Disclaimer: We do not own Final Fantasy VIII or any of its characters; Squaresoft/Square-Enix does. This fic, however, is ours. No lawsuits please.


Authors' notes:
Bax: Alright, is this thing on?
Nicola: So, uhh. We're the authors. And you're our pawns. DANCE PUPPETS DANCE.
Bax: Readers. Nikki, They're our readers.
Nicola: Sure, Bax. Whatever you say...
Bax: Anyways, about this Fanfic. What is it?! WHO AM I? WHY IS SEIFER NAKED!...
Nicola: Because you like men.
Bax: I feel the urge to say, "Oh my god, you can see into my mind? No. Fuck!" but somehow I think that would stray only just slightly off topic.
Nicola: So basically, this is our lovechild. It's mainly a Seifer/Fujin, Selphie/Irvine fic. We've been writing it for four days now. BASH IT ALL YOU WANT IT'S STILL OUR BABY. :(
Bax: Just give constructive criticism. If you're going to "bash" just because your period won't come, don't. (Or if you're a guy, if your girlfriend refuses to put out. Not our fault.)
Nicola: So... we don't know
where this is going to end, we're having a lot of fun writing it... So, we hope you enjoy it. Read and review, please. 3 Kthx.
Chapter 1: Time to think.

Fujin sat opposite to Seifer, one leg crossed over the other as she stared lazily out of the window. The engine, however, refused to let her sleep; and she wrinkled her nose as it started to pollute the air with smog. A twelve hour train ride. Ah, the things she endured for 'love'. If you could even call it that. Raijin, having a slight case of ADHD, had long since gotten up from the seat and instead was investigating the other compartments of the train. Fujin sighed in irritation, tucking a few strands of her short gray hair behind her ear.

"BORED." She complained to Seifer, shifting in her seat.

Seifer rolled his eyes, merely turning his head to stare out through the window.

"We shouldn't have that far to go, anyway." he glanced back at her. Feeling as though something about her had changed. He quickly shrugged it off, brooding on it too long made him uncomfortable. Raijin had given up on trying to figure out what was going on between the other two members of their little trio, having settled for exploring the contents of his ear with a thick finger.

Fujin ran her finger over the strap of her eye patch, going back into her thoughts. Which, unlike her speech, was not so simple.

"... WHERE?" She asked, furrowing her brow to try and recall where -exactly- this train was heading to. She hadn't really been paying attention when Raijin told her, because Seifer had been smiling at her--it made her angry that he brought out the 'softer' side of Fujin. Usually she was rather scary, as most of Balamb Garden affirmed. Stealing a glance at Raijin, who was peering at the ear wax left on his stubby finger, she wrinkled her nose at him in slight displeasure.

Seifer sighed, turning to face her, for some reason unable to keep from smiling at her, despite being in a foul mood.

"Somewhere I can stop to think" He spoke, looking straight at her. Seifer hadn't thought of it before, but for some reason, Fujin didn't quite seem as menacing as she usually did. Her scowl somehow just made him want to smile even wider. He soon diverted his gaze again, his elbows settling on his knees; chin on his fists. Meanwhile, Raijin was smelling the ear wax on his finger.

Fujin's eyes swung back to Seifer's when she noticed his stare, a puzzled expression covering her face; replacing the scowl he so adored. He hadn't really ever looked at her like that before--like she was actually a woman, and not just Fujin.

"SEIFER?" She couldn't even remember the last time she had seen him smile; which was a rare occurrence in any given scenario. Raijin looked up from the yellowish substance on his fingertip, looking up at Seifer as well. He grinned, even if he hadn't a clue on what had transpired, when did he ever?

"Nice to see ya smilin'... ya know?" He added.

Seifer shrugged, not quite sure himself what was different.

"Don't worry, I'm fine. I just feel like showing my old 'friend' Leonhart that he ain't all that, just 'cause he's the new headmaster."

"I wouldn't go sayin' that around him... ya know?" Raijin grinned, sheepishly--last time Seifer and Squall clashed, Seifer ended up rendered unconscious for days. Fujin silenced the large man with her one-eyed glare. She then turned calmly to face Seifer again, her cool composure back.

"JEALOUS?"

Seifer's face took on a look of disdain, his lips curving as though he'd just drunk sour lemonade.

"Of that pansy? As if!". If Seifer's face had been able to pout, he would have.

Fujin put her hand over her mouth, trying to squelch the giggle that hid behind it. After all, what would Seifer think of her if she giggled? Though, that made her wonder why would she worry about what he thought? Instead the only hint of emotion on her face were her eyes, which were lit up in amusement. She hoped no one noticed the very slight nervousness that for some reason surfaced. She wasn't very used to expressing her emotions, so she had a hard time being open about them.

The roar of the engine was slowly starting to soften, as Fisherman's Horizon became apparent in the distance.

"LOOK." Fujin pointed into the distance; where the tops of buildings were starting to show. Raijin, unable to sit for a moment longer, jumped to his feet and butted Fujin out of the way, causing her to grunt. She was surprised when Seifer raised his voice:

"Hey, watch where you're going, Raijin.". Her surprise was piqued when Seifer helped her to her feet (Raijin, being rather large, had knocked her off her seat), and placed her beside him as he stood; busying himself by grabbing their bags from the overhead compartment.

Fujin, having been caught off guard, couldn't help but to blush at Seifer's rather boyish, yet charming gesture. Luckily for me, she thought to herself, he had already started stepping off the train. It took a while before her cheeks regained their normal pallor.

It didn't take them that long to reach the nearest hotel. Fujin was surprised at finding herself walking a short distance behind the two men, simply looking at the blonde, wondering what had gotten into him, quickly directing the question at herself. What had gotten into her? Her thoughts were soon interrupted by Seifer, as he dropped the bags with a loud thud.

"Alright, this place should have bellboys, right Raijin?" Raijin quickly shrugged at the smaller man's inquiry. Fujin, at Seifer's words, walked up to the desk and ringed the bell (that, quite obviously, rung for the bellboys), tapping it incessantly until one appeared. Since Seifer was being so chivalrous, she looked over her shoulder, raising a brow and inclining her head, signalling for him to pay the man.

"So... for how long will you be staying at our fine establishment?"

Seifer frowned. How long would he be staying? How long would it take him to... well, he didn't even know why he was here, now that he thought about it. He always liked Fisherman's Horizon, it was... peaceful, calm and serene. Quite the opposite to himself. It was somewhere he could just sit around and think. Something which he clearly hadn't been doing lately--joining up with a sorceress, abandoning his friends... attempting to sacrifice his ex-girlfriend to Adel... Rinoa... He shook his head, trying to clear it of all the bad memories that were swarming in his head; his hand fishing around in his pocket for some gil.

"It's 200 gil a night. And that's for a single suite." Seifer could feel his bad temper boiling up inside him, his eyelid beginning to twitch. He wasn't cheap or anything (for the most part), but... he wasn't exactly loaded, either. He gritted his teeth. Maybe this stay wouldn't be quite so relaxing as he had first assumed.

Fujin, who had been watching Seifer during his little inner monologue, quickly presented the receptionist with the exact amount of money needed, not leaving a single gil as a tip.
"BAD SERVICE." She hissed, rather loudly, and then pulled on Seifer's arm to quite literally yank him out of his thoughts, the bellman still slightly in shock over what just transpired. Raijin and Seifer would take one room, naturally; Fujin the other. 400 gil a night... Quite the rip-off, considering it wasn't even high season on the small island resort. In fact, Seifer had failed to see even one tourist. The hotel was practically empty.

Well, at least it'd be quiet--he wanted to 'think' after all. Fujin yanked Raijin's earlobe sharply, pulling him away from a cute bell girl he'd been trying to flirt with (she looked rather scared, 'about to run away'-kinda scared); following Seifer up to the rooms. Raijin had fallen behind, obviously embarking on his own quest to try and find a cute bell girl that will not up and run as soon as he opens his mouth.

"KEY?" Fujin extended her hand towards Seifer, palm open expectantly. She didn't want to spend all of her nights alone, but at the same time, she didn't exactly want to spend her nights with a snoring Raijin, either. But... part of her couldn't help but want to ask Seifer to stay with her, the other part was afraid... She knew he would never feel for her, what she had begun feeling for him. Even if he did (which he didn't), really, what could they do about it? Risk their friendship over it?

The only two people in the world she knew she could always count on were Seifer and Raijin; she didn't want that sense of security taken away from her. She didn't care about what Seifer had done in the past... she knew that it had not really been him. He was being used, in every sense of the word. At that time, what had hurt the most was how blinded by power he had been. If she could, she would keep that from happening to him again. She would care for him until the day she died, even if he stopped caring for her.

Snapping out of her trance, she swung her gaze back up to his, a faint hint of a smile on her lips. "Hand it over." She felt unaccustomed to talking so... fluently, as she did on the few occasions that her and Seifer were alone. It wasn't always as effective, nor as amusing as her normal way of speaking. Still, it was something she reserved for him... and him alone. She didn't know if he realized this, or the implications it brought--but, it was his.

Seifer folded his arms, tilting his head, his eyes scrutinizing her.

"Now, why is it you never talk like this with anyone but me?" She smiled amusedly, giving him an unusually coy wink. "Maybe you're special, Seifer." Did he know how special he was to her? Doubtful. Seifer was always doubting himself, which was why he always thought he needed to prove himself. It wouldn't have been surprising had she found out he doubted everyone else as well.

Without a word, except maybe playful, mocking stare, he dropped the set of keys into her hand. "You sure you'll be alright, all alone, Fuu?" He smirked. "You know... " His smirk grew wider and wider as he continued "... you just need to ask, and I'll be there. Anything at all, ya know?" She turned around sharply, feeling as though he is making fun of her feelings for him. He quickly catches her wrist, holding it firmly, lowering his voice, sounding almost worried.

"Fujin, just ask, okay?" Perplexed, she only barely managed to keep down the blush that was all too feminine for her taste, nodding to Seifer slowly. "Okay, I'll... ask." She said, soft, and slow. Though... Could she bring herself to ask for him? It, would let him know, wouldn't it? Which was exactly what she was afraid of. Rejection.

Coaxing her wrist out of his hold, almost painfully so as she felt a wrenching in her chest; she turned towards the door to her room. Then, she paused, tilting her head towards him.
"You know, Seifer... It goes both ways." With that, she strides into her own room, leaving Seifer deep in thought.

Fujin's smile alone was enough to make him want to kick the door down and do whatever it took... Wait, that didn't really sound right, the more he thought about it. He shrugged, He was probably just tired. And who wouldn't be, after a twelve hour train ride in the company of Raijin and his earwax museum? Involuntarily, Seifer shuddered. It still surprised him how dim his companion could be, not that Fujin surprised him any less. Something between them had changed, hadn't it? But, was something missing? Or... had something been added? What had changed?

On the other side of the door, Fujin's shoulders relaxed from its tense position. Like Seifer, she was always trying to prove herself. Though, only to him. She didn't care about the rest of the world, like he did--even if he pretended he didn't give a fuck. She knew better. She just wished he would, for one day, put her before everyone else. Like she does for him, always. She wished he'd open his eyes and realize everything she had gone through, everything she had done, for him.

Trying to push these thoughts away, she started to discard her clothing, heading for the bathroom. She turned on the taps to the bath, ready to wash away the grime she had accumulated from their arduous journey. Wash away the sins of yesterday, today and tomorrow. And, finally, have some well deserved rest.

Seifer stood a moment, as though frozen, his arm coiled, ready to knock on the door to Fujin's room. Why? He... didn't quite know. What was it he wanted to say? He knew he could ask just about anything from her... but... could he really ask anything? If she knew about the way he'd begun seeing her, the... way he thought of her now.

This was different, it wasn't like it had been with Rinoa. Rinoa didn't really mean anything. Most the details of their so called "Summer romance" were just made up. They both needed to seem more experienced than they actually were. A passing fling, and he'd always suspected the only reason she'd even taken interest in him in the first place was to meet Cid. He wasn't saying ... no, he didn't know what he was saying, or feeling, or really, thinking, about Fujin.

Why was all of this so fucking confusing? He banged his fist on the wall, making Fujin jump on the other side of it, water splashing all over the floor. He ran his fingers through his hair, eventually moving from his spot to vacate to his own room. He stood on his balcony a moment, scratching his chin idly, some stubble had started growing around his jaw. Rinoa would probably have told him he looked like a lowlife, or a thug.

Fujin... she wouldn't have said anything condescending about it. She admired him in a way no one else really ever had. She would follow him anywhere, as would Raijin. But Fujin, she was different. It wasn't that Seifer doubted Raijin's loyalty, not in a million years. It was just... Fujin gave him a chance to redeem himself, one which so few were willing to give. Besides, he was cheated into this fate. It could as well have been Squall in his place, it could have been anyone. But no, it had to be him. Fate really fucked people over more often than not.

Here he was...

And here she was.

He eventually tore himself away from the balcony, deciding if he was going to go into his angst-ridden state-of-mind, it was best not to do so in front of a four-story drop.