Memories and Happiness
[03.02.00] » by Brightangel
Selphie opened her eyes.
Her right eye blurred, then focussed on a white walled room. Her left eye, for some reason, remained seeing just white.
There was a cool breeze blowing in from the window behind her leaving the fresh scent of cut grass lingering in the room. She could just make out the distant sounds of Balamb Garden's chimes.
The infirmary, she thought.
She reached up and touched the left side of her face. Bandages and gauze covered half her sight. Looking down, she noted that she was dressed in a blue nightshirt.
What happened? She looked around the room and saw the familiar poles of her nunchuku resting against a cabinet.
Then it started coming back to her, slowly. A practice session on her own. A T-Rexaur. Yes, that was right. The fight had been going well.
Going well until she remembered the Rexaur's tail tearing across the left side of her face, knocking her to the ground.
She reached up to her bandaged face, sighed, and tried to remember more.
After the hit, she had tried to focus, but she could barely see. She remembered tasting blood on her lips as she stumbled to her feet in a supreme effort of will.
But she had been too slow. Vividly now, she remembered how the Rexaur had reared its huge head, leapt forward and bit hard into her right leg.
She remembered screaming more in horror than in pain when she heard the dull crunch of her leg splintering, then breaking under the enormous pressure of the creature's jaws.
Her mind snapped back to the infirmary. Her mouth was dry and a pit had opened in her stomach.
Not my legs, she thought desperately, oh please not my legs.
She looked down at the thin blanket which covered her below her waist and grabbed its edge.
She paused, then, and tensed.
Please. Please let me be fine. Please. Her breathing grew more shallow and rapid.
With one quick pull, she tore the blanket off herself.
And broke down into uncontrollable sobs of despair.
She was covered again when the rest visited. They were all there, mostly. Not Zell, not Rinoa. Selphie didn't ask why.
Squall and Irvine had shown concern. Quistis, though, regarded her without emotion.
"Training accidents are a part of our lives, Selphie," she had said when she first entered the infirmary. "Don't expect to remain beautiful forever.".
Squall had frowned and looked away when Quistis had said that, but Irvine had grabbed her by the arm and pulled her roughly outside.
After a while, Quistis had come back in, but Irvine had not.
I can't stand this, Selphie thought to herself. She wanted to make everything bright again, to hear her own bubbly laughter, but it would not come. She opened her mouth to say something, but all that came out was a whimper, and her eyes burned with tears as her mind filled with the images of her scarred leg.
Quistis looked at her, shook her head, then walked out of the infirmary without saying a word.
Squall waited until the staccato clicks of Quistis' boots faded away, then stood up and walked to the side of the bed.
"Just ignore her," he said.
Selphie, still in tears, just shook her head and held up her hand.
Squall sat on the bed next to her. "You have that luck of yours to thank," he said. "Gilgamesh doesn't grant appearances often.".
He stopped when Selphie completely broke down into fits of sobbing.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I'm just no good at this."
Squall then walked quickly out of the infirmary, leaving Selphie alone, holding tightly to herself.
Irvine was sitting next to her when she woke the next morning. He was spinning his hat around on his finger and attempting to flip it over mid-spin.
When he saw she was awake, he smiled, hung his hat on the end of the bed, walked out of the room, and came back with a tray.
"You haven't eaten since you regained consciousness" he said. "Whether or not you're hungry, I'm making sure you eat."
Selphie didn't say anything as Irvine set a small stand on the bed, then placed the tray on it. The glass of juice clinked against the plate of canteen breakfast fare.
She took a piece of bread and bit into it. After chewing for awhile, she poured a little milk into her coffee, took a sip, and tried a bit of the sausage. She didn't look up when Irvine started talking.
"Selph, ever since Ultimacia, you've been in the training centre. Every day, almost every hour. If you aren't there, you're in the fire cave or the forest."
He continued as she started on the eggs.
"You haven't slowed down, you haven't had a break. You…you don't even really talk to us anymore. This isn't about some training accident. You've had worse."
Selphie had begun pushing a small piece of toast around the plate with her fork concentrating intently on the patterns she was making.
"There's something else, Selph. I can see it in your eyes. Please talk to us, to me. I can…"
He sat back in shock as Selphie threw both the tray and the stand on the floor.
"I don't need your pity, Irvine. I don't need you to tell me what's wrong with me. Go spend your time with one of the other 'cuties' in Balamb. That's what you're good at, aren't you?"
"Tell me you didn't mean that, Selphie" He said, and she could see the hurt in his eyes.
Irvine didn't stay after that. He got up, took his hat and walked out.
No one visited her for most of the day. Dr. Kadowaki checked in on her and reassured her that she was on the mend. She hadn't responded.
It was dark outside when Squall, in his dress uniform, called on her.
Selphie forced herself to smile at him.
"Lookin' good" she said.
Squall looked a bit embarrassed. "Dinner at the Dinchts." He looked at her for a second, "You sound better."
"I'm just chasing my tail being laid up in bed like this," she replied. "Irvine just sort of caught me at a bad time. Dr. Kadowaki says that things are looking a bit better."
Squall sighed. "You're still as beautiful as always, Selph." He seemed to feel awkward saying it.
"Thank you" she replied, with as bright a smile as she could give, "and if you go on like that, I'm telling Rinoa.".
This seemed to satisfy Squall, and he stood to leave.
Selphie touched him lightly on his back as he turned.
"Thanks for coming by, Squall. Say hello to everyone."
"Goodnight," he said, and left.
Sephie held her hand to her chest.
"I'm sorry, Squall," It was the same hand that had silently drawn a Death spell out of him. "But It's so much more than that."
She let her mind dwell on Squall for a moment, then on Rinoa, then Zell, briefly on Quistis, then on Irvine.
She remembered him talking to her on the train to Deling city, all that time ago. How her heart had raced and left her more exhilarated than she had ever felt. She remembered his warm hand on her shoulder as she sat at the Ragnarok's helm. She shook her head.
Forgive me, Irvine. I would love to stay with you, but they're calling me, and I've kept them all waiting so long.
She sighed, drew her blanket back, and let her legs hang over the side of the bed. Looking down, Selphie saw the five red scars which ran down her thigh. She lightly traced a finger over them, then slowly stood on her feet and limped to her nunchukus.
They felt heavy in her hands.
I don't want to feel the pain anymore, she thought.
Save me, someone, save me.
She looked around her. There was no one there.
She began humming under her breath.
"Train, train, take us away"
She raised the two poles and held them together in front of her.
"Take us away, far away"
Her singing became quieter as she raised her right arm and dropped her left.
"To the future, we will go". There were tears in her eyes and her voice broke as she sang the last word. The room turned dark and the tall figure of the Reaper rose above her.
Just before the scythe severed her connection with the world, Selphie thought she saw the flick of a pony tail, and a burning feather of fire floating gently down toward her.
"Let me go! Please let me go!" Selphie cried as Irvine held onto her wrists.
"Selph, what are you doing, girl? What are you doing to yourself?"
"Just let me go back to them, please. I can't stay here. I don't belong here any more."
Irvine looked into her unbandaged eye. She could see he knew. Irvine always knew.
"It wasn't your fault," he said, "There was nothing you could have done."
Selphie stopped struggling. Irvine let her wrists go, but held onto her hand.
"Oh Irv, I know there's nothing I could have done," she said as she touched his cheek, "but I should have been there with all of them. I shouldn't have left them."
"Do you know what I see, Irv? Do you know what I see every night when I close my eyes?"
Selphie let go of Irvine's hand and walked back to the side of the bed. She lowered herself slowly onto it, putting her weight on her left side.
"I see Trabia Garden. My beautiful Trabia Garden. I see classes in session. I see Xian at her desk. I see Mey with the children. It's a lovely day. On days like that, we used to open the windows in class to let the light in."
Selphie stared blankly as she continued.
"I can see Xian looking out of a window. She sees streaks of white vapour as the missiles approach. There's no alert, there's no siren. Why should there be? Why would anyone know?" Selphie's voiced seemed almost pleading.
Irvine reached over to Selphie's hand and took it gently.
"I don't see them hit. But I see Xian…I see Xian looking out of the window, then I see the room turn white and she's gone. She just isn't there anymore."
"I can hear the missiles exploding. The walls are cracking. Mey tries to gather the children together. She's strong, but the room is on fire. I hear the children crying. They're all trying to hold on to her, but she can't open the door. It's been blocked."
"They're burning, Irv, they're all burning. Mey's calling me. She's screaming for someone to open the door. There's no one outside, no one to hear her. Mey's screams are getting more desperate now. For mercy's sake, someone help her. I hear her casting sleep spells. She doesn't want them to feel pain. She doesn't want them to suffer."
"One by one, I hear the screams fade. I hear Mey soothing the last of the children as they fall asleep. I can hear her pain. Then, there's nothing but Trabia's dying breath."
"Sometimes it's Mey at the window, sometimes its Xian. Sometimes it's both of them with the children. Don't you see? I should have been with them. I should have died with them, and now…now I can't stop hearing them calling me." A solitary tear formed in her unbandaged eye. She blinked and it made its slow way down her face.
Irvine reached up and gently wiped it away.
"I was right at breakfast, wasn't I?" he said, with sadness in his voice. "It wasn't the scars on your leg. All this time, you've been moving on fast forward. You kept fighting and training, but all the pain did was get worse. It's only when you hurt yourself so badly that it all caught up with you…
But Selph, it doesn't mean you have to leave all of us behind. You don't have to leave me behind."
Selphie shook her head "I don't want to feel guilty anymore. They want me to be with them."
At that, there was a spark in Irvine's eyes. He seemed to be trying to remember something.
"But," he started "but that's not what you said to them. At Trabia, at the graveyard. That's not what you said."
"Selph, do you remember? At the cemetery, when all of us waited at the basketball court?"
"I remember." She said.
"You said that you'd keep playing as long as it takes them to hear. You said that your dream was even bigger and better than before. What happened to that Selphie?"
Irvine gently stroked her face. "They don't want you to die, they don't want you to join them. They want you to live and carry all their dreams for them, to live and to keep playing for them. If you die, all that you shared with them, all that you planned with them is gone, and you really would have lost everything. Stay with us, Selph. Make all their dreams live on, with us."
I'd forgotten. I'd forgotten that day, she thought. I forgot my promise to them. I've been so involved with my own grief, I forgot about my life and everyone in it.
Then, she looked at Irvine. Dearest Irvine.
She pointed behind her head.
"Help me take off my bandage."
Irvine helped her unclip the bandage from behind her head, and slowly unwound it. When it came away, Irvine gently removed the patch from her left eye.
Selphie rubbed her eye a bit and blinked. She touched her face and felt that it was only slightly swollen. Her fingers found a thin scar. She didn't notice. She only looked up at Irvine, who was comfortingly close.
"You'll be with me? You'll help me heal?"
He held her hands tightly as she moved closer.
"Of course, I will, Selph."
Selphie moved closer still, so close that Irvine could feel the warmth of her breath.
"You'll stay by my side forever?"
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
It was then that she was aware of his arms around her, relaxing her completely, and as his lips met hers, she felt a bright light burst from inside her, slowly burning away the darkness, tearing away the cancer that had been eating away at her for so long and, for the first time in a long while, she felt at peace.
After awhile, Irvine gently pulled back, put one arm underneath her legs and the other behind her back, lifted her up and began to walk out of the infirmary.
"And where would you be taking me?"
"Somewhere I think will help you heal, Selph."
Selphie didn't press him. Irvine walked down the hallway, and turned to the main entrance. They both said nothing as he walked past the barriers there, then outside into the cool night air.
Selphie blinked as she saw a familiar shape. She leaned over and kissed Irvine again.
"Thank you," she whispered in his ear.
Irvine, with Selphie still in his arms, kept walking into the starlit night, down the main stairway,
Up to the entrance of the Ragnarok.