Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Sympathy for the Damned ❯ Part 9 ( Chapter 9 )
"Sympathy for the Damned"
The morning after they had sex, Kuja awoke before Sephiroth, and he left his bedroom and cleaned himself up, then dressed in his old outfit (since he only had three to choose from, so far). He would have thought things were going on as normal, after that, for Sephiroth met him for breakfast and didn't mention anything about the night before. However, Kuja felt his eyes caressing him, everytime he looked away. He also felt his eyes on him throughout the day and night, though Sephiroth rarely showed himself. Kuja was well aware that Sephiroth was watching him almost constantly, and a part of him was flattered and warmed by it, while his practical side was unnerved. It was so hard to tell what Sephiroth was thinking, and without being able to see his expression, Kuja knew that his vigilance could be for predatory purposes as easily as sexual lust.
Sephiroth didn't come to him that night, or the next, or the next. They spoke little when they saw one another at meals, but there was definitely a silent bond between the two of them. Instead of being disappointed, Kuja used the free time to go over the compound with a fine-toothed comb, so to speak. He stretched out his senses to their fullest capacity and searched until he was exhausted. He could sense the protective barrier surrounding the compound, but nothing else. He concluded that if there was a portal anywhere in here before, it was gone now. The only logical way out would be to brave that harsh, desolate landscape and search out there. What was there to find? More prisons like this, probably…full of insane people waiting to carve out their organs. If they could even make it that far. Sephiroth had hinted that it was worse out there at night, which could mean that the manifestations only appeared after dark. Could the two of them make it to a safe place before the sun set, if they were to leave?
All of this threatened to plunge Kuja into a pit of depression, but he refused to let it bring him down. There had to be a way out of here. He had already deduced that they were on a planet, rather than some sort of prison dimension. He even tested his theory concerning the manifestations, in a great act of courage. This time, he brought rope from one of the storage rooms, so that he could quickly climb back up and over the wall if anything attacked him. He scaled the wall during the day (choosing a different part of the wall, away from the pile of corpses) and stood on the other side determinedly, for a full half-hour. Nothing came for him, though he did see some figures far in the distance. He seriously doubted that they were other travelers. Kuja theorized that the apparitions could still manifest during the day, but they were unfocused and didn't appear close to the recipient. In fact, they seemed to appear fairly far away. He made a mental note of this and climbed back over the compound walls.
He did see Sephiroth in the study frequently. At least the man had an appreciation for literature. The swordsman usually glanced up at him from whatever book he was reading and acknowledged him with a polite nod or a wave, but he rarely ever spoke. Kuja decided to explain his theories to him one day, describing what happened when he stepped outside of the boundaries. "I think it's a property of the surrounding land, and whoever built this place thought it would make a perfect prison world. That's just a hypothesis, mind you. I intend to find the people who put us here, eventually."
"What do you plan to do to them when you do?" Sephiroth questioned. He took a sip of coffee and replaced the cup on the stand beside his chair as he gazed up at the pacing sorcerer.
"I don't know…ask them what the hell they thought they would accomplish, for one thing. They clearly chose a bad mixture of prisoners for ours."
"I don't know…you and I seem to get along fairly well."
Kuja looked up and caught Sephiroth's grin just before the swordsman schooled his features into a bland mask. He chuckled. "Yes, we're the exception. I've wondered now and then, though."
Sephiroth frowned. Kuja noticed that his hand was shaking when he lifted the cup for another drink. "I've had trouble concentrating. It's best that I keep my distance, for now."
Kuja bit his lip in a gesture that made him look pouty and sweet, and Sephiroth stared at the genome's shapely lips. Kuja noticed the stare, and he knew that Sephiroth still wanted him. The desire was clear in the cat-like, green eyes. Sephiroth's gaze traveled the rest of Kuja's form, and he finally closed his eyes and shook his head.
"I'll leave you alone," Kuja said, trying to keep the irritation out of his voice. Sephy wasn't purposely teasing him, he knew. That the swordsman gave enough of a damn to try and protect him softened Kuja's frustration to a bearable level. He left the study and went to the tailoring room to think up a new outfit. Then he remembered that he still hadn't given Sephiroth either of the two outfits he had made for him. "I'll give it to him when he's…less crazy," Kuja said to himself.
That night, Sephiroth didn't come down for dinner. Getting accustomed to the swordsman's occasional absence at meals, Kuja did his usual and fixed a plate up for him, storing it with some juice and mead. After eating, the sorcerer went outside to the pool, to take a bath. He started to shrug out of his long-sleeved vest, when he heard a scream from the second story of the building that put his heart in his throat. He whirled around and faced the way he came from, staring with wide eyes. The scream belonged to Sephiroth, and it was filled with such dreadful torment that Kuja impulsively ran back to the house and up the stairs. He didn't think of the danger he could be putting himself in…he could only think of how tortured the wail was, and that he had to make sure Sephy was all right.
He found Sephiroth's door hanging open, and the swordsman was kneeling on the floor, with his hands clutching his head. "Seph-" Kuja started.
"Stay away!" Sephiroth growled, shoving one hand out, palm up with warning. His cat's eyes were glowing so brightly that Kuja felt like they were spearing through him. "Go! Go…to your room…lock your door! Ward it!" Then, Sephiroth's fingers curled into his silver hair again, and he began to laugh. It was the most malicious, evil laughter that Kuja had ever heard, and that was saying a lot. One of his shaking hands began to reach behind, to grasp the hilt of his Masamune.
Kuja needed no further urging. He backed out of the room, and almost the moment he was past the threshold, the door slammed shut with an invisible force. He heard a crash and the sound of something sliding across the floor within the room, and then a thump as something heavy was placed on the other side of the door. "He's trying to barricade himself in," Kuja whispered, goosebumps springing up on his flesh. He hurried down the hall and into his room, slamming the door shut behind him and locking all of the bolts. He then went to the window, finally realizing why there were miniature iron gates instead of shutters on it. He closed them and slid the brace down over them. This done, he concentrated on placing powerful wards over both the door and the window.
It was difficult to think through the dreadful, raving howls coming from down the hallway. Kuja set his jaw and continued his task. He told himself he wasn't afraid, his hands began to shake. He had never seen Sephiroth this bad, before, and the swordsman was probably the strongest adversary he had ever faced. He hoped feverishly that it wouldn't come to that. He liked Sephiroth, when he was sane, and not just because of his looks. He was a cultured, intelligent individual that Kuja connected with on many levels. "Don't wear yourself out on the wards, idiot," Kuja scolded himself, realizing he was putting so many of them up that when this insanity ended, he would have a jolly time unraveling them to get back out. There was that, and the fact that he didn't stand a chance in hell against Sephiroth physically. He needed to conserve his magic, in case the worst happened and the swordsman got past his wards.
When it was finished, he backed away from the door and doused the lanterns, plunging his room into darkness. He had superior night vision, so it didn't handicap him much, and he thought it was best not to have the lights on and draw Sephiroth's attention to his room. He climbed into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin, hoping that Sephiroth's condition would ebb away in the night. He lay there staring at the ceiling, tense and ready to defend himself as he listened to the screams. Crashes soon followed, and Kuja knew that Sephiroth was out of his room. He lost track of time as he lay there in the dark, waiting for something to happen. Eventually he dozed off.
He wasn't sure how long he slept, but the sound of slow, booted footsteps approaching his door from outside made Kuja's eyes flare open. He looked towards the door, where he could see the light from the hallway through the crack beneath the door. He stared at it as the footsteps drew closer. He couldn't stop himself from wincing and clutching the covers more tightly as the sudden sound of an impact and breaking wood filled the air. Sephiroth was on a rampage, breaking furniture, probably slicing up bedding and Terra knew what else. Kuja could hear his maniacal laughter, and he judged that the swordsman was a couple doors down from his room. "I'm not afraid," Kuja insisted stubbornly as he heard something smash, "I'm not afraid."
The noise from down the hall suddenly stopped, and Kuja held his breath. The footsteps resumed, coming closer and closer to his door. He stared at the light emitting from beneath his door and whispered, "Please, don't make me fight you, Sephiroth."
A shadow blocked out the light, and he could hear heavy breathing. A masculine voice was muttering from behind the door, arguing with itself. Kuja couldn't make out the exact words, but he knew, somehow, that Sephiroth was fighting with himself and trying in his own way to protect him. Kuja's eyes widened as the knob on his door rattled. "Don't, Sephiroth…I'm not kidding. Don't make me fight you. You're the only friend I have!" Kuja was mouthing it, fighting tears that came from two different kinds of fears. The foremost fear was, strangely enough, that he would be forced to harm his silver-haired companion. The latter was for his own life. Sometime during his stay here, he had gotten attached to his unpredictable associate. He wasn't normally the sort to worry about others first, but now the thought of unleashing his most powerful spells on Sephiroth was abhorrent. He would do it, if he had to, but he would weep in the process. What would happen then? If Kuja won and killed Sephiroth, the swordsman would be revived eventually, and he might not forgive him. Would he be forced to drag the tall man's corpse to the wall and dump it with the others on the opposite side?
But, he reminded himself, if he lost and Sephiroth killed him, there was a good chance that he would end up crowning that pile, himself. If it came to it, he would try to subdue his dangerous friend…perhaps he could find some way to restrain him until he could work out an escape plan. Maybe he could find someone to help Sephiroth's condition, if he could make it back to Gaia and bring the swordsman with him.
All of this was going through his head as the doorknob turned slowly back and forth, and finally, he heard Sephiroth snarl "NO!" and the turning ceased. The shadow that blotted out the light beneath the door retreated, as did the footsteps. Kuja realized that his ears were ringing from the force of the blood pounding through his veins, and his mouth was dry as though stuffed with cotton. He swallowed several times, trying to work saliva back into his mouth.
All he could think was; "Thank you…thank you," though he didn't know whom exactly he was thanking. Perhaps some divine being, perhaps Sephiroth. All that mattered was that for the time being, he was safe, and he wouldn't be forced to fight the only companion he had. Exhausted by the emotions that had been coursing through him, Kuja closed his eyes, and eventually, he drifted off to sleep.
He was startled out of his sleep less than an hour later by the sound of something tapping against his window. "Oh, no," he mumbled, feeling fear creep up on him again. He didn't want to look, but his eyes opened of their own accord and shifted to the warded and barred window. Sephiroth was hovering outside, and his neon eyes stared into the room, locking with Kuja's. He didn't do anything. He just stared. This wasn't the Sephiroth that Kuja knew. The man's eyes were hot with two kinds of lust…the lust for blood, and the lust for sex. Sephiroth seemed utterly alien and menacing as he stared through the bars at the genome, and Kuja began to move his lips in preparation for a spell. Sephiroth smiled at him, as if reading his thoughts, but the smile was cruel and wicked. This was a man who would rape him and kill him, if he could get inside. The Masamune glinted in the moonlight, and Sephiroth tapped the window with the tip of it, again. He expected Kuja to just give in and let him in. That wasn't going to happen, of course.
Kuja waited; ready to tan Sephiroth's already bronzed skin even further if he moved any closer. Sephiroth's eyes clouded suddenly, and he frowned. Kuja could actually see the Sephiroth he knew surface for a moment, and he saw his lips move feverishly. Sephiroth dropped his sword suddenly and curled his fingers into his hair. Kuja cringed in his bed as the swordsman began to howl, and he watched Sephiroth rise upwards until he was out of sight. He knew he probably shouldn't, but Kuja got out of bed and slowly approached the window. He peered up, craning his neck to see what was happening. Sephiroth was shaking his head, his pale hair flying around him as he struggled with himself. His painful howls became screams again, and he rose higher and higher.
Against his better judgement, Kuja began to unravel the wards protecting his bedroom window. He could sense his companion trying to come back to himself, and he was filled with a dread fear for his safety. "I must be losing my mind," the genome muttered as the last ward fell away and he pulled the bar aside to open the iron grating on the window. Nevertheless, he couldn't abandon Sephiroth. He opened the windowpane and stuck his head out, looking up. Sephiroth was high in the air now, writhing and shouting. Kuja bit his lip, unsure of what he should do…or even what he could do. Sephiroth was in his own personal hell, fighting with himself. There wasn't a damn thing that Kuja could do to aid him in that battle.
The sorcerer's heart nearly stopped at what happened next. Sephiroth's howls were cut off abruptly, and the swordsman began to plummet to the ground. He was unconscious. Acting purely on instinct, Kuja shouted and called a hefty gust of wind to capture the falling man. It wasn't the smoothest landing in the world, but he managed to guide Sephiroth's helpless form to the ground safely. Instead of being smashed and killed on the cobblestones, Sephiroth would only suffer some painful bruises when he woke up. He lay in the courtyard with his silver hair spread around him like a nimbus of light, and his naked sword rested a few feet away. Kuja huffed a relieved sigh and decided that he couldn't wait to unravel the wards on his door. He activated a levitation spell and floated out the window, drifting down to Sephiroth's unconscious form.
Landing lightly beside him, Kuja started to examine the swordsman's body to ascertain how serious his injuries might be. The glint of steel caught his eye, and he glanced at the Masamune and pressed his lips together. First thing was first. He didn't want that thing anywhere near Sephiroth's reach, in case he woke up and was still insane. Kuja stood up and walked to the sword, lifting it carefully. He was surprised by how light it was. His floating spell was still active, so he levitated up to his bedroom window and glided in. He would give Sephiroth his sword later, when he was sure he wouldn't spit him with it. For now, he thought it was best to keep it hidden under his bed. Once this was done, he went back to Sephiroth, who was still lying unconscious.
"Well, my friend…it looks as though I get to play nurse for you." Kuja said softly, stroking the swordsman's sculpted jaw with his fingertips. A grin of relief found its way onto Kuja's lips as Sephiroth groaned weakly. "I'll take care of you, Sephy."
-To be continued