Final Fantasy 8 and all references to it are the property of Squaresoft.
The pouring rain whipping against his face, the sudden flash of lightning followed by an explosion of thunder, feet pounding against the earth. Running, always running. Someone always chasing, no exception this time. He had a mile on them, maybe more, but it wasn't enough.
It would never be enough.
He ran away from his only home as a child, to Garden. Ran from Garden to Galbadia, to be Ultimecia's. He ran back to Garden after that, into the strangely accepting arms of the woman he fell in love with. But they hadn't
forgotten, they'd tried to kill him, and wounded her. He ran again, this time not of fear for his own life, but fear for another. At least, that's what he told himself. She'd never believe it either, the note he'd left her had been pathetic, she'd never want to see him again. He knew it.
Stupid, thinking he could stop running.
His formerly white trench coat was soaked with rain; it was heavy, tattered, bloodied and muddied, just like the rest of him. But it served to help hide him amidst the darkness. Centra wasn't known for its friendly terrain, and anything that could camouflage him was an advantage. A behemoth pounced in front of him, apparently hungry for Seifer tar-tar, but he fed it some Hyperion instead, never breaking stride.
Three months after Ultimecia's defeat, and he was still hated. He couldn't blame them, not after all he'd done. He might hate himself, but he sure as hell wasn't going to just lay there and die. They would work for his head, and he'd take as many with him as he could. They took Seifer's posse, he'd take his.
They'd come in the middle of the night, catching everyone asleep, unaware.
Raijin had only enough time to yell a warning before a hail of bullets tore into him, enveloping the room in a bloody cloud. They stormed in, led by him, his expression cold and calculating as ever. Seifer grabbed Hyperion and rushed forward, knowing he was going to die and intent on taking someone along for the ride, but Fujin knocked him to the floor as they started shooting.
She was thrown to the ground beside him, her one eye gazing at him with a strange calmness. Blood ran from her lips as she mouthed a word: Run.
This happened in the space of just seconds, and before another had passed Seifer leaped through the second-story window, cleaving someone's arm off on the way. A scream followed him out as hit the ground hard, too hard. Shots were fired and he took off in a dead run, ignoring the pain in his ankle. The shooting stopped as the attackers started back downstairs, and Seifer took the time to shoot the tires out their jeep before literally heading for the hills.
All this had happened maybe an hour ago, but it felt like years.
He lost his footing and hit the ground, yelping in pain as something wrenched in his ankle. No doubt about it, it was definately sprained, maybe fractured. He suddenly wished he'd taken the jeep instead of immobilizing it. He somehow got up and resumed running, trying to favor his injured foot without losing speed. They'd probably taken the keys out of the ignition anyway...
Lightning illuminated his path and he was able to make out the coastline up ahead. He cursed vehemently along with the thunder. Nothing ahead of him but ocean. Nowhere else to run. He was out of ideas when another flash revealed the shape of a house not too far west. There was noplace else to hide, and he knew he couldn't run very much longer. They would be on him soon.
His last stand.
Suddenly resigned to death, he made a beeline for the place and crashed through the door.
The house was dark, abandoned, deteriorated. Parts of the ceiling had long ago caved in, taking a part of the main room's structure with it. He stumbled into the farthest room and slid down the wall, facing the door as he loaded Hyperion. Ten shots in ready to fire, four extra shells after that. He was betting that he wouldn't have time to reload, but he vowed to down as many of the bastards as he could.
Waiting. The waiting was worse than the running. At least when he was running he was doing something. He must have gotten farther ahead than he'd thought. The rain pouring through the hole in the roof streamed down his face, mingling with the tears that he shed over the death of his friends. It had been so ugly, so
unexpected... They hadn't deserved a death like that. He didn't deserve to live. Fujin had taken the death that was meant for him.
More waiting. They should be close by now, but how much longer until they came?
The fury that had been steadily rising in him began to overflow. The pressure became too much, the silence insulting, overwhelming.
"I hate you!" he screamed in a voice choked with sobs. "I fucking hate you! Come get me fuckers! Come and fucking get me! Gimpy SeeD too fast for ya?"
He stood and began swinging at everything, anything. A rotten desk was smashed into pieces. A shelf scattered soggy books as it was obliterated. A cat that had been hiding under the bed screeched and bolted, leaving a trail of urine as Hyperion pierced the mattress. He started hacking at the brick wall, screaming convulsively.
"Dog training! Fucking dog training! Where are you? Come get some! FUCKERS!"
"You were never one for waiting, Seifer."
Seifer recoiled at the voice, turning to the side and moving to aim his gunblade. A silhouette stood casually in the doorway, gun already aimed at him.
"Put it down."
Seifer hesitantly lowered his gunblade, and Squall muttered Fire and lit up an oil lamp across the room, revealing his lukewarm guise. He lowered his own gun and sat a few feet beside Seifer, staring at the floor.
"Why?" Seifer demanded.
Squall didn't answer, and Seifer stood over the SeeD commander, pointing his finger and screaming.
"WHY? WHY THEM?"
"Because they were there." Squall said flatly, finally meeting his eyes.
"Because it was convenient."
"She was in the way."
"God..." Seifer moaned. "Everyone...all my fault. Everything..."
Squall stood and walked across the room, fidgeting with his pistol. "You don't recognize this place, do you?" he asked coolly. "It's the orphanage. We figured you'd come here, it's the only other place for miles."
"Where we all grew up."
"The orphanage..." Seifer muttered. He sank down to the floor, suddenly feeling weak. He hadn't even recognized the place. Not consciously, at least. "This is where..."
"Where it all started, more or less." Squall faced him. "Where it ends..."
Where I started running. Seifer sheathed Hyperion and met the other man's gaze. Calm as ever, Squall jerked his head towards the door.
Seifer followed him without argument, defeated, too battered to fight it any longer. Squall holstered his weapon as they left.
The Ragnarock was parked a few meters away. Basked in the bright glow from the ship's open exit ramp, Irvine and Selphie stood together, likewise with Zell and his girlfriend Carmen. Squall went to stand beside Rinoa, the SeeDs all facing a very shocked Seifer.
A man was on his knees between them, hands bound behind his back. Galbadian armor-clad soldiers lay all around him, still and silent in death. The man looked nervously at the corpses surrounding him, the SeeDs behind him, and with growing terror at Seifer, nearing from the front.
Pure, white-hot hatred shone in Seifer's expression as he approached. Him. Vinzer Deling. The man who'd killed his posse, almost killed the woman he loved, always meaning to kill Seifer himself. His fingers tightened on
Hyperion, gripping it so hard it hurt. Deling was too terrified to speak, his arrogant confidence replaced with that final knowledge, realization that he was going to die and that there was nothing he could do about it.
A hand gently took Seifer's empty one, and he turned to see Quistis standing next to him, her other arm in a sling from where she'd been shot during the first attempt on his life. He couldn't speak, only looked at her. She also said nothing, but nothing needed to be said. She pressed herself against him in a one-armed embrace, rain and thunder the only sound during their silent exchange.
Seifer looked behind him, at the dilapidated orphanage. The only family he'd ever known had lived here. His eyes took in the group of SeeDs, looking at him not with anger, or hatred, only patience. Relief, that he was still standing.
Even months after he'd betrayed them, days after he ran away from them, they still treated him as family, still willing to accept, and protect.
In a way, the person he'd been, the man of hatred and regret, the man that had served Ultimecia out of spite and obsession, had been born here in this orphanage. How this came to be he couldn't fathom, but he knew this was it. This was where his path had begun. His mistakes had brought so much death, so much sorrow. His own weaknesses that had killed Fujin, Raijin, virtually the entire population of Trabia Garden, and hurt so many others he'd never know. His unwillingness to face up to himself, to be accountable.
He looked back to Quistis as she squeezed his hand, gazing at him intently. Her expression said it all: she understood, and she forgave. She loved. For the first time something seemed to make sense to him. He didn't have to do it anymore. He didn't have to run.
When he looked at Deling again, his expression was rigid, emotionless. He levelled Hyperion at the man.
The person that had been born here was going to die here.
"If you kill me, Galbadia will retaliate!" Deling sputtered. "You serve the Sorceress Rinoa! They'll have no mercy-"
Seifer rammed Hyperion through the man's chest. The broad blade exited his back at an angle, impaling him to the ground. Deling's expression of disbelief and denial met Seifer's stony stare. His mouth opened and closed as he tried to speak, but could produce no sound. He reached out to Seifer, perhaps to plead for his life. Seifer only stepped back, tightening his grip on Quistis' hand as she tightened hers. The rest of the SeeDs turned to enter the ship.
"Never again." Seifer whispered. He didn't need to explain himself; Quistis knew. They started towards the Ragnarock, past the impaled man.
"Please..." Deling managed, grasping at Seifer's coat. Seifer snatched it away and kept walking. The words that had dictated most of the eighteen years of his previous life, words he'd lived by, killed by, worshipped, coldly escaped his lips one final time.
Thanks for reading!
I know this story moves fast, in a broken, drug-addict sort of way. Believe it or not, I meant it to come across like that, and I just hope I did it well enough for you to have enjoyed it.
I'm not too good at dedicating myself to one project at a time, so at any given moment there are 3-4 other possible storylines floating around in my head. The frustration was driving me insane, and I was this close to javelin-throwing my monitor across the back yard when I got the idea for No Mercy.
Feeling empowered by the...uh, feelings of power (and all that Pepsi), I totally slammed this out in about an hour. Note that I didn't just 'slam it out', but that I totally slammed it out, in about an hour. Then after I sent it to Weiila, I sent another revised copy because I hated it! I feel like anything that gets totally slammed out by me tends to totally suck, but maybe someone'll enjoy this.
I like criticism, any and all realistic kinds. I won't take offense if you think No Mercy was craptastic, just don't be surprised if I find out where you live and kick your dog.