Here and Now
In a small building in the heart of Deling City, there is a little dank room with two beds and a mattress. There are four pillows. The white sheets are fastidiously washed every Monday morning by a darkskinned man in a little sink in the bathroom that fits into a little cupboard there. There is a shower in that bathroom. It ran hot water sometime back when Sorceress Adel reigned in Esthar.

The three inhabitants of this room get money from killing creatures outside the city limits, and selling the pieces to weaponsdealers who need them. They only eat when they can sell. Sometimes they don't find anything that can be sold for more than what they owe for the rent. When that happens? There's a woman on the first floor who gives the paleskinned one some sandwiches because the poor lass had barely any skin on her bones, let alone meat. These sandwiches are given to the one who washes the sheets, and the goldenskinned one who lies on his bed and dreams of days when he waved his sword on the street outside and when he watched knights on television screens fighting dragons breathing fire and twirling in their armour that shone like lakes in snowbound mountains and had blades that could cut beyond pain and hurt and loneliness and drew people to you to love you to hate you to bring you glory and Matron, can I be a knight when I grow up?

She watches him. She loves him. If drops of her blood could be given for his glory and his smile, she'd slit her wrists.

And he watches them both. He is pained to see that there are no longer smiles in his sister's eye, and that her hands now tremble when she thinks nobody is watching. And his brother has a glazed look in his eye that speaks of someone not quite there.

The room was so lonely without Raijin there. As annoying as he was, he filled the room with his bright chatter and gave her something to kick at. He was out looking for Bite Bugs; she was stuck in this little hell-hole with nothing to do but shower, and Hyne knew she'd showered her skin off already this morning with the lukewarm shit that poured through the nozzle.

And he was lying next to her, on the bed beside hers, cleaning Hyperion, trenchcoat on the floor, dreaming as he did it. From the time he had come back, he had deteriorated to the point where Fujin wanted to take his shoulders and shake him until his dreams came out his ears.

There was a broken clock on the wall. It read two in the morning. It was about seven hours early.

And Fujin was so entirely tired of doing nothing.

She could not sleep, however, not with him awake and listening in the room; her dreams would invariably turn into him, eyes open like old times, and even if she merely shut her eyes she could see him whispering to her in the quiet of an old dorm room...

A slim white finger was placed over her right eyelid to stop it from closing. So tired... so angry... so lost... so lethargically angry...

"Somethin' wrong with your eye, Fuu?" His golden voice was so... non-committal. She was surprised he'd noticed.

Silence. She could not answer.


He eventually left his precious blade and bent over the bed, hand moving towards her, mouth stuck in an irritated line - "Fujin - "

The hand, she could practically feel the callouses against her back, and all senses were fired up once more... and she realized that this was the only time when she felt real, she had to do something quickly before she started fading away in the waking hours of her consciousness.

Seifer stopped when he saw the quick trembling of her body, lips parting and brows furrowed in confusion -

Hands gripped his shoulders and the room around Fujin was a whirlwind as both their instincts struggled against eachother, wrestling until Fujin took advantage because of surprise and pinned him down onto the bed. Too surprised to struggle, he stared again, jade-green gaze smouldering. The reality of his body under hers, hearing his heartbeat against her own, his soft and steady whilst hers fluttered like a bird caught in a cage.

His face was so much crueler in the waking.

Fujin dipped her head so that her long, soft bangs fell across his forehead and merely stared at him for a while; he'd stopped struggling and perhaps something in her eye had instructed him to do so. His face was impassive, except for a slight quirk of his soft eyebrows; she trembled over him, as Fujin suddenly knew that this was somewhere where she was not supposed to be. Had Seifer felt like this, faced with Deling, faced with Edea? Gone too far to go back?

"What are you doing, Fujin?" It was a whisper and silky-smooth in his coldly amused tone.

Didn't he know? Was he taunting her? What had she done?

Clumsily - so clumsily - she began to advance, until with a fragile whimper, she pressed her lips to his.

And she felt him recoil but she kept kissing, steadfastly brushing her lips against his because she knew it would be the last time, and he tasted like aniseed and smelt like polish, and she felt like drowning.

And suddenly, he was kissing her back, altogether too hungrily, lips swallowing hers and she'd lost her control. Harder and harder he kissed, pulling her down to him, and her eye closed as she pressed her forehead to his.

And then, blinding pain as he bit down on her lip, gnawing it open as the hot, coppery taste of it filled her mouth. Dizzy and confused, she tried to pull her head back - and then everything went black for a moment as she flew from the bed to land with a crack against the side of his. She did not cry out in pain; that was not her way. So roughly, he had thrown her.

Her blood was on his lips as he stood up and over her, looking down at her, still so impassive. Seifer's eyes gleamed like jewels. "Finally? You?" he said softly. "Maybe we've been cooped up in here too long. Maybe I underestimated you." He paused.

"It's not for us, Fujin. Maybe you'll understand that one day. And you'll thank me."

"Love, you," she whispered, as if it was a saving mantra, a portal so that hell might swallow her deeper. Fujin felt like she was ten again.

"Yes, you do," he agreed.

Seifer got down on his haunches and gently wiped away the blood from the deep cut in her lip, before dashing her own away from his. "And it'll scar, Fujin," he said calmly. "Remember that. That's what my love does to you."

"Fuck you," she whispered again, so softly.

And he smiled. "There's no glory in lovin' me anymore, Fuu. That's my good girl."

And Seifer walked out the door.

She watches him. She loves him. She hates him. And she loves him all the more.

And he watches them both. And he wonders where Fujin's words have gone, and where Seifer's dreams have gone, and where the Posse has gone.

His brother and sister have a glazed look in their eyes that speak of someone not quite there.