Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Sympathy for the Damned ❯ Part 6 ( Chapter 6 )
"Sympathy for the Damned"
Around midnight of the day that he and Sephiroth had experienced their little "encounter", Kuja went into the storage room to get some juice. He was relieved to discover that his associate had been in there and taken the food he had put aside. Guilt was something that Kuja wasn't accustomed to feeling, and he felt responsible for Sephiroth's panicked retreat and would have been upset if the swordsman starved to death because of him. It was probably a lost cause, but Kuja was never one to give up. If he didn't get some real sex soon, he was going to go insane. He began to make his own bath oils and massage oils on the side, while he formed theories and plots to escape. That he hadn't broken any new ground with either escaping or getting Sephiroth in his bed didn't deter him in the least. Luckily, the gardens outside had a wide range of flowers and herbs for him to use in order to make his exotic oils.
"I'm becoming a regular domestic," Kuja grumbled as he stood over a bubbling cauldron and added the necessary ingredients. He had also made his own shampoos and hair conditioners, for he didn't like the way the bath soap that he had found made his hair feel. It was all well and good that his captors saw fit to provide personal hygiene basics, but for someone like Kuja, the basics weren't enough. It wasn't all bad, he supposed. At least it kept him busy and took his mind off Sephiroth. Since that day, Sephiroth reverted to his reclusive ways. The progress that Kuja had made with him was set back to the beginning. Though the swordsman resumed dining with him the next day, nothing was said between them. Kuja tried to bring himself to strike up conversation with him, but the words froze on his lips every time. Sephiroth was perpetually frowning now, and he seemed moody. It was best not to risk provoking him to violence.
Instead, Kuja waited, expecting the inward struggle within Sephiroth to balance out on its own. He was an adult, and insane or not, he surely could come to terms with what had happened between them eventually. It wasn't as though the man's genitals would fall off from touching him! The more he thought about it, the more insulted Kuja became. "If he would stop being a brat for five minutes and quit fixating on gender, he might like it," he said to himself. He had always been rather talkative, even when alone, but he found himself carrying on these one-sided conversations more and more, these days. "There's simply no excuse for it!" He ranted, "I gave in to him and was ready to let him do as he wished, and he ran away like an immature little…little…oooh!" In his growing frustration, Kuja wasn't paying attention to what he was doing and one of the pots began to boil over.
"Perfect! Just ball-licking, ass-grinding perfect!" he shouted in fury as he grabbed a dishrag to protect his hand and lifted the pot off of the stove. He set the pot on the table to let it cool down, and he dragged his sweat-dampened hair out of his eyes. "What's the use?" he murmured in despair. "I make new clothing that impresses no-one, plot ways to escape my own doom, and create massage oils that are probably just going to collect dust on the shelves." He sank to the tiled floor of the laboratory and began to cry with self-pity and loneliness. "If only the big fool would talk to me," he sniffled, "even a word now and then would be better than nothing." He was beginning to see why Sephiroth didn't bother wasting his time trying to find a means to escape. Depression was weighing heavily on the young genome's shoulders, now.
Kuja was still hugging himself and crying when he heard the slow approach of booted feet. He looked up with eyes that streamed tears to find Sephiroth staring down at him. "It boiled over," Kuja explained unnecessarily in a voice that hitched with tears. He gestured vaguely at the stove, where a sloppy spill of bubbles and oil dripped from earlier.
"I can see that. Why are you crying?"
Kuja rolled his eyes and stood up. "Because I'm sick of this! I'm sick of being stuck here in this place, with no company except a man who might as well be a wind-up automation, for all the emotions he shows! At least if you were trying to kill me, there would be some excitement, but you don't even know I exist!" He was having a temper tantrum, but Kuja didn't care. Somehow, he always came out looking like a spoiled child around Sephiroth, and that annoyed him even worse. "Don't just stand there and grin at me! You…you don't even care! I even made an outfit for you, and you just…just-"
"You made an outfit for me? When?"
"While you were off skulking about in dark corners, or whatever it is that you do between meals-"
"Why didn't you give it to me?"
Kuja frowned. "Because I didn't think you'd appreciate it," he said with another sniffle, "you'd probably just use it as a dust rag or something."
"If it's small enough to be used as a dust rag, I doubt it will fit me," Sephiroth said with a smirk. His voice was almost kind.
Kuja huffed. "It was sarcasm, you insensitive thing! I fashioned it after studying the clothes you're wearing now. You'd look ridiculous in something like my outfit."
Sephiroth's shoulders shook with silent laughter as he took in the tight garments the genome wore, which were designed to expose as much of his smooth skin as it hid. "I agree with you. So, how did you manage to tailor an outfit for me without my being present for you to take measurements?"
Kuja's breath still hitched, and tears still dripped down his flushed cheeks. "I've very talented," he said archly, "I can take a person's measurements just by studying them for a while. Lesser artists need tools."
"You aren't a bit arrogant, are you?"
"Oh, piss off, then! I may as well be alone in this place!" Kuja crossed his arms over his chest and turned his back to Sephiroth. His tail wound around and swished back and forth in agitation. He could never seem to control the bothersome appendage around this man. He was wearing the skin-tight, black and gold bodysuit he had made, and since there was no skirt with the outfit, his tail was quite visible.
Sephiroth stared at the offended genome for a moment, and then he approached him. Kuja's shoulders jerked with soft sobs, and his back was tense. "Get away from me," the sorcerer said when Sephiroth put a hand on his shoulder. The swordsman ignored him and turned him around. Kuja looked up at Sephiroth with confusion on his pretty features.
Sephiroth brushed some of the tears away with the pads of his fingers and said, "Shouldn't your makeup be running? It's not even smudged."
Becoming vexed again, Kuja spat, "That's because it's not makeup, you idiot! It's my markings…it's how I developed!"
"How was I supposed to know that?"
Indeed, Sephiroth wasn't the first to assume that Kuja's markings were made with eyeshadow and eyepencils. It looked just like makeup, to be fair, but Kuja was already frustrated to the boiling point and he didn't feel like being reasonable. He pushed at Sephiroth's chest and said, "Just go away. You're not helping!"
"Stop crying, and I'll go away."
This was ridiculous! "Why do you care if I cry?" Kuja stopped pushing and just rested his hand over the skin that was exposed in the part of Sephiroth's jacket. His chest was as hard as a rock, but the skin was as smooth as silk. To add insult to injury, now the sorcerer was becoming aroused!
Sephiroth seemed to consider the question. Finally, he shrugged and raised his eyebrows. "I'm not sure. It bothers me. It bothers me as much as it would bother me to see a girl cry."
Kuja almost got riled at that, but he stopped himself at the last moment. Well, at least Sephiroth hadn't actually called him a girl. He said it just bothered him as much as seeing a girl cry. He sniffled again and self-consciously reached up to smooth his tangled hair. "Why would it bother you to see anyone cry? You don't seem like the sort to care about another person's suffering."
Sephiroth frowned. "It comes and goes. Mother's traits sometimes dominate the human ones, and sometimes they go to the background. I hate it when that happens. I don't like feeling things."
Fascinated with this little bit of information, Kuja decided to test his companion. "Who was your Mother? What was she, for that matter?"
Sephiroth released the sorcerer and combed his long fingers through his hair as he struggled to explain. "Mother was…is…an ancient. A goddess. She came from the sky, and I was created from her. A normal woman bore me, but Mother gave me life. She…she and I were supposed to…take back the Planet-" He moaned and clutched his head, sinking to his knees. Trembling laughter emitted from him, but when Kuja knelt before him warily, he could see that the swordsman's eyes were squeezed tightly shut, and tears gathered on his lashes.
"Easy," Kuja said softly, and he did what nobody in their right mind would have done when Sephiroth was in one of these moods: he reached out and stroked his hair.
"I c-can't hear her voice anymore," Sephiroth whimpered, shivering all over, "where are you, Mother? Why did you leave?" It was he who seemed like a child now, lost and afraid and desperate for comfort.
Kuja wasn't sure of what he could do. Sephiroth might not be striking out at him because he found him effeminate, and for once, Kuja didn't mind. He wasn't a particularly nurturing individual, but an odd surge of pity found its way into his heart, and he carefully gathered the crouching swordsman into his arms and stroked his hair. Sephiroth slowly raised his head and looked at him with puzzled, emerald eyes. "I might hurt you-," he said uncertainly.
"Then it'll be my own fault," Kuja said briskly, "and I won't hold you responsible."
Sephiroth shook his head and muttered something that Kuja didn't catch, but he didn't pull away. The genome continued to hold him and stroke his hair as he mumbled and raged about his absent "Mother" and pondered over what went wrong. He seemed to find Kuja's gentle ministrations comforting, and he eventually quieted and rested his cheek on the more slender young man's shoulder with a sigh. "Why do you risk it?" he whispered as he inhaled the mixed scent of lavender and ocean coming from Kuja's skin. "Even I can't tell when these spells are going to make me black out. I could have killed you, a moment ago."
Kuja sighed. "Well then, you would have come back to yourself and seen my bloody corpse on the floor, and perhaps you would have picked me a bouquet of flowers and begged my forgiveness when this place revived me. Maybe I'm just feeling brave because I know this place won't let me die."
"How do you know I wouldn't have dragged you outside and dumped you with the others, over the wall?" Sephiroth said ominously.
"Er…" Kuja shuddered. "That thought didn't cross my mind. Thank you, now I'm going to have nightmares."
Sephiroth sighed and pulled out of the sorcerer's arms, though it seemed he did it reluctantly. He stood up and gazed down at Kuja with puzzlement in his eyes. "I had better go," he said in a distracted tone, "If I feel enough in control of myself, I'll see you at dinner."
Kuja decided not to argue with him, for he could see himself by the sweat that broke out over the swordsman's skin and the way his hands trembled that he was losing control. "Feel better," he said helplessly as Sephiroth turned and left.
-To be continued