Seifer kills a baby and saves the world. This is, of course, only appropriate.
See, this was exactly why people shouldn’t muck about with time. It wasn’t even that it was really all that confusing. It was that it just gave you that many more opportunities to do something stupid.
And evil. Don’t forget evil.
Seifer stared at what he assumed was a cradle. A strange one perhaps. The frame was actually sort of translucent, with this ailing shade of rose glowing out from it, flickering against him and all the walls and the floor in a milky, fluid way that was both unsettling and unnatural.
But the thing was boxy, and high off the ground, and had bars like a prison going all the way round. ...Apparently the more things changed the more they stayed the same. He’d always thought whoever had invented the cradle hadn’t really liked babies all that much.
He decided, after staring at it some more, that he was such a wuss.
Then, rolling his eyes at himself, he grit his teeth and marched forward.
He felt like the soft room was tightening around him with every step. He had always been a little claustrophobic. Well not claustrophobic, just.. he needed his space. This room felt like it was ready to spit him out. The image got a bit too vivid, the pink watery walls far too easily morphed by the imagination into a gigantic slavering mouth.
He rolled his shoulders as though his shirt didn't fit right, and came to a stop. He angled his head carefully, from a step away, to get a covert glimpse, as though he were afraid the infant would be ready for him.
The baby was a baby. He didn’t know why he’d expected something else.
It wasn’t even a particularly impressive baby. But then there was really no such thing as an impressive or unimpressive newborn. All of them, as he understood it, had a squishy little face, and the vague look of something that had just plopped out of someone.
This particular newborn was pink, slightly less so than the rest of the room, but pink nonetheless, and blinking sleepily with… green? eyes. He wasn’t sure.
If there wasn’t proof Seifer was a terrible person so far in his short life, he was pretty sure that the idea flickering about in his mind right now, the one that had brought him so abruptly to this room not moments ago, would send him straight to hell.
And he didn’t believe in hell, so that was saying a bit.
He stepped closer, and the infant’s gaze went to him.
Fuck, this wasn’t right.
Why didn’t he think about this, first? Why couldn’t he have gone to when she was older? Picked on somebody his own size? Like everyone his whole life had been telling him to. If he was gonna save the universe, he’d really rather do it in the least cowardly and anticlimactic manner possible. He was pretty sure that on the scales of cowardly and anticlimactic, throttling a baby ranked right up there.
Well, his mind informed him reasonably, there's no way you'd be able to take her by the time she’s your size.
Painfully ironic just seemed to be the sort of compound adjective fate liked to bat his way.
He reached down into the cradle, slowly, and the baby watched his black gloved hand. He knit his brows and held out a finger.
For some reason he expected the little beast to bite it. Murderous at a day old, just for sake of foreshadowing. Or.. past.. shadowing.
..Okay, maybe time travel was a little confusing.
Instead, the baby grabbed for it with tiny fingers and little hesitation, the pathetic strength of a newborn grasping for anything strong, anything stable.
And that was just cruel. A day old, she was already a manipulative bitch. He would have preferred murderous.
He didn’t pull his finger away.
“You know,” he told her, feeling perfectly justified in venting at a newborn, “You’re gonna grow up to be just about the dumbest person I ever met. And I’ve met some mind-numbingly stupid people. How could you ever think that this would be a good thing?” He ignored the fact that he had honestly thought the same thing there for a while. “You can’t even protect yourself anymore here, how are you supposed to keep control of everyone else? Some fuck like me is just gonna shank you at your most vulnerable. Everyone’s gonna get shanked! It’s fucking chaos! People won’t know how to deal with this!”
I just said fuck in front of a baby. No not in front of, at a baby. Twice. Hell will be invented, just so there’s some place for me to go.
“You didn’t make anyone immortal, least of all yourself! I told you!” He had, in fact, suggested it, when her theory was first espoused to him, but she’d said something very scientific sounding and changed his mind. Funny, he didn't remember at all now what it was. “It was obvious to me and I don’t even have seventeen degrees in Space-Time Engineering from the University of The Really Fucking Distant Future! You’re just insane! Or you’re gonna be, or… whatever …I’m.. yelling about sanity at a fucking baby…” he trailed off, leaning on the crib rail and rubbing his face.
The baby didn’t seem to take offense, staring up at him, oblivious, still holding his finger.
He laughed. In that way you hear people laugh when they discover their arm’s off.
The thought briefly wandered through his mind that Ultimecia’s ma and pop were the most irresponsible guardians ever. He’d been in here contemplating infanticide for what, five minutes now? Where the hell were they? He glanced out the door and down the long empty opulent hall nervously. Nothing. No servants. Not even a ghost to give the strangely gothic place a little more atmosphere.
This wasn’t gonna work. Even if he could work up the balls to do it, to stare in that baby’s big dumb eyes and crush the life out of it, it wouldn’t fucking work. If he did it he’d never be able to come here in the first place, because she would never cause Time Compression cause she was a dead baby. Paradox. He shouldn’t be able to do it. It would be physically impossible. Something would have to stop him.
And even if he could, he wouldn’t even be saving himself, he’d be saving some other Seifer, a Seifer who clearly didn’t deserve it like he did, and never would. Other Seifer hadn’t been put through the goddamn ringer.
It vaguely bothered him for a moment how he could feel that superior to himself.
Seifer stared at her. Maybe when he tried, baby Ultimecia would just sprout creepy little wings and fly up in the air and kill him outright. …With a little bow and arrow…
He did the crazy laugh again, but this time just because he thought that was a funny image.
But if time was compressed, and all that, then there shouldn’t be any linear connection between this thing and the bitch herself. There should be infinite Ultimecias now. Action was meaningless. What he changed here shouldn’t have any affect, because it had already happened, and was happening, and…
“Fuck time travel..” he rested his forehead disconsolately on the edge of the cradle. The baby squeezed his finger a little harder.
A strange wave of something between nausea, disorientation, and what he imagined a nuclear blast felt like slid spitefully through him: he could feel his organs separate in his body then jiggle back into place.
It had felt worse the first time, when what he assumed was the much vaunted Time Compression had started, but this time it was like…
The baby was growing. Well, of course it was growing, but he could see it growing. Visibly, it was so fast it lost all form, its pink flesh bulged through the bars, and cracked the little crib, shattering it like glass, the glowing liquid spattering out onto the floor and onto him. It was warm and wouldn't get off him. He scrambled back. The pink glow of the room died away, and the child was changing colors, he could barely see it, and then it was leaving amorphous retina scars on his eyes. It was turning into whatever the hell it wanted.
“Reflect on your childhood,” it told him, the voice calm and melodious, like a child and like a lifelong smoker and like a woman he’d assigned the status of godhood when he was too young to know any better, just like every other kid in the whole damn universe.
He pulled out his gunblade. “Would you.. give it a fucking rest!”
“Your sensation, your words, your emotions.”
“It’s not for you,” he explained.
Through the whole thing, he had been, not even a tool, used for his power, but a toy. He knew that now. She’d been starved of any entertainment, doing the same thing for so long, divide and conquer, burn and slash and burn, take and take and take, time and time again. All to reach her goal, to destroy Hyne and the Lunar Cry and the GFs and time and death, and probably whatever else she could get her hands on, to get revenge for her kind, you know the one she'd been brain raping down through the eons, to fix the twisted torture universe some bastard had created and left spinning while he went out for coffee, by burning it all to the ground. She’d gone just a little crazy, somewhere between eons six and seven, he guessed.
Seifer supposed that by the time she got to them, she had just wanted a good soap. And what better than to give a kid on the ropes a last crack at his wildest dreams? See just how much he’d do for them. He wondered if she’d known at the time about the happy family of predestined orphan children thing. He imagined she had, I mean, come on, what better soap plot device was there than amnesia?
“Time. It will not wait no matter how hard you hold on. It escapes you.”
He gripped hard on the handle, feeling bile rise, and kind of hated himself.
The fire cross shot through his veins jerking all his bones up into a proper posture, and, he was sure for just a moment, melting off every hair on his body. He could smell it as he rushed at the thing, with every last bit of resentment he’d been carrying around for as long as he could remember… because he’d always been a toy. And it had always been his nature to cut the strings and die on the floor rather than letting someone else flail his corpse around.
The creature shattered, wailing, sinking, shriveling back into the crib, back into it’s childhood, bleeding red newborn, even it’s tiny little bones broken and splayed in the colorless remains of the pink fortress.
His lunch, meanwhile suddenly decided it wanted no truck with a baby-killer, and ended up on the floor.
“Shut up! Shut up, shut up! I know, okay!” he shouted, scrambling for words, at the pile of still screeching flesh, trying to drown it out. "I know, already!"
His vomit was still dripping and he thought he might be crying, which was such a strange thought, because liquid leaks out of everyone all the time, and he was already all wet with something he really didn’t want to identify, and it didn’t really change anything.
“You just.. wanted anything. Anything but to end up nothing. Just like you were, just like everyone.”
He didn't know which of them he was telling it to.
"No, no, no, no, no," he tried to touch it, but all there was was rips in flesh. "Come on!" he ordered the baby.
His hands clamored for traction reaching with sticky pink fingers for the broken bars, cutting his hands and bleeding on all the wet.
There was a sound like someone was slapping water, and it came out of the baby, and then sounds stopped coming out of the baby.
(A/N) This contains threads of way too many of my silly, fabricated theories. There’s the ‘Ultimecia was trying to do good, sort of, but when she leapfrogged back through time forever she went fucking crazy' theory, the ‘Time Compression is really freedom of motion in all four dimensions and the next stage of evolution that man is not yet ready to take, and therefore Ultimecia, even if she had not gone crazy, would've screwed humanity over’ theory, the 'Hyne is an evil bastard who created the sorceress, the Lunar Cry, and the GFs as a control over population and technological advancement' theory, the ‘Seifer is convinced by credentials, reason, and otherwise inexplicable coincidence, rather than greed/emotion/brainwashing/deepseated-Oedipal-issues to join Ultimecia’ theory (though I'm a staunch proponent of Seifer's vast catalogue of Oedipal issues), the ‘cribs are prisons for babies’ theory, and so on. And then there’s the real center of the fic: In my imagination, during Time Compression, some poor, unappreciated bastard, whose only wish in life was to make something of him or herself, kills Ultimecia at every possible point in time (which is infinite and therefore there are infinite bastards, which is so very deep) and thinks he/she has saved the universe all by his or her onesies. When in actuality, even if there's infinite Ultimecias to be killed, of course they will all be killed, because you've got equally infinite time in which to do it. Right?
So, really, math kills Ultimecia.