Hello everyone! The final chapter has arrived, and I must say: "OODALOLLY I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!" For the final chapter, I wanted to end things on a lighter note, but still within the same tone of the rest of my...creation. Thank you all for reading thus far, and I do hope the eighth and final chapter of "Of Paths to Repentance" holds up to your expectations!
AquilaStrife-Thank you so much for your review. I'm so sorry you don't have it yet. Patience is a virtue? Yeah. I really do believe that 'I Love You' stuff. I mean, unless you're like...married, or are going to be, or are dating for like three years (in which case you should be married) then...just leave it alone. I'm really glad you like it!
animegirl999-Thank you for the compliment! I'm glad you like my writing style. It makes me smile!
Shadow Cat 17-I appreciate your review, and thank you so much for the compliment! As this is the final chapter, I hope the ending is satisfactory. It feels good to be finished...for now.
Angstluver- You're very welcome. I think it's important to respond to reviews. Please enjoy the final chapter!
Losthimagain-Thanks for the review! Sorry, no Riku or Sora, but I'll read your story when it's posted, alright? You've sparked my interest! Hm...do you really think Leon's the Uke? Maybe he's a closet Seme! Nah...
Okay, now I'm that I'm finished with that, on with the final Chapter! punches fist in air
Disclaimer: I don't own KH.
Seifer's nose was most definitely broken. Though—through a colossal effort on his part—the swelling had decreased, the distinct empurpled extremity was still a complete embarrassment for the rest of his face.
Many students had seen him vainly poking at it in the mirror in the restroom before classes until he was somewhat satisfied with it's shape and obliviousness...or lack there of.
But the fact remained.
Seifer's nose was most definitely broken.
He exited the bathroom. His demeanor had changed as well. He had always been one to walk down the halls with an air of coolness and prowess. His shoulders were straight and his posture was that of a lion, mentally noting the status of his pride. However...
With his new nasal imperfection, he more or less hunkered down the hall with the virulent temper of said lion, ready to bite the head off anyone who had an airy word or comment. In fact, his jaw was clenched in a standard scowl every time he went anywhere as a sort of warning signal.
The scowl intensified to anyone who dared to cross him.
But the scowl became almost deadly whenever he happened by Cloud or Leon.
Such a reaction was to be expected, as Cloud was the direct cause of his damaged face, but Seifer didn't like the way Cloud responded when the death stare was flashed in his direction.
Cloud—as he noticed—was most often near Leon. Be it class, lunch, or even the evening return to the dorms, they were together.
Seifer had done his best for the first few days to stay away from the two, because as proud and chesty as he was, he was still the victim of Cloud's pestilent wrath and didn't necessarily want to have his nose broken again.
However, after those first few days, Seifer's superbia had returned—though as bruised as his nose—and he was bold enough to at least enter the vicinity of the pair as they walked down the school hallways. At the sight, his temper was raging.
Normally he would have gone right over to start trouble, but then the dull pain in his nose would flare up and he'd stop himself from committing the almost self-inflicted injury of getting on Cloud's bad side.
But then Cloud would just happen to look over his shoulder and acknowledge him with nothing more than a passing glance, as if he was just some random student on his way to class. He didn't smirk, frown, or...run (the reaction Seifer was hoping for) but moseyed on down the hall continuing his conversation with Leon.
That was what infuriated Seifer the most: Cloud's lack of reaction. At the very least, he would have expected Cloud to boast a little, maybe even start a few wild stories around the campus as to how he had all but shattered the nasal bone of the school's most prideful and narcissistic member of the student body.
But no. Only Cloud and he—and possibly Leon—actually knew about how he obtained the broken nose. To others, he could smooth it over with a: "Hey, you should have seen the other guy," or if Cloud happened to be walking by or on the rare occasion when he was feeling modest: "I...didn't see the door."
Cloud always had the opportunity to release the truth. If he was feeling mischievous or particularly resentful that day he could easily destroy Seifer's reputation with three simple words: "I punched him," and that would be it.
Sometimes Seifer just wanted him to spill the beans, after all, Cloud would lose all power over him, and Seifer would be free to discreetly carry out his vengeance...but no.
Cloud was too good for that. He was too good for him. There would be no such aphorisms or wry comments on Seifer's defeat because Cloud simply did not care. Quite clearly, Cloud didn't need him anymore. With his silence, he was the master, all while Seifer was forced to scuttle around with the grandeur of an aphid.
The two had finally split into their separate paths in life, but Seifer was having a bit of trouble coping.
It had taken a while, but he was finally able to admit—at least a little—that he missed his childhood friend. He missed the days when Cloud had done anything that Seifer suggested with little to no hesitance. He missed easily batting away Cloud's protests of a small infraction in moral code.
Now he was changing. Cloud had grown a stronger will. Unfortunately, that will included not being bossed around by Seifer.
Seifer clenched his fists in anger.
He really wanted to get back at Cloud.
He wanted to get him for those infuriating side glances, the humiliation he had to suffer in the eyes of his peers, for holding Seifer prisoner like a rabbit in a snare and—quite recently thought up—for the time wasted to the attention to his own nose-related vanity.
But then the constant throbbing of his damaged facial appendage would remind him to ignore all possible thoughts for revenge. Though he still wasn't entirely convinced that Cloud was physically stronger than he—after all, he was probably just caught up in the heat of the moment...probably...—he was still a bit reluctant to tackle him head on.
The alternate route was to go after Leon...
He had quickly erased that thought from his mind.
He would never go after Leon.
Because though he despised Leon indefinitely, he was not the main cause to all of his internal misery.
Because involving other members in his retaliation towards Cloud would most certainly result in unwanted rumors and would increase the probability of him getting caught.
Because the age of fly-by-night death threats was over, and though indirectly given, Cloud wouldn't hesitate for a second to carry it out.
He shuffled down the hallway like a defeated warrior.
He remembered Cloud remarking bitterly on that alleged rape as well. To be perfectly honest, he really hadn't even given it much thought.
It didn't really bother him, and it didn't really make him sadistically jubilant either. The whole event—which he of course never remembered being a part of—was about as important to him as scratching his leg.
So, here he was now, taking the usual trip down the hall to classes, hating Cloud and despising the position he had put him in...and getting nowhere with his thoughts.
Seifer turned the corner, only to see another wave of curious inquirers asking about his nose. Offhandedly grumbling in their direction, he then noticed the so loathed blonde chatting casually with Leon—whom he wasn't particularly happy to see either.
He would save confrontation for another day.
He turned the corner before Cloud could even see him.
"Just get something in the morning," Leon said sympathetically as he slipped his legs under the sheets of his bed.
"But...I really am hungry." Cloud whined.
"I'm turning out the light."
The dim glow of the night stand light vanished and Leon re-situated himself underneath the sheets.
"I hate to bring this up, but I really thought I saw Seifer staring daggers at you earlier." Leon said quietly. A recent addition to their nightly rituals, Cloud and Leon would spend a while talking to each other. Usually it was nothing more than the day's events with personal opinions thrown here or there, but sometimes their talks lasted far into the night.
"Ugh," Cloud snorted. "Let him stare. I don't want you to even think about him."
"He's kind of hard not to think about."
"I know." Cloud said with a hint of sadness. "But I promise you, it will pass."
"I guess so."
Then Cloud grinned. "Did you happen to notice my handy work?"
Leon chuckled softly. "I did. Very nice."
"Well, I thought so."
"Mmm." Leon's eyes closed in felicity.
Cloud reached over the gap between their beds and took hold of the hand Leon rested next to his face. It was a bit of a stretch, but their hands dangled between them comfortably so.
"I won't let him touch you." Cloud said stroking the soft skin of Leon's palm.
"I know," Leon smiled, returning the affectionate touch by lacing their fingers together. "You're kicking reason in the teeth."
"Ha, maybe so." A tranquil silence fell between the two as they held hands between the beds. Then their eyelids became heavy in the passing minutes.
"Mmm." Leon hummed, reluctantly retracting his hand. "Goodnight Cloud."
Cloud yawned, retracting his hand as well. "Goodnight."
The end. I'm very pleased. I thought it would be nice to end things with a Seifer-centric chapter since he really isn't emotionally attached to the story the way Leon and Cloud are.
And now, I must confess:
Though I told myself I wouldn't, I couldn't stand it anymore and had to continue writing...typing. In fact, I was so excited (ignoring myself) that I'd written the first chapter to my next story without even starting the last chapter—which happens to be this—to "Of Paths to Repentance." I really dislike doing things so scatter-minded.
So, I've decided to tackle the possibility of carpal tunnel and brain lesions from staring at this computer screen (goodness knows I get side tracked) because far be it from me to watch television on my Saturday mornings. I've thrown reason to the wind with reckless abandon! T-T
Story three (However not necessarily a sequel...maybe.) will be up soon. I'm gonna let "A Curtain of Violet" and "Of Paths to Repentance" marinate in your brains for a while.