Author's Notes: Very strange little drabble I wrote one night when I was feeling very, very depressed. Seifer x Squall pairing. One-shot, complete.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

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And Love ...Said No

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It was funny how, when you were a teenager, things were always extreme.

They were either one way or the other; they never chose the obvious middle path, too lazy or maybe to little in mind to see, not to mention seize the opportunity to a well-balanced life, of a cozy niche somewhere between the eternal poles of black and bad, good and evil, heaven and hell. You either feel insecure or secure. You offer yourself for a price way below your own worth, are vulnerable to everything said or sometimes even merely hinted by others, retreat into your own little shell when things go bad, muse about the meaning of yourself, this situation, the world.. and then, maybe just a couple of minutes later, your attitude retreats to the vast opposite, suddenly you think you're the biggest, baddest and every other fancy superlative you can think of person the sun has every laid her rays upon, you're like a super-marine ship that recently got it cannon fodder shipped in and is thus fully capable. You take all the advise you have read and read and had your ears talked off with to heart.

Like yourself. You are worth it.

You are a special human being.

You're good.

The whole world's gates are opened to you.

You are a unique and beautiful snowflake.

And then... poof. A minor slip happens and suddenly, all the cannon fodder your wonderfully new battle-ship was supplied with is gone out of a sudden, as if some evil counterpart had thrown it into the sea and danced its bizarre victory dance upon the place your fame had had its ocean funeral.

A dance similar to the thin, spidery handwriting of the letter Seifer was holding in his hand, as he was caught within the world in his own skull where the musings and thoughts were scrambling onto one another, trying to excel in articulateness. They were, however, mashing together to create a mess of twirling shapes and not-quite-finished sentences.

Teenagers. They had been teenagers, against their own awareness caught in a world of extremes, when he had last laid eyes upon the owner of this delicate handwriting.

Seifer blinked his tired eyes and brought one hand up to support his heavy head with its seemingly cushioned, dulled insides, as he continued to stare down at the letter he had received this morning. How he had gotten it, he didn't know. His address wasn't known. Understandably so, since the ex-sorceress knight was still among the most feared people in all of Gaia, even though it had been five long, tiresome, emaciating years since he had left Garden and never set foot in it again.

A letter. A letter from him.

As that thought came to him, another wave of confusion ran over him in a way that almost made him sick to his stomach. He let his eyes roam over the rather small piece of paper in disbelief at what exactly the letter was saying, what those delicate letters were revealing, just what they were asking...

What he had written in this short notice weighed very heavily.

Seifer had to see him again. He knew it in an instant, and in absolute certainty. Having spent the last hour slumped in his seat, practically devouring the sweetly smelling paper, the clarity came sudden and unprepared, as if the struggling knot in his head had been resolved and the solution been laid out right in front of him.

After everything that happened, he had to face him again, no matter how much this thought turned his stomach upside down. No matter how tight the knot that was building up inside him became, no matter how his heart and breathing quickened. Even despite the screaming, trashing, yelling little voice in his head that was against going back to this place and facing the very person he had been running away from.

He stood up, got to his window, and looked out at the softly shimmering lights of a rainy Deling City night, the car lights blurry and surreal, the sound of the rain drumming rhythmically on the distant roof.

Squall had been one extreme, Seifer continued to muse. He had been the other. On the complete opposite ends of each other, they had spent their times – waiting for each other, seizing each other up, contemplating each other only to then, in several violent showdowns, clash together in a desperate attempt to shove one's own extreme down the other's throat.

It had never worked. Seifer had stayed the was – and so had Squall.

Before time compression, when they had both been students, Seifer had often felt like there was something in his chest. A mysterious something almost cutting off his oxygen, something so painful, yet not painful at all – the manifestation of the sorrow that was summoned by unrequited love and desire. A huge block in Seifer's chest, pressing and squeezing his windpipe whenever he was alone – pressing and squeezing until slowly the first tears had started to slowly roll down his cheeks, to be caught by the pillow underneath where it spread its salty essence.

Seifer often wondered what exactly it was that, that thing in his chest. As much as he tried to describe it, words seemed to fail him whenever he tried to – all he could thing was a hard, unwavering, pressing entity; Seifer liked to think it was his unclean desired and wishes trying to escape from his body and cutting off his air in the process. Just as some people believed that a yawn was really a try of the soul to escape.

One morning, Fujin had come to wake him up she had seen the tears gathering in the corner of his eyes. She had asked, "why are you crying? Did you have a nightmare?"

"No," Seifer had answered, hastily wiping the tears from his eyes. "No, I did not have a nightmare."

"Then," Fujin had asked, a concerned look on her face, "what kind of dream did you have?"

"A sweet dream," Seifer answered. "I had a sweet, a beautiful dream, Fujin."

"Then, why are you crying?" Fujin asked, her silver eyebrows sliding together in confusion. "Why are you crying if you had a sweet dream?"

"Because the sweet dream I had can never come true."

Seifer had dreamt of being with Squall as friends – as lovers, even, that night.

Smiling quietly to himself, Seifer remembered those days, as though they were gone much longer than the five years they actually were. Forgotten was the warm, suffocating thing in his chest that would materialize at night, gaining in density with every painful thought about Squall; forgotten were the sweetly enticing feelings he'd feel when Squall would pay him attention, when he would get Squall to show his emotions and feelings, when he would force the other a little bit closer to his extreme. Forgotten the crushing intensity of his teenage years - his heart had dried up like a rose forgotten in its glass palace. Like the rose in the fairy tale about the beauty and the beast.

But, this letter...

Seifer sighed yet again as he turned away from the window, stepping back into the room. This letter, would it change anything?

The question reverberated in his skull, multiplied itself a hundred times, then came rolling back at him in a deafening roar. What... just what would he do?

Shaking his dead, he brought up the letter again, to read it for perhaps the hundredth time that day. Letting his eyes roam over the spidery handwriting, letting its meaning sink almost painfully into the confused mass of his brain, he sighed in agony at the heavy decision he had to make. Why, why was Squall doing this to him? Why has he doing this to him now?

In a sudden burst of temper, of suffocating energy, he threw the letter into the corner of his room, gathered his things and left the tiny little apartment he lived in in Timber, where he lived and waited for the time to pass and the people to return to normality. Rain started to beat down on him in relentless melancholy as he stepped out into the streets, wrapping his coat tighter around his shivering shoulders. Where he was going, he didn't know. Just before, he had decided he had to see Squall, but now he felt that where once the decision and determination had bloomed like the most beautiful flower, there was now nothing but yawning nothingness.

He walked away while inside, in the room he'd left in such an impulsive hurry, his cat, Soonja, opened her eyes. Raising her head, Soonja looked at the crumpled peace of paper in front of her and rolled her eyes.

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Dear Seifer,

I know it's sudden. And don't think that just because I'm writing you, I forgot about everything you did to me. Don't think it means I forgive you for all the abnormal thing you pulled, the doom you brought on us all Don't think I will ever be able to truly forgive you for that.

But I've been thinking.

I have been married to Rinoa for 4 painfully long years now. For about 2 years, I have known that it wasn't the right decision – that there was, in fact, someone else a long time who made me feel more like myself than she ever could. Rinoa might have changed me for the better – but I've come to realise that this isn't how a relationship works. It isn't just one person that has to do the changing – it's either both of them, or both having to accept the other the way they are.

I've come to realise that Rinoa isn't in love with me – she is in love with the Squall she created.

Remember when we were teenagers, Seifer?

How we loved to tease each other?

How we loved to fight each other?

How we loved to hate each other?

I didn't want you any different than you were. I'm sure you feel the same. Of course we always tried to shove our own extremes down the other's throat – but really, didn't you appreciate every inch of me, just the way I was?

Weren't emotions just so much more extreme, so much more natural when we were young?

Sometimes... I catch myself missing those emotions.

But it's already too late. I am married and you... you might not even be alive. Teenage emotions are dead, no matter how much we want them not to be. But something tells me that this silent acceptance and respect we shared was more than juvenile hormones. Or maybe, my dissatisfaction with my marriage has led me to falsely believe this.

But in the odd chance that this reaches you...

... will you consider writing back to me?

I'll be waiting for your answer. I have nothing better to do with my time at this point.

Maybe, though... maybe love... has just said no. Maybe love has said no to me and I just can't accept it.

Has love said no to you as well?

-

Squall

Soonja sniffed at the letter, then yawned heartily and let her head fall back in between her paws. It didn't take long for sleep to claim her consciousness once more.