Kingdom Hearts II
As I, Not as We
Notes: The characters are not mine
(except for the judges) and the story is. The title is based on the
Alanis Morissette song. I think it fits at least one of the themes of
this story. It takes place deep in my timeline, at an indeterminable
point after Memento Mori. And it seems to have
many references and homages to To Create. Some
were intentional, and some were not. In any case, this seems to be a
follow-up as everything comes full circle. Thanks to Kaze for plot
I am still attempting to process that you are dead.
Your body is crumpled among the large and jagged rocks, lifeless on its stomach. Your left arm is half under you, folded against your chest. Your right arm is stretched over the nearest boulder, scraped and lacerated. Blood is running in thin rivulets down the jagged places of the stone, and the buster sword is still being gripped in your hand. Your sole wing, now tattered and torn, is limp as it rests against another rock.
I have already reached out, touching my fingers to your neck. And I have found that there is no pulse. But there must be some mistake. You cannot be dead.
This was never supposed to happen. I saw you tumble over the cliff, locked in combat with one of the enemies we were fighting. I was unable to get to you before now. Your opponent is laying several feet away with a broken neck. And you have not fared much better.
To move you may further damage any injuries you've sustained. You need medical help as soon as possible. Undoubtedly you have cracked ribs, if none are outright fractured. And there is a large bump on the back of your head. But at least your spine is not broken, nor your neck. I need to see if you are still breathing.
I grasp your shoulders, turning you onto your back as gently as possible. You do not move. Your form falls into place, limp and cold in my grasp. You're badly hurt. What am I thinking? I know you are not just hurt. I lean down, keeping a hand on your chest as I wait for it to rise and fall. It does nothing. No breath comes from your lips.
I failed. I could not protect you.
I will have to take your body back to Zack. He will not blame me for your death, but I can't stand to think of how he will look when I come and he realizes I am carrying a corpse. . . .
There is a crack of thunder overhead, even though it has not been raining. I look up, my eyes narrowed. The sky is still clear. The lightning seems to come from the very heavens themselves. It stabs into my body without warning. The pain is sharp, as if many knives charged with electricity have been injected into my system. My mouth opens in a silent gasp of agony. I can feel myself falling, collapsing to the ground next to you as all fades to black.
"Sephiroth. Rise and step forward."
The voice penetrates my oncoming consciousness. The floor against my face and my bare chest feels cool to the touch. I force my eyes open, staring at but not fully registering the tiled marble at first. I've . . . been here before, long ago . . . as if it were in a dream that's been all but pushed to the back of my mind.
But it isn't a dream. A nightmare, perhaps.
I begin to push myself to my knees. My suspicions are correct. The marble pillars and the three judges at the table are too familiar, as well as the silent jury to the side. I am in the courtroom in the sky, where all is quiet though clouds are visible around us. Is this my final judgement? Did they strike me down by lightning on purpose to end my life? Or did they just pull my spirit from my body in order to speak with me while my body remains alive, yet comatose?
They are watching me expectantly. I get up the rest of the way, beginning to walk over to them. I notice that my spirit possesses the three wings---as I did when I perished following the dragon's attack. They are now part of my soul as well as my body.
"What have you done?" I demand. "Was that lightning deliberately sent to strike and kill me?"
They ignore my question, not that I believed they would do otherwise.
"Your charge is dead," says the no-nonsense woman in the middle. "You were supposed to instruct and watch over him."
In spite of myself, I bristle. "Are you telling me that it's my fault he perished?" Even if I am tempted to believe it of myself, I don't appreciate being told that it is the truth. Logically I know that I could not have done anything. I was engaged in my own battle when you went over the precipice. I could not break away and go to you.
"Now that he is dead, there is no reason for you to remain on earth," she replies in a calm tone.
A fist clenches. I suspected this would happen, if you died before I did. And I am angry. It will be devastating for Zack, to lose both of his closest friends at once! How can this be happening? How can these judges be so heartless? For them to punish me is one thing. I deserve it. Zack does not.
"And what are you going to do with me?" I ask, my voice cold.
They regard me in silence for a moment. "Do you feel that you've made sufficient penance for your crimes?" asks the bespectacled one at last.
"I did what I was ordered to do," I answer. "My mission was to help Cloud learn how to overcome his inner darkness."
But the question seems impossible to fully answer. How could I ever repair what I did when I was drowning in hatred? I cannot bring back the lives I destroyed. I cannot comfort the families of the guiltless. Trying to save you from the darkness prevents others from suffering by your hands the way many suffered by mine. It does not take away what I did.
I look the ageless man in the eyes. "No," I say now. "To make sufficient penance for such crimes is beyond my, or any mortal's, ability."
He nods. "Then you won't disagree with your sentence."
"I cannot." But Zack. . . . I can't bear what this will do to Zack. Imagining him coming and finding both of us laying dead is too horrible. He will be put in Hell as well as I will be.
An idea occurs to me. I doubt they will consider it, but I will attempt it anyway. I refuse to give up without at least trying to ensure that Zack will not have to be in complete and needless anguish. These judges may control my fate, but that does not mean I must be entirely submissive.
"If this is to be my fate, then at least allow Cloud Strife to return," I implore. "For Zack to discover both of us dead would be too much for him. Don't you have any compassion? Zack does not deserve this!"
I can hear that my voice is rising, echoing off the pillars and the seemingly non-existent walls. I am desperate now. Something has to be done. We cannot both die at once!
The woman shakes her head, writing something on a notepad out of my sight. "That cannot be done," she says. "Zack Fair is not the first person to be faced with a horrible tragedy. All must pass through trials in their lives."
I slam my palms onto the desk. Her tone of complete disinterest is infuriating. I have never appreciated the way she treats me, though I suppose she believes that because of my crimes, I don't deserve kindness. But she should know that Zack is different. You are different.
"Zack has already endured more than enough!" I retort. "He experienced firsthand the destruction of Hollow Bastion by the Heartless. He witnessed first Cloud and then myself slipping into the darkness, when neither of us would listen to his pleadings. He found my dying body on the battlefield, when I was too ill to even recognize him. Why is it his lot to suffer so much?"
The third judge speaks. "Is it your place to determine how many trials someone should have, Sephiroth? You, who already stepped out of your place, with grave consequences? The reason you are in this situation is because of your inability to remain where you should and not overstep your boundaries."
"For Zack, I will step out of my place again," I reply.
It's strange, however---when I first discovered your body, Zack was not the first thing on my mind. I did not immediately think, "Zack's friend is dead", or "What will I tell Zack?" I could only regard you in numbness to begin with. When I finally processed what was going on, my thoughts became "You are dead." And I did not know how to deal with it. I still don't.
What have they done with you? Where will you be sent? I know you did not want to die. You wanted to live, to continue working your way into the light, to be with Zack and your other friends. This . . . this is not as it should be.
Did I say that aloud? The judges are looking at me as if I did. Or maybe they're reading my mind. It infuriates me when they do that!
Now the woman regards me with ice. "You are too rebellious for your own good," she declares. "Sephiroth, you are hereby sentenced to . . ."
It seems that the entire room freezes. All eyes look towards the sound of the voice. And . . . I can hardly believe what I'm seeing.
It's you. You're running towards the scene as if your life depends on it. Upon arriving, you stand in front of me, staring down the judges. You're breathing heavily, your wing twitching on your left shoulder.
"Don't," you choke out, "don't send him to Hell. Let him keep living."
The judges look at you, disinterested. "Why are you speaking up for him, Cloud Strife?" asks the woman. "What has he done that makes this action worth your time?"
You shake your head. "He's . . . he's a good man. Zack cares about him like he's family. To Zack, he is. You can't just let both of us die like this. It's just cruel!"
I can only keep staring. My thought process has stalled again. Have I heard right? You're saying that I'm a good man? I know you said recently that it was easier now for you to believe what Zack used to tell you about me, but I never thought you would say anything similar to anyone but me. Why?
"So," the dark-haired man comments, "each of you wants the other to live, for Zack Fair's sake?"
You nod. "Look, if it'd help . . . I'd . . ." You swallow hard, the words tasting foul in your mouth. "I'd take Sephiroth's sentence."
My eyes widen. "No!" I exclaim forcefully.
At the same moment, the woman says, "That is impossible."
You clench a fist. "Isn't there anything we can do?" you burst out. "Do we have to just accept this?"
She looks from you to me. "Is Zack Fair the only reason each of you wants the other to live?"
I meet her gaze. "What do you mean?"
She doesn't answer, her stare continuing to pierce us both.
. . . I understand what she means. And even if she was perusing my thoughts, apparently she wants me to say them aloud. I don't want to, but if it would help this situation, then I will.
"No," I admit.
Now you're surprised. You look at me in stunned silence.
"I want Cloud to live because he didn't want to die. He's young. He has a good deal of his life ahead of him. He deserves another chance." I look directly into her eyes as I speak. I will have it understood that these are my true feelings on the matter. I am not ashamed.
She gives a slow nod. "And you, Cloud Strife?" she asks. "Why do you want Sephiroth to return?"
You look back to her, still visibly reeling from what I said. "It's not the only reason," you grumble. "What he said." You nod towards me. "He deserves to live, too." And suddenly your emotions break free.
"Why should he have to go to Hell now, after all the good he's done?" you demand. "He helped me! I know I didn't see it at the time, but it's true. And he could do a lot more good if you let him live. I just . . . I don't want him to be down there . . . !"
Now I'm reeling. You've never said that I helped you, or that I've done good. You've always indicated that I did not have any bearing on your decision to not live in the darkness. And this is all such a switch. You used to want me in Hell, or at least, that was what you would say. And would you have ever before said that Zack is not the only reason for wanting me to live?
You've changed, Cloud. Though I suppose I have, as well. In the past, I don't know if I would have had compassion on you and felt that you deserved another opportunity to live. Because I dislike myself, I despised you for the ways you were similar to me. But recently I've seen you as your own person, as Zack always hoped I would.
"Both of you pass the test."
We start back to the present, looking at the woman. What test? My eyes narrow.
"What are you talking about?" you demand.
"Each of you cares about the other more than you even realize." She looks at us both. "Zack Fair may be a large part of the reason, but he is not the only factor. You are just beginning to understand the depth of your feelings.
"Cloud Strife, you will return to your mortal body. The most serious of your wounds will be mended, but you will still need assistance for a while. Learn to accept it in patience."
I relax. Then that's the most important thing. You will live. Zack will not have to be without us both.
"What about Sephiroth?" you want to know.
"That is not your concern," she answers.
"It is too!" you snap. "Do you think I want to go back knowing that he's going to be sent to Hell?! How could I even face Zack?! And I don't want to be always wondering what Sephiroth's going through and imagining him in some fire pit!"
I give you a look. These judges are unpredictable. I challenge them, but you should not. They may decide to revoke their decision to return you to life. You will not stay here. You will go back!
As it turns out, they ignore your outburst.
"Sephiroth, stand at attention."
I return my gaze to them. What do they have in mind? They had intended to send me to Hell before . . . or had they? If this has all been some kind of test, then . . . could they have had other ideas on our fates from the start?
"Your friends love you, Sephiroth. Always remember that."
My friends? Zack is my only . . .
The floor dissolves underneath us. I can hear you yelp in surprise. While I have experienced this before, you never have. I spread my wings, partially out of instinct as we descend. What will happen to us now? You will be sent back, but I . . . I don't know what will happen to me. The darkness is enveloping me once more, until I have completely succumbed to its pull. I wonder . . . will I ever see the light again?
I don't know how long I am unaware of myself.
It is frozen here. The ice penetrates my skin all the way to my bones. If this is Hell, it's not what I was expecting. Or maybe it's the in-between place. It was frigid in this way, when I was descending farther and farther and that creature was seizing hold of me.
But at last a hint of light is upon me, growing as it warms my chilled spirit and cold body. Somewhere in this land of oblivion, I feel the pull of consciousness. I grasp hold, fighting for it to gain control. A wing twitches involuntarily. I am laying on something bumpy and yet soft. Blades are tickling my face and chest. The grass. . . .
I force my eyes open. It's still night. The wind is frosty, bringing with it the first hints of the oncoming winter. The sky is clear, the moon and the stars shining down on the hill.
I push myself upright. I am alive. My heart is beating. I am breathing in the cold air. They allowed me to return.
My gaze turns to where your body is still sprawled next to me, over the rocks. You have not moved.
Something pricks at my soul as I survey you. They did not change their minds at the last minute, did they? They would not have kept you there and sent me back! They could not!
I reach out, grasping your shoulder. "Cloud!" I exclaim, my tone stern and demanding.
You tense under my touch, your wing pulsating as if to brush me away. "What?" you mumble. "I'm awake."
I slump back, releasing you. As I watch, you let go of the sword, pushing yourself into a kneeling position. You're trembling, but you look awed as you study yourself. Gingerly you poke at the blood on your arm. It's as if you're fully realizing now that you were spared as well. A spirit would not bleed.
"We're back," you say, rocking back on your heels.
I give a slow nod. And now I wonder if you will be able to stand. They did mention that you would need help for a while. Maybe I will have to attempt teleporting us to Zack's home. He must be frantic by now.
"Sephiroth . . ." You look uncomfortable, shifting your weight. You do not try again to talk.
I just watch you. "Do you have something to say, Cloud?" I ask at last.
You roll your eyes, but remain silent. When you speak, it's in a monotone. "I . . . I know everything now."
I raise an eyebrow. "Everything?" I repeat.
You shrug and glower, looking away. "I mean about you dying before and coming back with those wings. And about how you ended up bound to me." Your wing twitches again. "No wonder everyone thinks you're a fraud. You're supposed to be dead."
So now you know of my secrets. I never wanted it, but apparently the judges had their own ideas. I'm not certain what to think of this. I'm not certain what to think of most of tonight's events. Suddenly so many of my views have been challenged. You were even willing to offer taking on my sentence in order for me to be released. You are impulsive, but something such as that would not be said lightly. That would be an incomprehensible burden for you to take upon yourself.
"What do you think, Cloud?"
You shrug again. "I thought I'd be bowled over, but . . . after everything we've been through, it doesn't seem so weird anymore. It actually makes a lot of sense." A sigh escapes your lips. "And now I can see why Zack was so torn about it all. It must've been really rough for him, with me always demanding to know about you and him knowing he wasn't supposed to talk about it." You run a hand through your hair, wincing as the bump is accidentally touched. You drop your hand onto your lap.
"I just . . . I can see now that I was really being a pain."
I smirk, in spite of myself. "Yes, Cloud, you were."
I move over to you, taking hold of your arm to better examine it. You start at the sudden action, but don't pull away. Taking a cloth, I press it over the worst of the wounds.
"But I still think you've been a pain, too," you quickly add.
I don't look up as I keep working. "I'm going to teleport us out," I say.
Your gaze travels over my form. "Can you make it?" you say at last. "I don't want to get dumped in the desert or some dumb thing like that."
"I wasn't the one who was killed falling over a cliff."
"Your spirit was pulled out of your body, anyway." You shrug. "Doesn't seem like that would be a really fun experience."
"I wouldn't want to repeat it, no."
The sound of someone running over the grass causes us both to come to attention. What now? Hopefully not another nemesis to battle. Neither of us are ready to deal with it. I'm not particularly anxious to encounter an inquisitive townsperson either.
"Hey! Cloud! Seph! Are you guys here?!"
Zack. . . . You and I exchange a look of relief. "We're here," you call back.
You seem determined to stand. Getting your feet underneath you, you begin to slowly rise. Instead you sway, and you're forced to reach for my shoulder to steady yourself.
I start to get up as well, bringing you with me. I can feel your weight sagging against my chest. You won't be able to stay up by yourself. I place an arm around your waist to support you. All you can do in protest is to stiffen. You know you can't stand. Your legs are wobbling.
Now Zack arrives on the scene. He stares at us, his lavender eyes wide as he shakes his head in disbelief. "What the heck happened to you guys?" he gasps. "Cloud, you look like the living dead!"
You give a weak smirk. "If you only knew," you answer.
I look over at our friend. "We need to get him back," I say.
Zack nods. "I'll say. And you guys'd better do some explaining, too!" He places his hands on his hips, giving us a stern look that's only half-mocking. "I've been looking everywhere!" Before either of us can answer, he comes over, draping your other arm over his shoulders. "I've got the Jeep. Let's get you two out of here!"
Agreeably we start walking with him. "We were fighting some of Hojo's clones," I tell him. "It didn't go as well as we'd hoped."
"But we made it out alive," you add.
Zack frowns. "I've got the feeling you're not telling me everything," he remarks.
You shrug. "Maybe. Maybe not."
In any case, this isn't really the time to say that you were killed and that I believed I was going to be sent to Hell. We walk with Zack in silence to the Jeep, where he and I help you get inside. I climb in after you, and Zack goes around to the driver's side. We're going home.
It's late by now. We've been back for some time, and though I have the light extinguished in the living room, I'm wide awake. Your injuries have been tended to by Zack, and you are asleep in his bed. You're going to be fine. But my thoughts will not settle down. Over and over I replay the events of the past evening.
In spite of some of the recent conversations we have had, I still find it surprising that you came to my defense. But if you hadn't, and if this experience had not been a test, what would have happened to me? What will happen to me when I do die? For a while I wondered somewhat if I would be pardoned, but I have had increasing doubts, and tonight hasn't helped to change that.
Would they have let me live again those years before, if they knew all along that my fate in the end would never be different? They always led me to believe that helping you might result in my redemption. But I never know what to believe anymore, when they speak.
"Seph? I know you're awake, pal."
A wing twitches. I never even heard Zack come back into the room. "How's Cloud?" I don't bother to ask how he knows I'm not sleeping.
He sinks down into the recliner. "Exhausted. And . . . I think he's worried about you."
I frown, sitting up on the couch as I look over at him. "Why would he worry about me?" I ask. "He was the one who was the most gravely hurt."
"I know." Zack gives me a serious look. "He told me what happened."
That surprises me somewhat. I didn't think you would be anxious to let Zack know that you died. But Zack has a way of learning things anyway. Or maybe you told him because you knew I would gloss over any parts concerning myself.
"What did he tell you?"
Zack leans forward, resting his arms on his legs as he clasps his fingers. "He said that you were both taken up to the hall of judgement, and that they were acting like you were going to still be sent to Hell." He regards me with honest concern. "That sounds horrible."
I shrug. "It isn't as if I didn't know that was likely to be my fate. It probably still will be. Maybe they wanted to prepare me for it so that I wouldn't have any vain and foolish hopes of being able to gain salvation."
Zack gets up, coming over to sit by me on the couch. "Seph . . . I can tell you're upset about this." He reaches out, laying a hand on my shoulder. "Come on, who wouldn't be?"
"It's all I deserve, Zack." I look over at him. "My sins are unforgivable."
"That's not true." His grip tightens. "Yeah, you really lost yourself. The strain and the horror of everything started getting to you. But Seph . . ." He looks into my eyes. "You took it as long as you possibly could. It was when you saw what was being done to the women and children that you snapped. I don't even know if you were altogether sane back then."
I never believed I wasn't, either at the time or afterwards. Though it's said that those who are mad don't realize it. Supposedly if you believe you're insane, you likely are not.
"What if I was sane, Zack?" I answer. "What if I was fully in possession of my faculties?"
"I don't know." He shakes his head in a helpless manner. "But I do know the Seph I know wouldn't have done those things unless his mind was in a frenzy." And he tries to smile. "And . . . I dunno . . . I just have this feeling that everything's going to be okay." He pulls his arm further around me, in a half-hug.
I let him. "It would be nice to share your confidence." I will be honest, I may believe I don't deserve a better afterlife, but that doesn't mean I don't want it. I doubt anyone would want to end up with an eternity of fire and brimstone, alone with their sins and memories.
"I still think your second chance at life is a way for you to make up for everything the best way you can," Zack says. "You used to think it too, at least kinda. I don't know how it's all going to be worked out in the end, but they wouldn't have let you had another chance if there wasn't any hope! That wouldn't even make sense."
I just smirk. "Unless it's another way to torture me."
He gives me a Look.
"Alright," I concede. "Maybe it isn't."
Zack leans back. "You and Cloud are too much alike, you know that? All these thoughts about doom and stuff."
"I wouldn't have given into such a thought process right now, if it wasn't that I was never given any assurance that my fate will be different at death."
But what was meant by the cryptic statement I was given? "Your friends love you, Sephiroth. Always remember that." I didn't and don't see what relevance it has to the situation, except for the fact of you being involved in the test. It was your test as much as it was mine, I suppose.
"I think your assurance is right here," Zack smiles. "You're alive. You're here with me and Cloud. You and Cloud are finally realizing you care about each other. It's like I've been saying, Seph---everything's going to be fine. Just stick with us and keep doing the best you can."
I wonder if that's what was meant---that I should allow my friends to support me. Or myfriend. I still don't understand why it was used in plural form.
Or do I. . . .
I settle back into the couch. "You're right. That's all I can do. And when the time comes, whatever will be, will be."
Zack pretends to think about this. "That still sounds pretty gloomy, Seph," he says at last.
"It's only the truth."
Zack smirks. "I wonder if I should be worried that this is what you sound like when you're starting to get back into a good mood."
"Worry if you want."
Zack pokes me. "Same old Seph."
Apparently sleep does not continue to evade me. I find myself awakening an indeterminable amount of time later, curled on the couch in a semi-fetal position. A quilt is draped over me, courtesy of Zack, and my wings feel chilled as they hang to the floor. It must have been a cold night.
I begin to rise, glancing over at the recliner. Zack has a quilt and pillow of his own, and he is asleep, sprawled in what appears to be the most uncomfortable position conceivable. But he does not seem to mind.
Are you still slumbering as well? You need it, after the night you had. But you so rarely do what you need to. I suppose I should get up and find how you are doing. Considering your injuries, you would probably lay in bed if you could not sleep, instead of getting up to roam over the house. Though when it's you, it's not always easy to determine what you would do.
Throwing back the covers, I place my feet on the floor and begin to push myself off the couch. It is noiseless in response, and Zack stirs only to roll over, mumbling into the pillow as he sinks deeper into sleep. I am amused, in spite of myself.
It does not take long to travel down the hall to the bedroom. The door is slightly ajar, and I push it open the rest of the way. You're laying in bed, facing me as you grip at the pillow. Your eyes are closed, but your wing thumps lightly on the bed. Either you're awake or you're dreaming.
Your eyes snap open. From the clear look you're giving me, I can see that you were awake.
"What are you doing here?" you ask.
"What does it look like?" I grunt.
"Peering in at me," you answer. "This is a switch."
I cross my arms. "From what?"
"I did the same thing after you nearly killed yourself fighting those stupid fire monsters."
Ah yes. "I remember. You came because Zack wanted you to make sure I was alright, even though he was sound asleep at the time he told you." This is said with heavy sarcasm.
You roll your eyes. "And why did you come?" you want to know.
Now I pause, mulling over my choice of words. "I came because I wanted to make sure you're alright," I say at last.
You fall silent. For some time you lay there, idly toying with the quilt. I wonder if you're planning to comment to that or if you will ignore it altogether. It feels so odd to me, to realize that I spoke the truth. And you must be bowled over, to say the least. Either that or you are wondering who I am and what I've done with Sephiroth.
"We've changed, haven't we."
It startles me when you speak. I look over, seeing that you are addressing the comforter.
I give a slow nod. "We have."
"It feels weird." Finally you look up at me once more. "It seems like we should still be at each other's throats."
"Would you prefer that?" I ask, only half-sarcastic.
You snort. "I said it was weird, I didn't say it was bad."
I smirk, relaxing further. "No, you didn't."
"I just . . . I never had any idea what you'd been through, or that it was so awful." You sigh, turning onto your back in a painstaking way. "I don't know how you even had patience dealing with me. I would've wanted to wring my neck."
I am amused. "I did want to, many times." I lean against the wall. "I wanted to grab and shake you until you understood the magnitude of what was happening and what your choices were causing."
"What made you help me, anyway? I mean . . . I get that you had to, but that wasn't always the only reason, was it?"
"It wasn't." I regard you calmly. "It was also because you are Zack's friend and he was worried about you. He could not get through to you, and I was determined to make you listen." I pause. "And somewhere along the way, I honestly wanted to see you change for your sake. I didn't want to see you suffer as I have, nor for you to bring suffering on others."
You stare at the ceiling, still attempting to process this. "So . . . I guess you're still bound to me," you say at last.
"I am, until you die . . . and stay dead."
This prompts a slight smirk from you before it vanishes. "So you mean if you die first, you have to stay around and haunt me?"
I shrug. "Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised."
"Zack would be glad if you got to stick around."
"Yes, but he would be even happier if I didn't have to die in the first place."
"That's true." You glance over at me. "Being bound to someone sounds like a pain."
"It is," I admit in a matter-of-fact tone. "Though . . ." I half-turn. "Not as much as it once was. Not anywhere near as much."
I can feel your surprised gaze on me. "It's not?"
"No." I look back to you.
You lean back into the pillows. "Heh. Weird."