Post-Game. Gen. Seifer returns to Garden. Squall-centric, although he makes no apperance. Imagine that.
Seifer exited the elevator and wondered if his arrival had spread around the school already, or if meeting the Chickenwuss already was just his luck. Probably the latter. If he remembered correctly, Zell never could stay up to date on gossip.
If nothing else, the Chicken was probably behind on the news. "Of course I did, moron. Where else would I go? Galbadia's got a death warrant out for my head."
"That's stupid! They're the ones who brought back that stupid woman! What did you ever do?" Zell was vibrating in his intensity, and under different circumstances, it might be funny to see what Zell would get his panties into such a bunch for.
"It's not like they can prosecute the whole nation. I'm a scapegoat, wuss; it's supposed to be unfair. Move." Not only was he blocking Seifer's exit, but also the only mode of transport to the upper floors. Students were milling about, trying not to be overt in their stares. It was probably Seifer's presence more than Zell's that was deterring them, and once he realized this, Seifer pushed past them all, turning and heading to the dorms.
"Don't call me that, jerk. But you're back now, right?" Stupid chicken was following him, but it was half-expected, so Seifer just kept walking and Zell just kept pace. Like they were pals, or something.
"'Course. Prissy-boy's heart was breaking without me." Seifer scoffed, but it was the standard lie for him. He'd had practice in referring to Squall. "Besides, he's not good enough to teach gunblade to those snot-nosed brats. SeeD and Instructor Certification all in one day."
Somehow, the honor didn't come with the sense of accomplishment he'd thought it would. Being handed it by Squall, his old rival who he'd lost most thoroughly to, thank you very much, it was an empty victory, at best.
"Hey. Lay off Squall, man. He went though boat-loads of shit for you. We all did." Seifer looked back to see Zell standing still, hands on hips, and all the energy he usually displayed condensed into his eyes. Zell glared, and the fact that the Chicken felt that much hurt and anger towards him, standing up for Squall who had it all, it just wasn't fair.
"Yeah, yeah, the Commander and his girl sucked up to their fathers, still doesn't get me off the Most Wanted List, just house arrest here." Seifer raised his voice, threw out his arms in gesture. "Who wants to be stuck in this place? It's full of ignorant Chickenwusses."
Seifer collapsed in a nearby bench, sprawling to take up as much room as he could. He heard Zell's heaving sigh. Like that kid knew anything.
"Asshole. I didn't mean all the politics shit," Zell was shadowboxing, oblivious to the small crowd they were gathering, just by existing. "I can't even follow all the stupid paper work they had to do. I'm talking about the whole 'Take-on-the-sorceress' thing."
Seifer gave him a blank look, and Zell threw up his hands, abandoning his fly-swatting for pacing.
"He totally flipped out when we heard you'd been executed in G-Garden. I mean, shouting and everything about 'is' and 'was' and how he wouldn't let us talk about you like that."
Seifer was on his feet at once, and Zell came off his, blinking in surprise as Seifer shook him, yelling in his face, "What, you were all slanderizing my name once you thought I was dead and gone?! I could see such dirty shit from you, but Rinoa, she-" Breath left him as Zell's foot made an appreciable dent in his very appreciable abs. He braced his arms across the middle and eased back onto the bench.
"Shut up!" Zell vibrated again, and it would be funny this time, but his midsection hurt too much to laugh right now. "It wasn't like that at all! We were just talking about you like you were dead, like; you -were- a good guy, stuff like that. Anyway, he said something about not becoming a memory and then we all went to Deling to assassinate Matron, all geared up to avenge you and everything, and there you were on the float with her."
Seifer felt the onlookers stares go from curious to malicious, and he dipped his head so he wouldn't have to see it. They don't matter, he told himself.
"I was... manipulated." Seifer offered weakly.
Zell waved it off, literally, more focused on the story than him.
"Yeah, but we didn't know that then, remember? So, we're all set to kick ass, then you go and attack Squall, who's still all messed up because first you left him, and don't get me wrong, Squall's a great guy, but he's weird, ya know? For all the fighting and stuff you guys were always up to, I think you were maybe his best friend or something. Because he didn't talk to anyone, so like, lack of options."
Seifer paused, considering this. Fuujin and Raijin were his friends, always by his side and working together toward common goals; just because he spent a good amount of time with Squall, or just because they grew up together, that didn't make them friends. He was hanging out with Chicken right now, and no one ever mistook /them /for friends.
"I mean, once you were a total douche and imprisoned us and stuff," Here, again, Zell waved his hand like it was nothing. "I was running around fighting and dodging bullets, and I was just about to die and Squall rescues me. And I'm not thinking, and I just -hug- him right there, and then I was scared he was going to -kill- me, so I just hung on."
"And?" Even though they weren't friends, Seifer physically harassed Zell all the time, but Leonhart wasn't that type of person. Outside of sparring they didn't touch, not casually. Even if they were friends...
"And, I'm still alive, aren't I? So either Squall's one of my ultra-secret crushes or he makes friends easily, he just doesn't let you know that you're all friends." Zell had been miming the battle scene, kicking and punching on air, but at this he plopped down next to Seifer on the bench, giving him a toothy grin.
"One of your crushes?" Seifer pushed Zell's head down to knock the smile off his face, messing up his hair. Playful, but they weren't friends. "I can't believe that there's an enormous backlog."
"Hey, I helped save the world!" Zell jumped up, and gestured widely. "People idolize me now; I'm on posters and everything." He spun around once, perhaps to look even more like a fool, Seifer thought, but then he sat again, tilting his head back against the edge of the seat.
"Anyway, you were his friend, and you left him to turn traitor-manipulated to turn traitor- and now that you're back, maybe he'll stop being all edgy and everything." He was speaking more to the ceiling than Seifer, who watched him intently, the softened grin, the slow slide of closing eyes.
"We're all together now, so everything's going to be alright." Zell whispering was a rare thing, and it almost hurt seeing him so relaxed and sure. It was scary.
"You're so naive, Chicken." Seifer said, standing.
"Everything's not going to be great just because the Orphanage gang is back together. There's still going to be wars and poverty. Trabia Garden is still blown apart. People I killed are still dead." He felt very profound, and dumbass Chicken had the nerve to chuckle at him.
"You're so depressive." Zell bounced to his feet, standing on the bench so he towered over Seifer, poking him in the chest.
"What happened to the Seifer Almasy that was a total asshole and didn't care who knew it? The knightly bit, the romantic dream? Anyway, you're missing the point."
"You saw how the knightly bit worked out. So tell me, what's the point?"
Zell looked down from his perch, putting his hands on Seifer's shoulders and baring fangs.
"The point is we're all back together now, so we can help each other, stupid."
He jumped off the bench and took a few quick steps toward the dorms, staring back at Seifer. Seifer shrugged and followed at a more sedate pace, sauntering, letting Zell's exuberance part the crowds. He closed his eyes, listening to the sound of the water and the shuffling of the students, Zell's chatter, and, in the distance, Raijin's bellow for a student to slow down.