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seiferzell

Rain Today, Rain Tomorrow - chapter fifteen

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Nov. 19th, 2015 | 05:38 pm
posted by: sani in seiferzell

Title: Rain Today, Rain Tomorrow (96 - 100)
Rating: overall R
Pairings: mainly Zell-centric but eventually Seifer/Zell
Warnings: language, violence, PTSD-type stuff, character death
Word Count: 3,105/52,987
Notes: what? this fic still exists? huh, imagine that.


part one part two part three part four part five part six part seven part eight part nine part ten part eleven part twelve part thirteen part fourteen




96.

When classes start again in the fall and Quistis goes back to Garden, Zell and Seifer get stuck with babysitting duty three afternoons a week - not that Zell minds at all, really, because Fiona is about the best behaved child he’s ever met; most afternoons, she sits and colors or reads picture books, or makes up stories and recites them to Zell while he’s doing boring work around the shop. If she’s really energetic, he lets her run around in the back room with the padded training gear until she exhausts herself - but the space is still under construction, so he’s got to keep her out of Seifer’s way while the other man works.

“What are you working on, squirt?” he asks her one day, as she’s sitting at the little table behind the counter with her box of art supplies and a huge sheet of construction paper. She’s a pretty good artist for a three-year-old - Zell already has a wall filling up with the drawings she passes off to him during her visits.

“Grandpa Cid wants me to draw him a picture for his office,” she says, and she stuffs a cookie in her mouth with one hand as she carefully - meticulously, even - outlines her drawing with a black colored pencil.

“Oh, yeah? What are you drawing?”

“Everybody,” she says, and Zell peeks over her shoulder. Her picture somewhat resembles a family photo, with several people standing in a row, although the toddler seems to have taken some artistic liberties where accuracy is concerned. “Can you help me with the spelling?” Fiona asks, looking up at him. “You can have some of my cookies, too.”

Zell can’t refuse that, so he takes a seat next to her and grabs a pencil. “That’s Grandpa Cid and Matron,” Fiona explains, and he carefully write down their names as she points.

“How come he’s ‘Grandpa’ but she’s not ‘Grandma’?” Zell asks.

“I dunno, that’s just how she’s called,” Fiona answers with a shrug, and Zell laughs. Next to Cid and Edea in the picture is clearly Selphie, with a big smile on her face and a bright yellow dress. Beside her Fiona has endearingly drawn her mum in the blue dress she wore for her wedding, with a bouquet of flowers in her hand. The figure next to Quistis isn’t as easily discernible, and Zell studies it for a moment.

“Who’s this supposed to be?”

“It’s my dad.”

“Why does he look so evil?” Zell asks, because the toddler gave Nida a pair of red, glowing eyes and a strange antenna-like object attached to his head. Fiona shakes her head vehemently.

“He’s not evil, he’s a robot!” she declares, handing Zell a cookie, and taking another one for herself.

“You shouldn’t say that, Fiona, that’s not nice,” Zell chides.

“No, it’s true! He told me himself! And his arm comes off and everything.”

“I think technically he’s actually a cyborg. He’s still mostly human,” Seifer chimes in, sticking his head around the corner with a little smirk on his face. Zell gives him what’s supposed to be a quelling stare, but Fiona looks excited, hurrying to scribble out the painstakingly-written “ROBO” she had been working on.

“How do you spell that?”

Zell tries to convince her to write “Dad” instead, while Seifer comes over to inspect the drawing himself. “Nice tattoo, Dincht,” he teases, pointing at the exaggerated flower doodles Fiona’s drawn all over him. Zell frowns up at the other man.

“I think they’re nice,” he remarks, and Fiona nods in agreement. “Maybe I’ll get some like that on the other side of my face, that’ll make it symmetrical. Whaddaya think?” he asks, nudging the toddler, who’s stuffing another cookie in her mouth.

“I’ll do it!” she declares, snatching up a green marker and taking it to Zell’s face, which only makes Seifer laugh and roll his eyes as he disappears around the corner again.



97.

Zell is reluctant to disrupt Quistis’ good mood in the weeks following her wedding, but he knows he can’t put off asking her the question he wants to ask forever. Sure enough, when he does, she looks up from the salad she’s putting together with no trace on her expression of the smile that was there just moments before.

“You want to get in touch with Fuujin?” she repeats, managing to look stern while squeezing a lemon onto her salad. “Why?”

“So we can be pen pals,” Zell says, a little too sarcastically - Quistis squints at him. “Why do you think, Quis?”

“Well, I don’t know… I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to contact her,” she says.

“Quisty, I’m sorry, this is gonna sound really rude, but I don’t care what you think about it,” Zell say truthfully, but gently. Quistis looks round at him, but she doesn’t seem angry or offended, and Zell goes on, “all I want to know is if you can get in touch with her for me. If you can’t, then… fine. I’ll find another way.”

“I can, but… I don’t know,” she says again, setting down her lemon and her salad and wiping her hands busily on a dishtowel. “If you’re going to try and force some kind of, I dunno, reconciliation on her and Seifer, I think that’s a very bad idea-“

“That’s not what I’m trying to do,” Zell cuts in, although he doesn’t know why he has to defend his reasons to her. “I just… want to talk to her.”

Quistis only stares at him, clearly still skeptical.

“Look,” he says eventually, rising from his seat at the kitchen table, “you’re the one who’s been telling me all this time to ask questions, ask questions… well, I’ve got questions now, and Seifer can’t answer them for me, so I’ve got to find someone who can. Right?”

“Well, I just think…” Quistis begins, and then breaks off, looking thoughtful. She shakes her head. “Well, never mind.”

“What?”

“It’s nothing, it’s stupid.” She looks sheepish. “You’re right, of course. It’s your life, it’s your relationship, you know what’s best…”

“But?” Zell prompts.

“It just seems like things have been so good lately… why do you want to stir up trouble?” she asks, hesitantly. “You’re just going to cause yourself more grief… Why not enjoy the peace while you’ve got it?”

Her chagrined expression seems to say that she realizes she’s out of line, but Zell finds it in him to appreciate the sentiment anyway - she really just wants him to be happy. “Forget I said anything,” Quistis goes on the next moment, shaking her head again and bringing her salad to the table. “You’re a grown man, you can take care of yourself. I’m just… being such a mum these days,” she mutters.

“It’s fine, Quis,” Zell says, and there’s relief on her face as she smiles at him. “Anyway, if you don’t take care of us, who’s going to?”



98.

Seifer is laying on the floor in the back room, staring up at the ceiling, when Zell goes looking for him in the evening. “What are you doing?” he asks, wondering if the other man is sleeping, but he sits up when Zell approaches and takes a seat on the floor beside him.

“It looks really good in here,” Zell remarks after a moment when it’s clear Seifer isn’t in the mood to talk. “I’m impressed… you’re surprisingly good at building stuff.”

“Why’s that surprising? You thought I was only good at destroying things?”

Seifer’s tone isn’t bitter even if his words are, and Zell wants to ask if he’s alright, but he knows from experience that that kind of inquiry is likely to just be ignored. Instead, he says, “so, what are you working on now? Anything I can help with?”

Seifer mutters something that Zell doesn’t catch, and then, “what do you think?”

“The room? It’s nice,” Zell says, looking around. “It’s really nice. I think Mr. Halverson’s gonna love it.”

“I don’t care if he does or not. I asked what you think.”

“Well, I love it,” Zell says, which is the truth, because he’s not really sure what Seifer’s after.

“Hmm,” Seifer says. “What are you gonna do now, then?”

“What do you mean?”

“You really wanna give kids killing lessons back here? You know the old man’s not going to want anything to do with it,” Seifer explains. “I get the feeling he’s just waiting to retire and pass it off to you as soon as you’re ready. Everything, the shop and all.”

Zell has gotten that feeling, too, but he’s not certain yet if it’s something he wants. “It won’t be like that,” he says instead. “Real basic stuff… for kids who don’t know how to fight or don’t know how to pick a weapon. No killing. Anyway, more importantly, what are you going to do now? We’re gonna have to find a new project for you.”

“What am I, a kindergartener?”

“Oookay,” Zell mutters, getting up from the floor. “You’re touchy, so… I’ll go.”

“No, wait,” Seifer stops him, grabbing his wrist. “Just… shut up a while and… don’t go anywhere, okay?”

“You’re really such a pain, you know?” Zell grumbles, but only for the sake of grumbling, because really, Seifer never asks him for anything - it’s certainly no hardship to oblige him this once.


99.

Fall comes and goes with no end in sight to the heat wave that settled unnaturally over the town so late in the year. Zell wakes up one morning with warm sunlight streaming across the bed, and wonders if it can really almost be Christmas already.

“What are you doing today?” Seifer asks him after a while, after they’ve both laid there for a while watching the bright strips of light from the window move from one side of the bed to the other.

“Thought about maybe going to the beach.”

“I meant, like… work.”

“I don’t think I feel like working today,” Zell replies, and Seifer arches an eyebrow at him. “Do you wanna come with me?”

“To the beach?”

“Yeah. I only just thought about it, but… I haven’t been there in a long time. So…” Zell shrugs, trailing off.

“Okay, sure. That sounds nice.”

Despite Seifer’s agreement, neither of them make any effort to get out of bed for a long while. After some time, Zell gathers up his courage to say, “happy birthday.”

Seifer makes a noise that’s something between a grunt and a sigh. “Is it?” he asks lightly, and then sits up and slides out of bed. Zell gives a little chuckle.

“Man, I wish I could have the luxury of forgetting my own birthday. Between Quistis and Selphie I’m lucky if I get through it without a parade.”

Seifer doesn’t reply, just shuffles out of the room leaving Zell to wonder if he maybe shouldn’t have said anything. He knows the other man is a little touchy on the subject of birthdays, and Zell doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it, which Seifer wouldn’t appreciate anyway. But all the same, he can’t let it go completely unacknowledged.

They head out in the early afternoon, and there are a few people scattered up and down the beach despite it being the middle of the day. But people aren’t what Zell’s looking for, so he and Seifer wander further downshore, winding through the dunes, until all the people sounds have been washed away by the steady rhythm of the breaking waves. “I used to come to the beach a lot,” he remarks, watching the rise and fall of the waves.

“Yeah, me too,” Seifer says. “At first, you know.”

“Hm. I guess when you grow up by the ocean, the noise gets to be comforting, huh?” Zell says.

“It’s the quiet I like,” is Seifer’s answer. Zell’s not sure he agrees - it’s anything but quiet here; and he remembers those early days after returning to Garden, when he would come out to the beach to sit with his eyes closed and get lost in the sound of the ocean, just to escape his own mind for a little bit. He has to wonder what kind of mess Seifer’s head really was if this place seemed peaceful in comparison.

“Let’s go out to the sandbar,” Zell says, going up to the water’s edge and kicking off his shoes. When Seifer hangs back, he goes on, “have you ever been out to the cove? Probably not, huh, cause you never played around Balamb as a kid. The view’s awesome.”

Seifer says nothing and just stares at him. Zell wonders if he can convince the other man. “Come on, the weather’s so great. And there won’t be anyone out there. It’s so far, people don’t go out there a lot. Besides me, I guess.”

“How far?”

“I dunno… twenty minutes, half hour maybe.”

“You wanna swim out that far?”

Zell peers at him, wading back and forth in the surf. “You can’t swim?”

“I can swim fine. I just don’t fancy drowning.”

Zell can’t help but think that’s a really strange way to put it, but he doesn’t comment. Instead, he says, “well, we don’t have to swim. There’s a sandbar. It goes all the way around the cliffs, we can walk there.” He points to the stretch of sand that’s just visible through the clear blue water, arching out of sight where the beach turns into rocks. Seifer looks skeptical. “Trust me, I know the way,” Zell tries to reassure him. “I’ve been there a hundred times. Just stay right behind me.”

Seifer, with some reluctance, trails behind him as he makes his way down the beach. The water is cool even if the day is unseasonably warm, and Zell reflects on how long it’s actually been since he came to the beach for enjoyment - not since he was a teenager, at least. After a while, they lose sight of the town behind them, following the curve of the sandbar out into the ocean and then back toward shore again. Despite the years it’s been since Zell came out here, he still does know the way.

“Why come all the way out here?” Seifer asks, looking around at the unimpressive little cove, the cliffside studded with rocks, while Zell begins to climb.

“The view’s worth it, I promise.”

Seifer follows him up the rocks without argument, and by the time they reach the top, the sun is already starting to go down, streaks of red and pink showing on the western horizon. The cove is isolated and the view is completely unimpeded out toward the west; the endless expanse of ocean, glittering with warm colors under the setting sun, is all that can be seen. Seifer doesn’t say anything, either to confirm or deny Zell’s comment about the view, but after a while he remarks, “it’s getting dark, you know.”

“Yeah, that usually happens when the sun goes down.”

“Quit being a smartass. How are you planning to get back to town in the dark?” Seifer asks.

“Why, are you afraid of the dark?” Zell retorts, but he’s not sure if he might have teased the other man too much for one day, so he adds, “look, I told you I know the way. There’s almost a full moon. We’ll be fine.” After a while, when there’s no reply, Zell says cheekily, “if you’re worried about getting lost, you can hold my hand the whole way.”

“I’m not worried,” Seifer replies, finally. “I couldn’t lose you if I wanted to, could I?”

Zell grins in the dark, but he can’t disagree.



100.

Winter sweeps into town with chilly winds and rainstorms, and a strange sight on the horizon. Both Balamb and Galbadia Gardens have been stationary since the end of the war, so the almost-ghostly image of a white ship approaching town through the fog and rain brings some unease with it. Quistis doesn’t say a word, but she must have done as Zell asked, and gotten his message to Fuujin - and in the months since then, Zell figured the other woman had simply blown him off, but now here she was - Zell isn’t so much shocked as he is perplexed.

The White SeeD ship docks at Balamb, but weeks pass, and Zell doesn’t see hide nor hair of Fuujin, nor more than a glimpse of any of the other residents of the ship, and he has to wonder what they’re doing here if Fuujin didn’t come to see him. “I think they must have some business at Garden,” Quistis tells him one day, as the ship looms over the harbor like a pale giant in the mist. “I’ve seen some of the SeeDs up in administration. I don’t know what they’d be doing up there, though. Xu doesn’t tell me much these days.”

“And Fuujin?”

Quistis looks sideways at him, clutching her scarf over her face. “I haven’t seen her,” she says.

“Neither have I.”

“She might not have come,” Quistis says, in a tone as though she’s trying to brace Zell for disappointment. “Whatever they’re up to, it seems pretty official. You know. Not a leisure visit.”

“Seems more likely she should have come, then,” Zell remarks. When Quistis gives him a sort of worrying look, he adds, “look, I’m not fretting or anything. She knows where to find me if she wants to see me. I’m not going to go looking for trouble.”

“Well, yes, that’s true,” Quistis says, sounding reassured. “You know better, I suppose.”

Still, Zell isn't immune to curiosity - and the nagging question of what Seifer thinks of this new development is ever-present in his mind. Zell never mentioned his run-in with Fuujin or his attempt to get in contact with her, and he has to wonder if Seifer is aware or not, in that eerie way that he always seems to be aware of whatever Zell is up to despite their lack - intentional or otherwise - of good communication.

“Do you think her and Seifer might run into each other?”

“I dunno. Seems unlikely,” Zell says. “If she wants to avoid him, I’m sure she can.”

“Do you think she will, though?”

Zell laughs. “Quis, why are you asking me? Since when do I ever know anything about what’s going on? Maybe something’s going to happen, maybe not. I don’t want to worry about stuff before it happens, okay?”

“Well,” Quistis says, looking thoughtful and then smiling. “That’s a good attitude to have.”

“Yeah, I’m trying.”


~

this chapter marks the 100th drabble I've written for this fic! when I began it, I intended to write to 100 and then stop, but obviously there's a bit more story left to go. still, it's an accomplishment for me.

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Comments {2}

jessica *<3

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from: skittles4zell
date: Nov. 20th, 2015 03:12 pm (UTC)
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Yayyyy! I'm anxious to see what happens next! I was thinking 100 would be a good number to end on, but I'm glad you'll be taking it further. :3

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perkyandproud

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from: perkyandproud
date: Nov. 25th, 2015 04:13 am (UTC)
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Nothing wrong with a number higher than 100 :)

I so enjoy this story. Just these little snippets, yet each one builds a fascinating and riveting whole :)

I'm glad you aren't done yet! :)

*hugs you*

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