Seifer

Absolution.

By Sonia Kerr

Authors Notes: This is a story detailing FF8 from Seifer's point of view. Why he did things and what drove him on. I never really took Seifer as a bad guy, he did some things he shouldn't have, but I always felt his reasoning was very deep. He wasn't just doing what he was for the fun of it, in my opinion he had reasons and this story is directed at Seifer's explanation and a hope at granting him a pardon for what he did. I play on a few different ideas as to why he did it leaving some fields open for exploration in terms of other stories. Please tell me what you think and if I should pursue any other stories from ideas this one may of risen.

It's hard being classed the bad guy, no matter what you do, or how you try to change, that title will always hang around your neck. Like a piece of cardboard with the word 'traitor' sprawled across it, slipped over your neck so that the whole world can see it and judge you on that one word immediately. You're never given a chance to explain your actions, to allow yourself a moment of absolution from your past deeds. Life just goes on around you, and you're forced to carry that title, holding your head as high as you can, to maintain what little pride may of survived the ordeal.

That is what happened to me, I was given this title because of a deed I performed that was beyond my physical and mental control. I never meant to do it, but I was sucked in, my greed and jealousy played upon until I was but a puppet in a wicked game. A game, that when things had gone to far, I believed I had to finish it myself…there was no point in turning back when the hole I had dug was already too deep to crawl out of unscathed.

So what is the purpose of my confession? What is the purpose of what I am doing here? Do I want to make excuses for my actions? Do I want you to pity me because of a screwed up childhood and thriving rivalry? Of course not, in fact, I do not care what you think of me, but…I'd like you to see the truth, to know what my actions caused. Maybe I did dig my own grave, but maybe…maybe I managed to climb out of it. You never know, not unless you listen to my words.

Well let's see where to start? Should I begin at the beginning or begin at the end? Maybe I'll just wing it? Tell you what I feel like, what was important to me, who was important to me. I won't tell you every detail, I won't tell you every event, I guess my story doesn't have a direct beginning, or a stone ending. My plight continues to moves on with every day, and who knows, maybe some day, when someone I care about asks me if it was worth it. I'll be able to look them straight in the eyes and say, 'yeah, it was worth it…and I'd do it all again in a second, if it gets me where I am today.'

My name, is Seifer Almasy, I'm your average guy, short blond hair, nice blue eyes, quite tall, Ah hell, I guess you'd say I'm kind of handsome. I like to think so anyway, some might disagree, or take away from believing that impression because I have such self-confidence in my own appearance. That would be my one failing, the word modesty does not apply to me. I do not see any point in being humble about things I believe in. I know I'm a good looking guy, I know I'm a great soldier…but honestly… I can't survive without that belief, that reassurance coming from somebody else.

I became a student at Balamb Garden when I was young; I was immediately one of the best new comers because of my skill with the gun-blade. Not only that, I became the leader of the Discipline Committee with my two friends, Fujin and Raijin. It gave me a power I enjoyed, people respected me out of fear, they did what I told them to…and I liked that. Power, the world thrives on power and power thrives on people…it's a vicious cycle, and I was a willing partaker in it all from the very beginning of my life.

When I became a student at Blamb Garden, I had one problem, I lacked my own discipline…I liked to do things my way, and I would do what was good for me. In other words, Seifer looked out for Seifer, he looked out for number 1. I guess that is why I never became a SeeD, I was always a squad leader or such, but I never became a proper disciplined SeeD because I'd choose to play the hero and rush out to do things myself. Orders never meant a thing to me when personal glory was a possible achievement.

Don't get me wrong though, I wanted to become a SeeD, hell…whenever a mission was over and I'd come trudging back to Garden, I'd always feel real bad. My stomach would drop when the names were announced and mine was missing yet again. Not to mention how I would feel when I would walk down the corridor and see Headmaster Cid speaking with my instructor…her head hanging forward all sad and distressed. When ever I saw her taking up this pose, I knew it was I that had caused it, he was telling her to take control of me, to try and give me the guidance I needed to become a SeeD. I didn't care what Cid was saying to her…what really mattered to me, was her response, if she was going to sweep me aside, or continue in her feeble expedition to get me to succeed.

Would you believe me if I told you that her opinion was perhaps the only one that ever counted to me? Yeah, I know, I find it hard to believe at times to. Quistis Trepe was my instructor, a girl the same age as me, well slightly younger and already a SeeD. She's truly amazing, joined the Garden at 10, a SeeD by 15, my instructor by 17. How is that for impressive? I'd never openly say it, but yeah, I admire her, I loved the thought that such a thing was achievable. Even more so, I loved to think that such a girl was actually impressed with me. I was one of Quistis's favourites and she actually saved some of her emotions to share with me. Grief, disappointment…all these things that I hid, she felt…it saved me from loosing face I guess.

Of course, I'd never openly let her know that I was mad at my own arrogance and over-confidence and inability to express this anger. What would that do to my own image and self-esteem if I walked up to my instructor and admitted that I was wrong? That I was sorry for letting her down again? Not me, I'm never wrong…well, maybe I am wrong…I know it…but there's no way I'd damage my image by admitting to it. There you have it, mistake number one…I always made mistakes like that, and each one mounted up until the pile would finally topple over and ruin me.

When did things begin to really change for me? Who knows, I've always being, well a bit of a handful. But I'm not a bad guy, I'm not someone you see in a room and hate immediately, I'm not rude or mean to people. Certainly not, I can be quite the charmer, a friend, like the summer before all this happened to me. There was this girl, Rinoa Heartilly, me and her…we had a 'thing' I can't really explain what it was. We weren't in love, I know I wasn't…she just made me smile, like a friend should. I could be myself around her, do things for her…like a big brother I'd guess you say. For that's the part I seemed to play in her life for sometime.

Rinoa certainly liked me, I looked out for her like a big brother should, and I wanted to love her, but couldn't. You know how things are? You think you should be in love with someone, but there's this little niggling feeling at the back of your mind telling you that's not the way to go. I don't know how to explain it…so I opted for being her friend and it seemed like the best decision to make. A good friend I was too…I did a lot for her and her suffering town of Timber. I tried to help her as much as I could, using my presence in the Garden and such. I liked being this figure in her life too, it made me feel like a hero, but I was doing something I wanted to at the same time.

All this came to a head though the night of the SeeD graduation ball, I… I failed again… Damn it! I was so sick of failing. I went out of my way, risked my life to find out some important information concerning the control tower that I thought was needed. I didn't care about the order I was give, who needs such orders when what you're doing could be what was needed to succeed? So that's what I did, I tried to be the hero…tried to outdo everyone else, hoping to impress…and at the same time to squash my life long rival Squall.

Squall Leonhart, that's the name of the guy who was my rival…don't ask me why, we just were. A feeling that was present between us both that said we were to be rivals that was the way the thread of fate had being spun. From the moment we join the Garden as kids, we were always fighting, I'd pick on him, and Squall could never let it go. I remember sometimes Quistis would interfere and pull us apart, and whenever she did this, Squall would mutter something about having to be strong…to see his Sis again. I don't know what he was on about.

I have to admit though, as far as rivals go, we made a good pair. But we thrived on different things, you see, Squall wasn't going to take my taunts or actions because he didn't want to be a coward. Me? I did it for many reasons which evolved over the years. Originally I picked on him because something told me to, something to do with the past in my mind that would always tell me to pick on Squall whenever I saw him. But as I grew up my reasoning changed, we were becoming soldiers, experts with the gunblade and rivals in our field. It got to the point though that all I wanted was the top spot in Quistis Trepe's mind; there was no way I liked sharing the favourite student title with him. I was in my mind, the best student at Balamb; my instructor was going to think that too…everyone was.

But what happened? If I was the best, why didn't I become the SeeD? Well…Squall obeyed orders while I left our squad in his hands…he became a hero, a SeeD. While me? I received a reprimand from Headmaster Cid and Quistis Trepe. Do you know how that made me feel? I bet you have no idea, I thought I had done the right thing, that by going off the way I had, I was aiding the mission. All I had wanted to do was make sure the mission was a success, that they got what they needed and deserved. I wanted Quistis Trepe to be proud of how I lead our squad to such a victory. But instead, she looked upon me with annoyance, and Squall…he got the praise from her that I wanted that I desired.

So Squall Leonhart became a SeeD while I remained just as a high ranked student, leader of the discipline committee…and welling with anger. I just wanted to be a hero, to be top dog in Garden. I knew I had what it took to be that person, yet I never got the attention I deserved…no, the attention I needed. I can admit it now, I needed to be looked upon with respect…without it, I always felt people thought I was worthless. That at some point in time they would toss me aside as a useless human, not worthy of their care…like when I was a kid…just another unwanted orphan.

That night of the Graduation things began to change for me, the wheels of time were moving I guess you'd say. For I saw my friend Rinoa Heartilly there at the ball, she was dancing with Squall…I hate to admit it, but you know how you can just see the future in a split moment? When Rinoa parted with him because she had spotted me in hiding, I saw this flash across my mind telling me…as I saw the same look on Squalls face. That I had just lost Rinoa to him, not that I ever had her, nor did I want her like that. Yet you know what I mean? I guess you don't…but it didn't matter to me, Rinoa was just my friend, but the love she did hold to me had just been split and eventually the greater side of it would be poured into Squall. You want to know what did get to me though that night? Well I'll tell you, after speaking with Rinoa and arranging a meeting for her with headmaster Cid, I spied Quistis following Squall out onto the balcony.

Can you believe it? No matter where I was or what I did, Squall always took away what was mine. Quistis was going out to speak with him, probably to praise him some more. That's what I wanted, I needed to have my instructor come to me that night. I had just faced a harsh reprimand earlier that day, and not a soul had yet said they were sorry, that I shouldn't be so hard on myself. All I needed was to have my instructor come to me and tell me she was sorry, for being so hard on me. She didn't even have to say what I did was brave, she could tell me I had being stupid running off like that, but that she was sorry for being so harsh to me afterwards. That I am a talented young man…that I shouldn't waste that talent by being reckless, that she knows I will succeed one day, that she wants to see me succeed.

I played over those words in my mind, but she never came to me and said them…instead she went to Squall…probably glorifying him like I said, Worshipping him…calling him her favourite student…that she wished Seifer was more like him…not so hot headed and wanton. It always makes me mad thinking back upon that night, I should of being a SeeD…I should have being down their in my graduation uniform dancing, smiling. I could picture it so clearly in my mind like a fresh painting, I would have being a changed man that night. Happy, that usual smugness swept away for a moment…Quistis coming to me and telling me she was proud, I probably would have danced with her too…I would have danced with everyone…but that was not possible…just a fading memory that I wished would come true.

Things began to change more vividly and quickly after that night, Squall the SeeD was assigned his first big mission. A mission that I had set up, to help Rinoa and her small group of revolutionaries know as the Forest Owls bring back order to her country to Galbadia. Yeah, I arranged it, I begged headmaster Cid to listen to her, to let garden do whatever was possible to help them. But despite all I had done, the humiliation I had put myself through begging the man, I was not permitted to take place in any of it, that really got under my collar. But what more could I do except brood over it silently? It wouldn't get me anywhere if I did.

That wasn't the worst of it though, I decided that, with Squall stealing away my limelight once again, it would give me a chance to use my charm and become Quistis's number one again during his absent. Also, need not forget that Squall wasn't her student any more, which meant there was actually only me left in her class that had the skill. I just had to make sure I could get her to forget what I had done previously and let her call me her number one student again, her favourite. Yet when I went looking for Quistis, I couldn't find her anywhere, not in the classroom, the library or the cafeteria. I even managed to sneak my way unnoticed into her dorm room, but she wasn't there. Her bed was made neatly, her triple triad cards piled up and tied with an elastic band upon the side dresser, but no Quistis.

I did find her eventually though, later that morning, she was down in the quad sitting on one of the benches situated under a tree. So naturally, I went down to her, hopped upon the bench beside her and sat across its top, my boots beside her as I leant forward. My plan was to start off by commenting upon Squalls departure from her class now, what a shame, you won't have such a great student etc. I was aiming for sounding sincere so I could draw out something on the lines of 'at least I still have you Seifer. My best student.' I went about it subtly, pretty sure that she knew what I was doing and would just play into my hands to make me happy. She was like that at times, instead of growing depressed or annoyed with my constant talking, she'd give in to what I wanted to hear.

Yet as I babbled I noticed she was, kind of sad. I know it's shocking for you, but I actually do have a heart and know what emotions look like. Quistis Trepe was in a word, sad. She was sort of leaning forward, her chin resting in the palms of her hands as her eyes looked off into the distance. I also noticed one other thing, she wasn't wearing her uniform, and she was dressed in her plain clothes, like how I usually wear my long coat and vest. But her clothing was different obviously; she wore a long kind of skirt and a button up vest. I'd seen her in this gear before when she took us to the training grounds, she looked nice in this outfit, young and not so…commanding, more carefree for she was relaxed in this outfit, her naval showing from her vest in a manner that I thought was cute. . Yeah, I can say things like that too, she did look nice and definitely…cute.

Anyway, enough about what I thought she looked like, as I sat there I decided to take it upon myself to ask her what was wrong, not in a concerned manner of course, for that's just not how I work. I don't like to just ask what's on my mind or make it look like I care, So instead I took my usual approach and was direct in my content.
"What's the matter instructor?" I began in my usual deep tone then smiled slightly, the right edge of my lip tilting "If it's about me, don't worry. I forgive you for yesterday."

Ah my modesty worked its charms for she lifted her head and looked toward me, a hint of a smile playing upon those sad lips of hers and her pale blue eyes showing a shimmer of twinkle "Seifer…what are you doing here?"
Don't take her response wrong, she knew I was there all that time, she as just referring as to why I would use my precious time to find her and speak with her. "I thought you might want to apologise for what you said to me yesterday, so here I am…Waiting."

She rolled her eyes and let out a heavy sigh, I had hit the nail on the head so to speak, for I could see she was going to tell me what was wrong. Success! That word rang in my mind and a silent cheer let up in the back of my brain.

"There's no point in that Seifer, whether I'm sorry or not…it shouldn't matter to you."
"Of course it does! You're my instructor, if I'm not number 1 in your eyes what good am I?" Quistis knew this was what I thrived for, the number 1 position, so saying it out loud to her would not bring about any shock. She had always been aware of this, she just never played upon it often. An instructor shouldn't get to close to her student after all, keep things on a professional level so to speak.

"Not any more…" she whispered these words and I am sure I saw tears in those eyes of hers as she delivered them.

"What?"

"I'm not you're instructor any more Seifer…they took my licence away..." It's amazing how words can hurt a person so much, I could see the grief etching upon Quistis's face with every word she spoke. They even had an affect upon me, I fought back from letting it show of course, but I think my voice kind of gave it away my shock of depression at that idea. Quistis…not my instructor any more? That's absurd!

"Why the hell would they do that?" My words must have given off the emotions I was feeling, because Quistis looked at me oddly. Tilting her head to the side while a finger touched her lips, eyes locked upon my face.

"You really thought I was good?"
"Well..." I stammered, of course I thought she was good, I thought she was great. She was, after all, my instructor; I didn't thrive for her approval or number 1 spot because I thought she was hopeless or worthless.

"Thank you Seifer…Coming from you, it makes me feel…slightly better." Can you believe she said that to me? I'm sure she was just trying to make me blush, but there was no way in hell I was going to let her succeed in that!

"Yeah well…what are you now?"
"A SeeD…that's all…"
Still my superior though, so I can still base my existence as a student of my need to thrive for her approval "A SeeD is still important though." I tried to sound sincere without loosing my usual cool, in fact I think I discovered the perfect way to do that so I told her. "I guess that means you have to listen to me now."
"What?"
"Disciplinary Committee. The only ones who do not have to answer to us are instructors and staff." I loved the thought of power; did I ever mention that before?

Of course, Quistis was not overly thrilled with this idea that I put forward, I think I might have depressed her somewhat more…not my intention. I just didn't want to go on asking her more questions or prying into her feelings, it would confuse her too much…that and she'd probably think I wasn't feeling well.

"So now I have to be your number 1 Seifer?" She was fighting back her sadness, I could see this clearly, but wasn't going to let her know, I figured she needed to believe in this strength right then, I didn't want her to think it was clearly obvious she was suffering. After all, if I could see it easily, that meant that every other person would see it like the sun in the sky, she didn't need to know her grief was that easily exposed.

"Just do the right thing and you'll be fine. No running in the corridors, speeding violations, you know they're the worst. Don't break curfew either, I know where the people go to do that."

Laughter broke from her lips, soft but still laughter all the same "Humour from you Seifer? That is odd…"
"Who's being funny? I'm serious." Maybe I wasn't, but I have a reputation to support, not even my closest friends knew I was capable of causing laughter or even doing so myself.

Well anyway, Quistis and I actually kept on talking for a while; I'm as shocked as you are by that fact. Most of the time we were together, it was instructor and student, me trying to impress her. It was never just normal, human to human conversation, guy talking to girl, Seifer being normal, Quistis not teaching. You get the picture…and it was kind of nice, the only other people I talk to in such a way are Fujin and Raijin. Fujin the girl of few words, and Raijin, the guy of many words, but utter annoying nonsense, they're my posse though, and I like them no matter what their faults might be…and they share the same feelings toward me. My stubbornness, my self confidence…all of that doesn't matter to them.

Anyway, Quistis and I were talking for quite sometime as I said. We talked about little things, nothing major, cards, the Disciplinary committee…cafeteria. At one point she did touch on tender ground when she spoke about my scar…the one Squall gave me after I delivered the one to his face. I never told you that did I? Well quickly then, Squall and I were training and during it, I cut his face and returned my blow by causing a mirror image of his scar upon my own face. Quistis found this interesting for some reason, I suppose she was curious as to what we were doing during the fight to cause such damage. Did we cheat…ok did I cheat, what was going on to make both of us strike one another so violently. I couldn't tell her why, because I myself didn't really know…just…rivalry I suppose.

We continued talking about things like that, time passing slowly between us until the loud-speaker hollered our names. Quistis, and I were both being summoned to Headmaster Cid's office immediately, for something…important. The pair of us though, I always thought how odd that was? I didn't think much of it at the time though, but that's what happened. We were called, we were spoken to, and we were assigned a mission. Quistis and I, a SeeD and a student, Cid felt I had the ability to handle what was being proposed, and Quistis would make sure I didn't go out of line. I told you I was good didn't I? So good that Cid trusted me, a student in a mission for a SeeD when I'm not even one.


That mission was perhaps the real turning point in my life, for we were to go to Timber to aid Squall and the others during the Presidents telecast. There's not too much to say about all that, Quistis and I went there together, we worked together to complete what we were assigned to do. I have to admit, I spent a lot of my time trying to impress her, I guess that need to be her favourite still existed despite her de-ranking. I just, always needed praise…to be viewed in everyone's eyes as a hero. But that day, that title was to be stripped from me forever. Never obtainable again for you see… I was taken by the Sorceress Edea, and entranced by her powers…so much in fact, that I was lead to turn against my friends.

Sorceress Edea, was in fact, my Matron. My Matron you ask? Well yeah, I grew up in an orphanage when I was abandoned as a kid. I forgot most of my memories when I was in the Garden because of the GF, to make a long explanation short, the GF erases our memories. Anyway, Edea gave them back to me, and lo and behold! She raised me, and ironies upon ironies, my dear little rival Squall grew up there with me. We were rivals back then too…alway's competing, or to be more honest, him and me competing putting up with it. Want to know something else? My dear instructor Quistis Trepe was also there! She played the same role she does now…the one I always wanted to be number 1 to.

I should try and explain a bit more about my childhood shouldn't I? I'm not doing this to try and gain sympathy, I just want to tell my story. Anyway, when I was a kid, about 5 I think, my mother was killed, I think it might of being a car accident…or something like that, I can't really remember. My father was left to look after me, but he was a solider for Galbadia and didn't have the time to raise a misfit like me. So what do you do with a kid like me? You get rid of him, push him aside so he's no longer a nuisance to you. My father had me sent off to an orphanage where I was alone, I felt utterly useless. You know how a kids mind works, my father thought I was useless…in the way, so in the orphanage I felt this way as well.

My father didn't want me, which meant, to me, nobody should or would want me. I had to look out for myself in case Matron decided to get rid of me to. My father's decision had basically screwed up my confidence as a child and the only way I could rebuild it, was to act as a superior…to be tough. I did this by picking on the other kids, in particular was a kid named Zell. I used to tease him, call him a chicken, lock him in the cupboard, things like that. No one dared to defy me either, to tell me to stop it or I'd get in trouble. Matron would occasionally and such, but nothing ever happened to tell me what I was doing was wrong…all I ever received was love from Matron.

Anyway, I grew up in the orphanage, and as I said, Squall was there as well. He and I were always rivals, unlike most of the other kids; Squall wouldn't take my taunts, so I was determined to keep at him until he, well bowed down to me. This never happened though…and after we left the orphanage our past carried over to present. Squall and I fighting, Quistis trying to pull us apart…me making fun and picking on Zell…it all carried over. Which also included my love for Matron, I'd do anything for her since she loved me as a kid…since she didn't throw me out like my father…

But Sorceress Edea used me…she manipulated me by using the past and my memories of the love I held for her to make me become her slave. She knew every button to press, promising me praise, love of the whole world…most of all, a chance to defeat Squall and be… number 1. I never realised how vulnerable I was, this need to be noticed had being building up inside of me over the years until, it controlled me. My mind was run by my desires, my heart had no say in the matter, it was simply, hidden beneath everything else, never to be consulted. What controlled me now was promised of glory, memories of the past, love…rivalry…it was all there, rolled up into one and pushing me, using me like a puppet unable to see the light through wooden eyes.

When I was child, Matron used to read us story books before we went to bed. Fairy tales about princess and princes, sorceress and knights, every day she'd bring out a book and we'd all sit down together as she'd read. Then when we'd be ushered off to bed I would have the same dream every night…A dream in which I was a sorceresses knight. A protector, a great person who is given his position because he is strong, powerful and loved. A noble man like the knights in those fairy tales, I could run off a thousand such knights to you, for they are my inspiration in life my essence for being. I had always wanted to be like one of them, you know how the fairy tales go, a lone man becomes to hero to a whole world. Everyone loves him, everyone praises him…he's given all that he could want in life, but most of all…he has pride.

Edea offered this to me, a chance to be proud of what I was doing and to live my childhood dream. Protecting her, the powerful sorceress whom was to rule our world. She wasn't evil I was lead to believe; she was just the path of the future and needed to use force to make that tollway. The future she promised was one that I would also be a major player in if I stayed by her side. Think of it Seifer, she would say, your name will be known by every living person. You will be spoken of in centuries to come as the great man who protected the Sorceress, their ruler. Stories will be written about what you did for your country, statues will be made…Seifer will go down in history.

Seifer Alamsy going down in history…I had never even dreamed of such an event occurring. I thought, maybe I'd be remembered in the Garden. If I was to be killed in battle people might remember me for a while. I always thought I'd make an impression on some people, like Headmaster Cid, Rinoa, Squall and Quistis. I could see Quistis using me as an example in her classes, Squall telling people about his long time rival, Rinoa her friend…Cid, his trouble making, but talented student. I'd live on for some time in their memories, but that was it, just in a small circle of people.

But everyone…everyone would know my name as Sorceress Edea's Knight. If you dangle a piece of candy in front of a child there is no doubt they will take it, take a 100 gil and dangle it before a gamble and he is sure to bite. Take the promise of praise and dangle it before Seifer Almasy, and you will have him hooked in a second. Revenge, greed and anger this is what built up my pride. I can be pieced together by those three emotions, the desire to get revenge upon Squall, and anyone else who had taken away what I wanted. Greed, the thirst for praise, for admiration, and anger for the times I was mistreated.

Confused, vulnerable that was me, I was the perfect target for Sorceress Edea and became her knight. Doing whatever she told me, pleasing her, I was her number one…to her, I was great. If I hadn't being so stubborn though, I could have saved myself before that grave I had stepped into got to deep. I fought Squall in an attempt to protect the sorceress, but he defeated me…and Edea called me weak and useless. I should have taken in her words; listened to Squall…listened to that beating pulp that is my heart. If I had being wise, I could have gotten out of my grave then, scrambled over the muddy edges. Barely, but I'd make it out and would still have a chance.

I didn't try to scramble; I didn't even look up to see how far down I was, to me, that defeat was just a minor setback…glory was still hovering before me. So I stayed by Edea's side, growing more entranced and captured by her with every passing second. She gave me what I needed at times, I was ordered to torture Squall…I got to gloat about my position to him, me, the sorceresses knight! If I wasn't so self indulged I might have realised that others I cared about were hurting at the same time…the kids I grew up with, Selphie…Irvine, Zell the chicken wuss…and of course, instructor Trepe and my once dear friend Rinoa.

If you dived into a pool of money, that's all you would see…every which way you turn, money…gil after gil…people might call you, but all your mind sees and hears is the money. I was in that pool, every way I turned was power, if someone called out my name…I'd see that person, but not hear them…just another obstacle…they were either with me, or against me. Fujin and Raijin were with me, my posse…if they were with me, then that had to mean I was doing the right thing. Friends…they'd follow you into the depths of hell…damn me! I never realised that…to me, I thought they were doing it because they respected me, feared me believed in the sorceresses' cause. Every step I took that lead me deeper into that grave, they were beside me…because…they cared about me not what I was doing…they were with me because they were my friends.

How blind can one man be? Look at me…I am as blind as you can get, so many people willing to fight for you. Yet I could never close my eyes and just listen…re open them to see the destruction I was causing. Leading Galbadia Garden into a battle against my home, Balamb Garden. Proud of what I was doing, leading a war against people I called friends…destroying a place I called home. What for? I do not know…pride…no, I was burying that with my moves…success…no…revenge. Foolish revenge was all I was seeking.

If I stopped to think about what I was doing, things would most likely, no, definitely be different. If I had thought about all the people I was hurting, sending out SeeD's against SeeDs, students against students in a sense war. Fighting for one thing…my pride and desires. Yeah sure, I was following the orders of Sorceress Edea, but they, the students and SeeDs, were following my orders. I could have said no, I could have stood firm and changed the plan lead Galbadia away. These people were following me…Seifer Almasy, what I said…they would do. I had always thrived for this sort of power, now, it was controlling me, I had no authority over it and it was ruling me as I made these stupid decisions.

Its odd how I felt at that time, watching people under my orders fighting and trying to destroy the place that only a short time ago I had actually loved. I can say it to myself; I did love Balamb Garden and everything it stood for. When I think about it now, I even loved those people, the ones I'd chase after because of some silly violation of discipline, those who looked up to me, the other students…the instructors. If I'd stopped and thought about it for more then a second I would have realised I was trying to destroy what all those people cared for. I would have seen clearly and ceased my attack, pulled out while there was still a chance…but I didn't.

A person driven on by their desires does not have the time or patience to think about anyone else but himself. All that matters to them is what they want, their own happiness, even if it meant bloodshed, that's what you're willing to go through to get what you want. That's me, guilty as charged, a man full of remorse for the actions and path he chose. I didn't think, I didn't care…well I did care, but only for myself, for glory, for success…when I saw the blood being spilt it was just another sign of my revenge being achieved.

I was given so many opportunities to jump ship, Sorceress Edea would even abuse me at times, calling me a failure, useless in my task. But those words drove me on, rather then deferring me from her side; it forged me to her stronger then concrete. Nothing could break me from her and I regret that fact deeply. But I guess, what truly sealed my fate came when I was put up against Squall once more.

Another battle was ensuring, myself against Squall, Riona and Quistis. During that battle I asked Quistis if I was still her favourite…she said the words that actually hurt…'not any more'. I deciphered her words the best I could, in my mind, that meant…I had being her favourite at one point…but not any more, I had destroyed that with my actions. What did I have left now then? Nothing but what I had become. When I looked out across the blue skies all I saw was red, the fury that festered within my mind and that of the blood I had spilt.

Not any more…Not any more…do you know how many times those words rang through my head? Every second of every day…I constantly thought about Quistis's words, even when I lost control over my being, those words were always present. You see, after that fight, I lost possession of my body. I couldn't quite control it, my mind was telling me what I had to do, and what I had to do was pave the way for Sorceress Ultimecia.

Any chance of turning back was lost at the end of that battle, why? Well something happened, I was defeated, but a voice whispered in my ears…telling me what I had to do. A voice that took control of me, hypnotised me to the point that I realised…there was no turning back for me. I had to play this through to the end. No turning back for me now…even if it meant my own death…I had to do this. Not for honour or pride, but because I had nothing left. There was no one I could turn to and say I was sorry…I had created this monster, and I had to follow through to the end…no matter what regrets I held for this.

Have you ever been in so much trouble that you know there's no way out? So the only way to make sure you get through, is to just keep on doing what you've been doing. Maybe yes, maybe no…but for me, I figured the only way to get through this was to remove everyone in my way, to be a success even though it was wrong. At least, that way, I might have a lot of guilt, but I'd be a success…and perhaps every other person in existence would be manipulated the same way I was into believing Ultimecia was right…her rule was what we needed.

My stomach churns whenever I think back to what I did, what I tired to do, I was a monster…it makes me sick when I recall what I did to people I silently cared for. The amount of guilt that I was wallowing in, hoping for a chance for absolution but knowing I did not deserve it. I was a monster…I repulsed myself…Fujin and Raijin…my posse, my friends…they deserted me in my final moment. A slap in the face that I should have listened to, simply agreed with their words and stepped aside, bowing down to my rival and the ones I cared for.

Pride, damn pride…it got in the way once again. Finish what you started Seifer, finish what you began and you will be Number 1! If I could hammer out those words I would…but they are a part as me, flowing through my veins as thickly as blood. Learn some control and maybe I could make it, But those words would come into my mind every time I would consider leaving, maybe the only way to get out of it, would be my own death.

I may be a fool but I'm not stupid…well, maybe I am, I don't know. Perhaps that's why I continued to try and beat Squall and the others. Not for my glory, but to be defeated completely, I wouldn't have to worry about making amends or having to continue serving Ultimecia if I was killed. Of course, I wasn't going to go down easily, you could bet I'd put up the best fight I possessed within me. A kind of fight that in days gone by people would look back upon and say things about me. 'At least he went down fighting…" "Seifer sure did put up the best fight ever…" 'No wonder he was always one of my favourites…' Yeah, that's how I want to be remembered…not for what I did, but for how I did it.

Ability, man's inability to accept the possibility of failure is my greatest flaw, even when it was the one thing I was thriving for. To go down in battle, I didn't want to openly accept that idea of me being a failure…so when the time came that I was still able to survive the battle with Squall and the others…I kept going. I couldn't just call it defeat, not me…I took Rinoa into my possession and tried to continue in my task to complete the cycle of my destruction.

What kind of monster am I? I took someone who was my friend and was willing to sacrifice her to the sorceress…for glory? No…there's no real glory in what I was trying to do…insanity…greed, that's more like it. I don't know what I thought I was achieving doing that to Rinoa, in that one moment of time, I'm sure I must of being momentarily insane. Not thinking about anything, the Seifer everyone knew was gone…dead, engulfed in a mountain of power and shame. I know you might not believe me, but I wasn't in control of my body at that point in time…my mind screamed out to wake up, to realise what I was doing. But the rest of me, wouldn't listen, it was deaf to all sounds but that of the Sorceresses pull.

The aftermath of such an event can wreck torture upon a person's soul. When I had completed my task of aberration I was left to rot in my own guilt. Thrown upon the floor a failure while Squall and his companions were to fix all I had done wrong. To bring to an end the evil I had give life to. As I lay there though, thinking, watching, rays of sunlight danced upon my face, spreading like that of doorway as it grew upon my skin. I saw it before my eyes like a butterfly amongst a grey storm, a glimmer of hope and peace. The clouds that had formed over my mind swept away as I lay there staring at that golden beam.

I thought I had died, that the light before me was whatever power resides above coming to seek me out. Maybe to reprimand me for all I had done, to give me a second chance to make everything right…I don't know. But as I lay there…my mind felt so at ease, every muscle in my body was given a chance to breathe. The tension the tightness in my chest, it was all being melted away as I lay there.

Boots, the distinctive sound of heavy boots striking ground filled my ears, I turned my neck painfully, eyes slightly blurred as they looked at the two approaching figures. The relief I felt when I recognised these two forms, it was like seeing an oasis in a desert…but better. Knowing that you had someone there for you, two people who had come back…because they cared about you…I was their friend…their posse, Fujin and Raijin.

I managed a weak smile as I rolled onto my back and tried to croak out a greeting of some sorts, but my throat was parched and voicing my feelings was impossible, so I reached out…my hand grabbed by another while my wrists was also clasped upon.

"Seifer…you right?"

"You're…back?" Fujin spoke, yeah she spoke again, a rarity for her, but I needed it right then, if she had yelled in her usual manner it would have hurt my ears.

"Seifer?" Distress, evident in their voices…I could detect it there as clear as daylight, it made me feel good…but awful at the same time.

"I'm…sorry…" I managed, my words sounding like they were being ran over sand paper, sitting slowly upright, my head throbbing painfully as I clasped a hand to my temple.

"No need…" Fujin spoke again "It's over now…right?"
"Right…I'm back…" I felt Raijins hand let go of my wrist and he quickly slipped behind me, his hands pushing underneath my arms and jerking me to my feet.

"Alright! Let's get out of here!"
"Slowly…" I mumbled

"He's weak." Fujin spoke again and watched as I stumbled forward, Raijin's hands still under my arms but their grip lose so as to allow me to test my ability to stand.

"It doesn't matter…let's…let's go home…" I finished with a smile "it's over…I'm…back."

That was it for me, Seifer Almasy had broken away from the hold that the sorceress had upon him, I wasn't alone either. After all I had done, I still had my friends, willing to stay by my side despite the darkness that I saw on the horizon. What would happen to me now? I thought this one question a lot as we made our way back to Balamb, I would surely be kicked out and banned from the Garden…would anyone accept me into their lives?

Why would any one want to do that? After all I had did to our world…I was a spot of dirt that should be swept under the carpet and forgotten about. Worthless…that was how I felt when we returned to Balamb. What were we going to do? Who knows, but at least I wasn't alone, there was the three of us together, my posse, yeah…we'd be all right.

I knew this for certain when we went down to the pier, Raijin's favourite fishing spot and set up our rods. Things were peaceful in Balamb, and even more so out in the pier, so that is where we went, the three of us. I set up my rod, turned the empty bait bucket upside down and set my self upon it. Watching, thinking, waiting…where would we go now? Did the others survive? Squall…did he do it, Rinoa…was she all right? Irvine, Selphie…Zell…Quistis, Instructor…I wonder if there would ever be any hope of them forgiving me? I don't suppose they'd want to after all I had put them through.

My mind was a black hole, an endless galaxy of thoughts and fears…and everyone I tried to ponder over as we fished upon the pier that afternoon, the sun shining, the wind blowing softly…beautiful…I don't say that word much, but that day deserved it. I was free, I was in control of whom I was once again, and I was with my friends. The only thing to dampen my mood was the fact that my rod was not getting a single bite. Raijin, he caught a fish that day, a big one too, I realised at that moment that I was back to normal completely.

Raijin caught that fish and was jumping around and whopping with joy, and I in turn welled with anger tossing my own rod down upon the pier, Fujin in response, she kicked Raijin into the water…and…I laughed. I threw my head back and laughter erupted from my throat, a sound I hadn't heard for so long…a sound that told me, I was going to be all right. Yeah, I'd make it…I knew I would too when I saw the Garden flying over head. Balamb Garden, the flowing stream of cherry blossoms.

I smiled; there was my garden, Balamb garden in one piece returning to its home base. My heart was pounding as I stood there looking up at it smiling, he'd done it…Squall…he'd done it. I knew he would…he always had it in him. that's why we were rivals…because we both had it in ourselves…he was just the one to use it rightfully.

"Well done…" I whispered "And thank you…"

They were bound to be celebrating, all of them would be…they had every right to do such a thing as well. I wonder what happened…they defeated Ultimecia I was certain of that. But what else happened there? Rinoa…was she all right? Squall…were he and Rinoa…going to be ok? No, I knew the answer to that question…I saw it in their eyes the night of the dance…they'll be fine. I wonder how everyone else was doing? Matron…maybe she'd forgive me…perhaps I'd be given a chance to explain it all. What I could remember clearly that was. Tonight was their night though, they deserved to celebrate, and they'd earned it no doubt. Me, I'm sure they could live without seeing my face, speaking my name…hearing my voice. But I couldn't, I had to see them all, speak to them…let them say what needed to be said, I'm not a coward, I face the music when the time comes.

Face the music I did, I waited a day or so before I decided the time was right, I was sure by now my name had popped up in enough conversations. Where was Seifer? What happened to him? Do you think he's all right? I'm sure these people deserved to know, an explanation, anything. If they wanted to yell and scowled me, then so be it, I was going to let them all have their chance and I was not going to hide from their words with excuses.

Returning to Balamb alone was kind of hard, but it was the way I had to do it. Rajin and Fujin had wanted to come, but this was something I needed to do by myself. Their support would have being great, but there are times when you don't deserve that support. That day was one such occasion. I entered Balamb as I always had, my head not held high, nor held low. I felt like a snake as I walked silently down the footpaths. Eyes staring at me, questioning my presence, my intent, I nodded to some people while I tried to decipher their looks. I couldn't quite do this though; most were just to stunned at the fact that I was there…alive.

Whispering comments, flighty remarks, I took them all in as I climbed the stairs and entered the lift, pressing the button that would take me to my judge and jury. Headmaster Cid had no idea I was coming, but I'm sure he wouldn't turn me away, not straight away that was. So I stood alone in the lift watching the buttons light up until I hit my desired floor. Then with a heavy heart and slumped shoulders, I stepped off and made my way toward his office doors.

Time ticks by in your mind when you're stalling, I could hear every second in the back of my head as I stood there contemplating my next move. Should I knock, should I just walk in? So many possible options, so I opted for the best one. I knocked lightly, then slowly slinked in, slipping in almost soundlessly. My eyes fixed on Headmaster Cid as I pushed the door closed behind me.

Cid's face was filled with an expression I could not read into, it was not happy, it was not mad, it was not confused…I have no idea what it was. But it made me feel uncomfortable as I bowed my head and stepped forward.

"Headmaster…" I began and felt a shiver run up my spine "I've come to…turn myself in…I'm not going to run away…"

"Seifer Alamsy…"
"I'm sorry sir…" I blurted out and looked at his face directly "I'm sorry for all I did…" I felt tears pricking the corners of my eyes "I…I didn't know what I was doing…but its my fault…my responsibility…"

"It's good to see you are still alive…Squall and the others thought you might not of made It." He folded his arms on the desk before him, that same look I did not understand upon his face.

"I didn't deserve to sir…I'm sorry sir…"

"My wife…" Cid began again, slowly rising from his chair, unfolding his hands to grip the edge of the wood table "Told me what happened to you…Sorceress Ultimecia possessed you?"
"That's an excuse Sir…I take full responsibility."

He sighed "Squall also told me that she used Rinoa to order you as her slave. Enchanted you with her magic no doubt…it seems a lot happened that was beyond our control."

I shook my head, the tears fresh in my eyes "They're all excuses Sir. Nothing can explain what I did, I attacked the garden…I caused bloodshed…I, I turned against everyone."

"This is a change for you Seifer."

"Yes Sir." I frowned "I came here for my punishment, to be officially dismissed from Balamb like I deserve. No body wants a traitor as a student, let alone a SeeD…"

Cid was by now slowly stepping around from behind his desk "This is how it had to be Seifer, if it weren't you, Ultimecia would have used someone else. She used my wife, your Matron, and we forgave her."

I was growing mad at his words, I was supposed to be given a reprimand, damn him, didn't he realised all I had done? "Sir, I tried to kill innocent people, Rinoa, Squall, everyone…How can you be so calm about what I did? You should be kicking me out!"
"Seifer, I do not condone what you did, nor will I ever praise you for it. But what can I do? What is it that you want me to do?"

I shook my head, I did not understand what he was trying to say "Sir, what I did was wrong, awfully wrong. Shouldn't you be throwing me out? Sending me away…anything? I should be punished…outcasted…even put to prison for my actions."
"What good will that do Seifer?" slowly he turned his back to me and looked out the window "You were under sorceress Ultimecias control. You were lead on by your own desires and rivalries until she was able to engulf you as her own. My wife had the same thing happen to her Seifer, Rinoa…the sorceress took possession of her body and freed Adele, letting way for the Luna Moon. A stream of danger monsters entering the earth and trying to destroy Esthar."
"What are you getting at?" I asked dismally.

"Ultimecia used a lot of innocent people to make way for her terror. You she used extensively because you had a weakness, a human flaw… Seifer…" his body began to turn again and his eyes focused upon mine "Do you want to leave the Garden?"
"Well…" I thought about his words, of course I didn't want to leave, I loved it here…my home, but who would want me here? "No…but…"
"Then, I suggest you go speak with your instructor…"
"My instructor?"
"Yes, Ms Trepe, she might be a bit mad at you, but I'm sure if you explain things to her, why you've missed class for the past two days. She might go easy on you."
"Quistis?"

"Yes, she got her licence back and returned to teaching immediately…she really does love it." he was nodding "She truly is one of the best."
I found myself smiling, no beaming is more the word "You mean it Sir? I can stay?"
"Yes, Fujin and Raijin may return as well. But I think we'll let things settle down before you return to your duties on the disciplinary committee. Normality will slowly return…I am sure of it."

I was near ecstatic then, I had to control myself from running forward and hugging the man, but I couldn't believe it…I… I was being pardoned for what I had done. These people, they saw through what I had done and got to the core of the cause. I had committed crimes, but they were not all wilfully committed, I think these people saw more in me then I myself. But that didn't matter, what did matter to me was that I had being allowed to remain in Garden.

It was hard to maintain my usual facade as I left Cid's office and boarded the lift once more, a grin was trying to present itself upon my lips and every step I took seemed to bounce with excitement. I know people were looking at me strangely when I stepped of the lift and began to run, jogging down the aisle toward the classroom where I knew Quistis would be. She would be in the middle of class. But I didn't care, right now I was on some kind of a high and as I burst through the doors, I think it showed.

The classroom went into a hush when they saw who it was, but I didn't look at any one of them, my eyes remained firm upon Quistis as she looked at me. Her eyes narrowing as she folded her arms, an annoyed look upon her face that made my heart drop deep into my stomach. I swallowed and waited for her to speak.

"Seifer Almasy…." Her tone was not promising and I bowed my head, my hands going behind my back. The pause in her words was nearly too much to bare, what was she thinking? All the things I had done must of being racing through her mind, hated…who knows what else. I waited though, just to hear her speak once more, and finally she did.

"If you're going to be late Seifer, try to not make such an entrance…"

I jerked my head upright and saw something I did not think I would see upon her face, a smile…a damn genuine smile directed at me! I fought back my happiness and lifted my hand to my forehead and saluted her.

"Sorry instructor…"

"Sit down…I'll talk to you after class."

That was all she said to me then, I nodded and quickly made my way to my seat in the back, set myself down…the relief I was feeling spreading across my body like melted gold, touching and entering every pore as I watched Quistis. Listening to her words, my mind just a mess of thoughts, the things I had thought she would say to me, the rejection I was certain I would receive…but I had not received any of this from her. Sure, the other students were looking at me funny and whispering things about me, but as long as I was were I wanted to be, it didn't matter to me in the slightest.

Never ask me to tell you a thing that was taught during that lesson, because I didn't take in a single word. I just sat there, staring a Quistis thinking, about how lucky I was…lucky that there were people like her and Cid in this world. After all I had done, the fights that I had entered up against Quistis with a kill or be killed motto, she was smiling at me… she was my instructor again and had buried what I had done. Pushed a rock so heavy over it all that I was safe from accusations…the accusations that I felt I deserved.

They were never to come either as more days went by, I slipped back into the Garden, my dorm, my training my disciplinary committee. I found those who I had hurt and apologised to each and every one of them. I was willing to humiliate myself for their forgiveness, but not one of them made me do it…I don't now why, but I'm glad they're like that. Yeah, they're definitely the best bunch of people a guy could ever have the pleasure of knowing…I was lucky…very lucky.

Don't think my story ends there though, I've got one more event to tell you, it's not much, but it meant a lot to me. It occurred after I had being back at the garden for sometime. Anyway, class had just ended and as I was leaving Quistis called me to the front, I went to her and she spoke to me for a while. Just trifle little things that had no meaning to them, but finally she got to the point and asked me if I would meet her later that night at the secret Spot. Yeah, the secret spot, the place 'couples' meet after curfew. I had being there many times before, but that was because I was busting those curfew breakers. Anyway, Quistis asked me to meet her there, and there was no way I would turn her down.

I went to that spot at the time we had arranged and waited for her by the rail, I was alone that night, I guess people saw me and fled fearing a ticket. But I waited anyway until finally Quistis arrived. I had no idea why she had asked me there, but she was there and so was I, I turned around when I heard her approach and leaned upon the rail. I'm going to say this right now, because I've never admitted it before, but that night I really saw Quistis. I saw her and realised just how beautiful she actually was, I suppose I've always known, I've just never admitted it to myself so to speak.

Anyway's I stood there and nodded a hello and waited for her to approach, she did so slowly and stood beside me.

"It's a beautiful night isn't it Seifer?" she spoke finally and I nodded.

"I guess so…"
"You guess?"
"Yeah…"

"That doesn't surprise me as an answer from you."
I smiled as I looked out at the stars and realised she was staring at me "What?"
"I don't think I've ever seen you smiling…well, an honest smile anyway."
I frowned and ran a hand across the top of my head, fingers running through my hair "No I suppose not…"

"Seifer…" she began and I looked at her; my blue eyes locked upon hers "Can I ask you something…? About…what happened?"
"Yeah…" Of course she could, she had every right to ask me whatever she wanted to about that time.

"I'm just curious Seifer…that time when we fought at Galbadia garden…you asked if you were still my favourite student…why?"

"Huh?" She remembered that? Odd…I always remembered that one time…those words she spoke, "Well…I just wanted to know…"
"Was it actually important to you Seifer?"
"Well…yeah…I wanted to be the best, so if I was your favourite…"
"Oh…" she sounded oddly disappointed but that passed quickly as she spoke again "Tell me Seifer, if you had the chance to do every thing all over again. Would you change it?"

"That depends…"
"Depends? On what?"

I grinned "Can I be your favourite student again? Number 1 in the Trepes heart?"
She smiled and touched her chin thoughtfully "I think that can be arranged…"

"Then yeah, I would do it all again…because, if I'd end up here again, this night, with you, number 1 like I always wanted. Not to mention, Peace…then it would be worth it…I'd go through it all again to get here."

"You'd gladly put yourself through so much pain again? You'd actually willingly go into the unknown? Where you could come out hated or worse?"
"Yeah…" I was nodding then, looking out across the clear blue sky of night, thinking of all I had been through, the suffering I had caused, But without it all…where would we be? Who knows…maybe we would have lost to Ultimecia…so I guess what I did…had to be done.

"Just make sure you don't let me down Seifer. I have a lot of faith in you becoming a SeeD…eventually." She added that last word with a mock smile, and I knew she was referring to the SeeD trial that had…kind of started all this.

"Will do instructor. I'm going to try and right everything wrong I've done. Even though we know that's my charm."

"Now that's the Seifer I remember."

Quistis was right, that night, the old Seifer was slowly returning, sure I still had my guilt, and because of that I would never do anything stupid again. I wouldn't be rash or over confidant, but I'd still try to be the best. I survived a life-changing event, and I think you could say, I came out a better man.

"The only problem is you think too much now Seifer…"

I shrugged and looked at her "I thought you'd like the fact I wasn't so irrational any more."

"I don't know…but you do realise you have to become a SeeD soon!" she threw this in to change the subject and I was kind of glad, I don't like having to get to personal with people, not yet any how. Maybe soon I'd change, I'd open up bit by bit and allow myself to get emotionally invovled with others.

"Don't worry Quisty, I'll be a SeeD in no time. I promise you, I'll be the best student you ever had." I didn't realise it till then, but I had just called her Quisty…I hadn't said that name since, well since I was in the orphanage when I was younger. I really was changing, slowly…but still changing. I kind of liked this too, it made me feel…different, I don't know how to explain it, but I must say, my life was slowly turning around and I was glad for it.

"Quisty…so you do remember?"
"Of course."

Quistis Trepe was smiling at me then, and I could tell she was happy, she didn't hold any hatred or resentment toward me, not a thing in that vicinity. It was like; all I had done during the time of the sorceress had being a dream. Slowly and little my little it was fading from my mind as things returned to normal…or close to normal. I was nicer…people liked me, not just out of respect, but they actually liked who I was, they way I acted the way I talked.

"Maybe this was all meant to happen. Ultimecia…she changed everyone, Squall, Rinoa, Selphie…Zell Irvine...myself…and of course, you."

"Strange how things turn out isn't it?"
"Very."

I turned so as to face Quistis properly "I guess some one spun our threads so they would end up this way. A life that began smoothly then crossed and became a twisted tangle in the middle that would eventually straighten out once again. Our lives are always going to be knotted together somehow."

"Does that bother you?"

Don't ask me why I did this, but I couldn't help it, I reached out and put my arm across her shoulder and stood beside her gazing out across the night sky. It was a move just of mute affection that Quistis understood; I was putting peace between us all and she was glad I was. That we were all standing at the beginning together again with a chance to make sure we don't do anything wrong…a chance for me to make sure I don't stuff up due to my pride.

"I'm kind of glad Quistis…I've being given a second chance to fix up everything I did wrong at some point in my life." I looked at her, "You all had a chance to get rid of me, but you didn't. I owe you all big time for that one Quisty, and I promise…I'm gonna make you happy…all of you. I'm going to make sure you never regret a thing you did in your lives. Especially where I am concerned." So I guess right then, that cardboard cut out was slowly removed from hanging around my neck…no longer just known as the bad guy. Maybe still a bad guy in part…but not fully deserving of that title.

What happened next you ask? Well you decided and tell me, because that's the end of my story. That's what I did, that's how it turned out. I know you might think of me still as a bad guy, but I'm not really…I did what I did and things turned out great in the end. Love, courage, friendship, it all comes together to make the perfect ending for everyone once things are over. My future is before me now, and what it will present me with, I have no idea. But here's to hoping it turns out good for me, for us all, I was given a second chance…and I'm not going to let my pride, or anything like that get in the way.

But now, when Quistis Trepe asks me once again, was it worth it was everything did worth it? I kept my arm across her shoulder and looked toward the future and repeated the same answer I had always hoped I'd be able to say "Yeah, it was worth it…and I'd do it all again in a second, if it gets me where I am today…tonight. Right here…with you."

"Number 1?"
"Number 1…Number 2…not even rated…it doesn't matter any more. All that matters…is that I'm here."