v i n d i c a t i o n

The first cut is not always the deepest. In fact, the first cut doesn't hurt at all.

It's the second cut that does all the damage.

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Do you believe in the gods?

Why should I?

Because if you don't, you'll go to hell, right? That's how the story goes.

Hell?

Yeah, hell. It's supposed to be all fiery and everything.

Fire, huh? At least I won't get cold.

That isn't funny.

Wasn't supposed to be.

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Does he believe in the gods? Can there be some surreal, supernatural creature watching him? The thought's a little disturbing. He's got a long list of dirty little secrets that he doesn't want to remember, let alone atone for. Believing in gods is for the good guys, the saccharine Selphie-types who are gonna turn into fucking angels when they die - not for him.

Gods don't really have time for the bad guys, at least, not in the stories. In the stories, they all get chucked into hell without anyone asking, well, why'd you do it? Would they throw someone like Edea in, for crimes she committed while possessed? The blood, after all, is on her hands. Maybe he could claim possession, too. Maybe he could fool the Gods. He fooled everyone else. Easier like that, in a twisted sort of way. If he doesn't admit it, maybe it isn't real.

It's not possession, not really, no more than any man obsessed can claim being controlled. It's a vice he can't break away from, a clawing something deep down that refuses to let go. It haunts him. Failure always has. He can't stand to lose.

It'd be easier if Squall jeered at him. If Rinoa spit at his feet. If Quistis slapped him, or Zell hit him, or Irvine shot him, or Selphie screamed at him. It'd be easier if they all hated him. It'd be easier if they didn't forgive him.

Because, you know, fuck their forgiveness. He doesn't want it. If they hate him, then why can't they go ahead and admit it? It'd be better off for everyone involved if they'd just tell him what they thought, instead of playing this we're-all-friends game they seem to think makes him feel included or some shit like that. Fuck it. Fuck them, and fuck their ideas of him.

He's not that easy to understand.

He's not a book. Rinoa can't pick him up and use her pretty new powers to divine all of his secrets. And, maybe he's the only one who'll dare to admit it, but yeah - she's a sorceress. Rinoa who pretends to be all nice and sweet and perfect, she's a little demon inside. A little devil trying really, really hard to be an angel. Because she's not. Never will be, no matter how much Squall tries to act like it.

If there are Gods, then they'll damn Rinoa as fast as they damn him. She's as guilty as any murderer by default. That's the whole point of being a sorceress. It's like being born a demon - you're fucked from the start. Oh well, sucks to be you, doesn't it? At least he chose his own perdition. No one picked it out for him.

He's got more secrets than any of them, he's just better at hiding it. Squall - he went about it all the wrong ways. You wanna keep your secrets? Act like you don't have any. Act like you're as deep as a puddle. Squall's mistake was in withdrawing. If he'd done what Seifer had and been a jackass to everyone and loud about it, then no one would have gotten under his shell. But Squall probably wanted someone to figure him out, because Squall was always so damn indecisive. The trick is to barge right in and do something, even if it's wrong, because what the hell? Even if you shot yourself in the foot, you did something, didn't you? None of that standing-around-chatting shit. Talking about the problems doesn't make them go away, and it's people like Selphie and Rinoa who swear it works that really piss him off.

They think that if he'd just talk to someone about what it was like being possessed by Ultimecia - which he wasn't, but they don't have to know that - he'd be so much nicer. He kind of wants to talk to one of their counselors, just to see how much shit he can feed them before they realize he's lying.

Instructor is the only one who seems to believe that he doesn't need help. He isn't entirely sure that she hasn't figured out that he wasn't possessed. In fact, he thinks she has, but has the tact not to say it.

At least someone does.

Because if he's gonna go to hell - fine. Great. He can burn in hell, and he gets that. He deserves it. He pulled a lot of shit, made a lot of mistakes, ruined a lot of people. Burning in hell - good. Got it. But having to live with the fact that everyone knows he's damned?

No. He hates it when people look down on him, or pity him, or act like he needs their help, like they can save him. He won't listen to any of that. What the hell do they know, anyway? They weren't the ones who fucked up their eternities. None of them have done anything like what he has, so they can't get it. He's not going to talk to any too-smart counselor about how much it'll hurt when he's burning forever, or how much it scares him.

Easier, then, to just ignore it. He doesn't believe in gods. Simple. If they don't exist, they can't turn their deity condemnation upon him. If they don't exist...

If gods don't exist, then he's not beyond redemption.
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(A/N: I haven't written Seifer since Mantra, and he's always been my favorite character. The first two little bits... Heh. Make of those what you will. Who is Seifer talking to, and when? What do you think? Review!)