doing it." His comrade snorted disdainfully.
"Shut up, Seifer. You're lame remarks are wasting my air."
"Would you rather cease breathing entirely?" The taller of the two, Seifer, narrowed his grey eyes and stood motionless, "Who was that?"
Zell blinked and glanced around, "...Where?"
"On your comm-link, idiot."
"Oh, Xu. They're sending back up." He began tightening the studs on his gloves, "I guess you can tell what that means."
"There's gonna' be a fight, huh?" The taller man sighed, kicking lightly at a pebble.
"You've got it."
"When will they be here?"
"--Says the man who's nearly been sacked four times in the past month."
The shorter man suddenly found himself hanging by the collar of his black suit, his comrade speaking angrily, "Don't fuck around with me, chicken-wuss. I've got low tolerance for shit like you."
Zell sighed sarcastically, "Oh, if only you could feel the fear I know right now."
As quick as it was said he felt a heavily blow to his stomach and went tumbling to the ground, "Aargh! Dammit!" He coughed, feeling bile and blood rising up the back of his throat.
"I told you not to fuck with me."
"Ugh... bugger off..." Zell clutched at his damaged stomach.
The shorter man sat on the ground, massaging his stomach and coughing, and his comrade stood boredly with his arms crossed. This was the worst part of the job. Waiting. Waiting for what could be death, kill points , or means to a new promotion. Waiting for the fight to show up.
As he stood their looking about aimlessly, something drifted to his ears. It pierced the night air around him and soared through his mind and registered. A scream.
Someone was screaming.
He stood at loss and looked down one end of the long dark street that ran along side the breach in the wall. It was dark, save for a few lanterns which hung from the great wall of Deling, itself. They seemed to cast a ghostly glow upon the narrow road.
He glanced down at Zell, still rolling in pain, and back to the sudden silence of South 3rd Avenue. Something was pulling at him. Invisible fingers tugging at him. Pulling him forward, towards that street.
Someone was screaming.
"I'll be right back..." He mumbled, and set off at a run.
The street was silent again, save for his pounding footsteps. Why was he running this way? Who was screaming? Why was he pulled to follow this fading cry for help? Or was it calling for help at all?
His footsteps came to an abrupt stop as she came into his line of vision.
She lay seemingly lifeless upon the wet road. Her skin as pale as the mist that dreams are made of. Her eyes rested closed in unconsciousness; soft black eyelashes brushing lightly against a face of perfectly sculpted ivory. Two blood-red lips rested statically in a faint frown. Raven black hair fell over her face and shoulders doing little to obscure the blood that ran from her ears.
Her arms were covered with tiny cuts, like small paper-thin claws had lay scratches across the entire length of her body, sparing only her face. The small cuts beaded with droplets of blood, which ran down her arms to the already water-soaked pavement. Her clothes were in near shreds and stained beyond recovery. Around her wrist there was a handprint, once pale white, now covered in the blood that ran from the many cuts across the girl's skin.
Her figure was an image of agony to be etched into his mind forever.
He crept silently closer and knelt down beside her. She had the features of some divine being, traced from a cloud and placed upon the earth with nothing. Some unfortunate angel fallen from the stars.
Breathing was difficult, the earth seemed to jerk and sway about him, but she still lay unmoving upon the pavement. He gently wrapped her in his arms and lifted her from the ground.
To Be Continued...
 The men and womem of SeeD have turned their job into a sort of game. Kill points/KP act as part of a game that they play. For every creature they kill off they get a point. They tally up the numbers to see who's the "best". For instance, Everyone has 300 KP except for Seifer, who has 500 KP; Seifer's "rank" moves up a notch. After 5 times that this happens, he becomes top of the line to be promoted.
Chapter One: A Dying Force. The people of SeeD are introduced as the Seifer's mysterious charge (it's rather obvious who she is) awakens to an unfamiliar new reality. And Seifer is nearly sacked again, "That's the 5th time in the past month!"
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