[03.02.00] » by Uncreativity
Somewhere under that infamous flower field there lies an old shoe box filled with bits of glass and rusty nails and other action figure torture devices from Seifer's oh-so-enriched childhood. Even as a boy, he wasn't exactly one who shared well with others. He never, ever let the orphans touch his toys - you couldn't trust the Muppet Baby Gang, after all. They were liars and thieves, the lot of 'em, not one qualified to be a Knight, a hero like him...
But that's a different story entirely.
So Seifer's a little touchy about his stuff. That's understandable, isn't it? Growing up in an orphanage, and later Garden, he had few things that he could call his own. Hyperion, an ego the size of Selphie's demonic army of the underworld, the trenchcoat off his back, and the FastiliconMaster 6000 Pro Fishing Pole.
Seifer loathed fishing - that wasn't the point. He ought to have passed the pole onto Raijin years ago - once again, not the point. The point was that he owned the pole, that the pole was his and his alone; therefore he would keep it, whether he used it or not.
So when Fujin asked to borrow it, you can bet he was a tad reluctant. If it had been Raijin, he could have said something like, "No, you'll lose it," and left it at that, but Fujin had to be so... so stupid responsible! It wasn't fair! And he couldn't tell the truth about why he didn't want her to take it, because then he would come off as selfish and possessive and anal in front of his posse who - dumbasses that they were - he actually cared about.
That was the reason why Fujin sat outside with his pole, and why he couldn't say a thing about it.
Seifer stared at the clock in their Balamb hotel room (Yes, the three of them shared a hotel room. Saves on money, ya know? Go right on ahead and get any perverted ideas that you like about the fact. I mean it. Go ahead and fill your mind with perverted ideas, RIGHT NOW! ...nothing happened, of course, but it was fun to imagine, am I right?) as he waited for her to return. As soon as it got dark, he let his impatience get the better of him and decided to make up a reason yell at her.
So he stormed down the pier upon which she lounged, hugging her knees and staring up at the stars, the FastiliconMaster unattended at her side. "What're you doing out so late?" he demanded. It was about 8:00 PM. "Why on earth are you fishing at this hour?"
"THINKING," she replied, her usual harsh tone distant, and maybe even a little sad.
"About what?" That's right, Seifer, he thought, just keep talking and reach for the pole... "You, uh, wanna talk about it?"
"SOMETHING," she paused to make the conscious effort it took to talk normally, "that's been bothering me for a long time now... well, it's silly. Nothing that concerns you, Seifer. I just need to clear my head. You can take your pole and go."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" the former Knight snapped, whipping his hand away from the pole and behind his back. "Are you implying that I only came out here to get my pole?"
"Look, Fujin, I care about you like a dozen times more than that stupid pole so you're gonna tell me your goddamn problem and I'm gonna LISTEN!" he bellowed. If Seifer had the slightest idea of just how easily people pulled his strings he'd jump off a bridge.
"I don't have a last name."
"'Fujin.' My name is Fujin. My whole name. I... I forgot my own last name, Seifer."
"Is that it?" he chuckled. What a stupid problem! And, as much as he wanted to go inside, he decided that it was his task, as a hero, to solve it for her, as usual. "Aww, Fuj, we all forget stuff like that! It's no big deal. Just make up a new one, and write it down somewhere. That's what I did. Now whenever I can't remember my last name, I just check my underwear!" He shuddered whenever he thought what his posse would do without him, but he didn't think of that very often - it never came up. He figured that if he weren't around, like if he died or something, they'd probably just curl up and die with him, which was the way it ought to be anyway, so it didn't cause him too much concern.
"And what would that be?" she asked mischeviously.
"Almasy," he replied, a little hurt that she'd think that he would forget something like that. (He had already forgotten that he had admitted to forgetting things like that.)
She snapped her fingers. Damn. Well, it had been worth a try.
"Why don't we just ask Raijin?" Seifer suggested. "I bet he'll know."
So they headed inside to find their friend, Fujin slightly embarrassed - you'd be too if you forgot your own name and had to ask Raijin.
"Of course I know what it is, ya know?" he had said amiably when they proposed the question. "I remember... 'cause it's the same as mine!"
"WHAT?" Fujin and Seifer exclaimed simultaneously. Then Seifer started laughing so hard that he nearly knocked himself over.
Fujin was not quite as amused. "RAGE!" Kick. "LIES!"
"It's the truth, ya know?" he whimpered. "Don'tcha remember?" The blank expression on her face indicated a negative. "C'mon, think, Fujin! Back to our childhood, ya know?"
Fujin racked her GF-destroyed brain in attempt to figure out what he meant. The furthest back she could remember was entering Balamb Garden... no, wait. Something else surfaced. The image of the sea, and a ship...
"This family's kinda nice, ya know?" a small boy whispered to his best and only friend. "I think they like me!" He and she hid in their room while a couple of adults stood and chatted out on the deck.
"SCREWDRIVER, WHERE?" Young Fujin liked to hunt down stowaway rats on the White SeeD Ship. Even orphans need to have hobbies.
"In the toybox, ya know... didn't ya hear me? They like me, YA KNOW!"
"NOBODY LIKES," Fujin snarled, digging through her toybox until she had found the necklace that she made out of rodent skulls, with which she adorned her neck. She was an unusually crafty and intelligent little girl, able to make fun things like necklaces and (more importantly) weapons out of even the most ordinary household items. (Good for her!)
She continued the screwdriver search.
"Don't scare 'em, ya know!" he whimpered. "This is our chance, ya know?"
"GO, THEN. CARE, NOT." She triumphantly pulled out her screwdriver, and momentarily held it over her head like a torch or a sacred thing. "GOTCHA!"
"Don't say that, ya know?" he started to tear up. "I won't never ever leave ya alone!"
"HOORAY," she spat sarcastically. "LEAVING, NOW. CHU-CHUS, KILL."
"FUJIN!" The woman in black, that irritating, here-again-gone-again Matron who spent most of her time at a lighthouse orphanage on shore, appeared from nowhere. "What have I told you about playing with screwdrivers? They're dangerous! Someone could lose an eye!"
"That's not it, ya know?" Raijin said. "How about I just tell y-"
"NO! HELP, UNNECESSARY!!"
"Fujie, Fujie, look, ya know!" the little boy exclaimed, running around in circles like a chocobo with its head cut off. "Look at my pants!"
"RAGE!" 'Fujie,' who would have brutally murdered anybody else who called her that, hopped off of the kid whose face she had been pummeling and punched little Raijin in the stomach.
The boy gasped for breath, then said, "Ya know, Matron said that onna these days I'm gonna be all bigger than ya an' when ya hit me like that it won't even bother me, ya know? THEN what're ya gonna do?" She would make him eat those words later in life. "Don'tcha like my pants?"
"NOT PANTS." He had one of those big, black, plastic garbage bags on his waist, tied with an old bungee cord.
"Yes they are! I made 'em myself! I can make stuff just like my bestest friend Fujie, ya know?"
She frowned. She really hoped that he wasn't telling people that. "NOT PANTS. TRASH BAG."
"It was a trash bag," he corrected. "Now it's pants! And neat ones, too!"
"Raijin!" Once again, Edea appeared out of nowhere. She liked to do that. "What have I told you about dumping garbage onto the floor? What's wrong with the clothes I buy you?"
"They're not baggy enough, ya know?" And he started to giggle. "Get it? BAGGY!"
"WOW," Fujin said. "RAIJIN, STUPID."
"Yeah. Sometimes it like... totally blows your mind," Seifer mused.
"That's not the point, ya know!" Raijin yelled. "Don't ya remember anything?" Crickets chirping. "When we were adopted, ya know?" Chirp, chirp. "By the guy who had that weird speech impediment?"
"REMEMBER!" Fujin exclaimed, feeling quite proud of herself.
"And that's why we have the same last name, ya know?"
"That's all well and good," Seifer said slowly, calmly, attempting to simulate patience, "except one thing you're leaving out."
"What is the name?"
Raijin took a long pause to think about that one, and then started to untie his belt. "Hold on, let me check my underwear..." Fujin slid her eyepatch over her good eye, making Seifer regret having two. "Drumroll, please!"
"Drumroll!" he insisted. "Ya know, drumroll!"
"We are not making drumroll noises, Raijin," Seifer grumbled. "Hurry up and look at your damn drawers."
"Fujin's and my last name is... duhduhduhd-"
He pouted. Fujin and Seifer could be such fuddy-duddies sometimes... "'Hefty.'"
Fujin ripped off the patch entirely. "WHAT? LET SEE!" She yanked on his pants and looked inside. Seifer found this very amusing, but was smarter than Raijin in that when he found such things amusing he did not point them out, and therefore had no reason for limping afterward.
"FUJIN!" Raijin squeaked, not exactly sure what to do in such a situation, brain racing in a pathetic attempt to find a solution that wouldn't result in pain. "S-stop that, ya know??"
"HEFTY..." she read out loud. "MORON! NOT UNDERWEAR! TRASH SACK!"
"Then... I dunno, ya know," Raijin said after a pause. "I guess we don't have a last name."
"Oh well," Seifer said, shrugging. "Guess you don't then." After all, it was not he who did not have one.
Fujin sighed, but suddenly brightened up. "IDEA! BORROW, YOURS!" she tapped Seifer on the chest.
He blinked. "You mean like... Fujin and Raijin Almasy?"
"NO, NO, NO. FUJIN ALMASY... RAIJIN HEFTY!"
"I kinda like Raijin Hefty, ya know?" an ever-optimistic Raijin bubbled. "Hefty Hefty Hefty!"
"CAN I?" Fujin asked sweetly, purposely ignoring Raijin for the moment. After all, she was only human, and it wasn't humanly possible to keep him in line all of the time. "PLEASE?"
"Well..." A fishing pole was one thing, but a name was another entirely! What would she want next, his friggin' kidneys? "I'm sure he has some real underwear somewhere. We just gotta look for it."
"Wait a minute!" Raijin protested. "I don't want you guys digging through my stuff!"
But they were already digging through his stuff.
"I got Ziplock, Gladlock, and Pac'n'Save," Seifer announced.
"ALBERTSONS. SHUR-FINE... HINKY DINKY?" She guffawed.
Raijin's brown skin flushed red as he snatched all of the sacks away from his friends. "I'll have ya know that Hinky Dinky is a perfectly real store with low, low prices."
"Well... looks like you got plenty of choices," Seifer attempted to cheer her up, although only because he was feeling not only selfish, possessive, and anal, but also lazy. He wanted to solve the matter as quickly as possible so he could do... something that wasn't solving the matter. (The fact that he had nothing better to do played absolutely no role in the situation.)
Fujin sighed. "DEPRESSED." Then she curled up on her bed and got that I'd-cry-if-I-didn't-supress-all-normal-emotions look on her face again.
Seifer groaned. Why did she have to do that? Now he felt bad for not caring. Goddamn emotion-manipulating Fujin. "If you want, we can call Garden. I'm sure you needed to give a last name to register, and so they'll probably have it on record."
"SMART!" Fujin complimented. Seifer was just so cute and intelligent and... cute! A perfect example of why she would love to be Fujin Almasy. Of course, she saw that he didn't want that - and that it had been inappropriate to ask. All the same, she'd be getting her real name now, which was just as good... she planned to be Fujin Almasy legitimate someday anyway.
Seifer picked up the inn's phone and started to dial B-Garden's office.
"W-wait a minute!" Raijin protested. "We're only supposed to make local calls!"
"Balamb Garden is a local call," Seifer replied, rolling his eyes.
"No it's not, ya know? Now that it flies, it's on a Galbadian cellular plan," Raijin explained.
"Damn you, GT&T!" Seifer cried. "If I was still a Knight I'd..."
"Compress time an' kill 'em that way?" Raijin guessed. Both Seifer and Fujin shot him such dirty looks that he winced.
"NOW..?" Fujin asked, still confident that Seifer wouldn't let her down.
Which of course he didn't. "Now... we call from Chicken-Wuss's house."
* * *
"Uh-huh. Okay. Goodbye." The woman hung up, a pale, distressed look on her face.
"What is it, Ma?"
"Zell, honey, I have bad news. Nana has grippe again. Do you think you'll be all right by yourself here for a few days while I go take care of her?"
"Sure, Ma!" her son yelped a little too excitedly. She'd never let him stay home alone before - although there might have been a reason for that. "I'll make you proud!"
Mrs. Dincht smiled. Her son was 17 now, a SeeD, and he saved the world... so she'd give him a chance. She started laying down the rules as she packed her bags. "No parties. Don't invite that evil Tilmitt girl over at all."
"She's not evil, Ma, she's just..." He took a second to think of a way to finish the sentence. How could one describe Selphie Tilmitt as anything besides disturbingly, horribly, frighteningly, mind-blowingly, ruler-of-the-underworldly, goat-sacrificingly, hair-freakishly evil? "good-impaired."
"In fact, don't invite any of your friends over."
"But Ma~a...!" Zell whined. He had not believed that she could suck the fun out of leaving him home alone, but his faith quickly returned.
"No buts!" she snapped. "I'm going to leave a list of chores for you, and I want them done by the time I get back."
"No long-distance calls, and keep the place clean."
"I'm expecting there to be food in the fridge when I return."
"And change your underwear!"
"EVERY SINGLE DAY."
"I left you a casserole for dinner, so don't you dare order out. That much junk food isn't good for you."
"And no smoking!"
He gasped. "I don't smoke, Ma!"
Mrs. Dincht put her hands on her hips. "Don't you lie to me, Zell Erkenbleckelknickenshire Dincht!"
"I'm not lyin', Ma!" he whined, wondering if that was his real middle name or just one she made up to pick on him for being so absent-minded. Lousy GFs.
"Let me see your pockets." He emptied his pockets. "The back ones too. Turn around."
"NOW," she said in that scary you-SO-do-not-want-to-screw-with-me-right-now voice that made the rest of the Muppet Baby Gang glad they didn't have parents.
Zell reluctantly turned around, revealing a large, cigarette pack-shaped box on one of his back pockets.
"What's that?" Mrs. Dincht demanded.
Zell let out a long, drawn-out 'um...' before replying, "That's just my deck of Triple Triad cards, Ma."
"Let me see."
"Don't you trust me, Ma?" Zell whimpered, batting his eyes oh-so-innocently.
"Let me see," she repeated. He shrugged, reached into his back pocket, and pulled out an official Triple Triad Starter Deck. Satisfied, Mrs. Dincht smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Okay then. Love you." She headed towards the door, but stopped halfway there. "Wait, do you want me to write you up a list of emergency numbers?"
"I'll be fine, Ma," Zell insisted as he "helped" (shoved) her out the door.
The second she had left he started to dance around, singing a happy little song. "Hell yeah! Hella hella yeah! Yeah, hell, yeah! Hella yeah yeah!" He opened up his Triple Triad pack and pulled out a Malboro, (a neat little trick Irvine had taught him) and lit it on the stove. Then he decided that wasn't enough and lit four more, so he had five cigarettes nearly falling out of his face as he skipped and crooned and pranced about the house.
And then the doorbell rang.
"Aww, hell, she came back!" It never occured to him that his mother would have no reason to ring the bell. Zell was kind of slow in that sense, as well as a plethora of other senses that one mere fanfiction could never dream of covering. He butted out all of the Malboros on the sink and then dumped them down the garbage disposal, but the place still smelled like smoke. He couldn't open the window, because Ma would see him. "Pan-hell-ic!" he exclaimed.
"Hey, Chicken-Wuss!" yelled a voice from outside. "Come out and play!"
Zell shuddered. If there was anything in any time worse than Ma Dincht, (operative word being "if") it was Seifer Almasy. "What the hell do you want?" he shouted as he opened the door to see our protagonists, the ex-Disciplinary Committee, smirking down at him.
"We need to use your phone, ya know?" Raijin explained.
"EMERGENCY!" Fujin chimed in, and they nodded at each other simultaneously. Their timing was unnervingly perfect, as usual, and it became evident to Seifer that maybe the trio spent a little too much quality time together.
Zell paused. "I don't think Ma wants me having anyone over."
"But this is important," Seifer persuaded. "Do you think we'd come to you if it wasn't life-or-death, Chicken-Wuss?
Zell paused, taking the time it required for him to process such information. "I... guess... not... but Ma said specifically: No parties, no Selphie, and no friends."
"We're not your friends." Seifer pushed Chicken-Wuss out of the way and let himself into the house.
"Geez, it smells like smoke in here, ya know?"
Fujin brightened up. "CIGARS?" she said hopefully. With the exception of punting Raijin across the room and oogling Seifer, there was nothing in the world Fujin _______ enjoyed more than smoking a good cigar. Once Raijin read a psychology book (Psychoanalysis For Dummies - The Color Picture Edition) and tried to point out some Freudian theories on just why she might enjoy such a passtime, but all he got for that was another bruise on the shin, and the useful knowledge of one more thing NOT to say to Fujin.
"Naw, all I got are Malboros - and Ma said no smoking!"
"Do you do everything your Ma says?" Seifer asked. And though he was smiling on the outside, we all know that he was really just sad and lonely and longing for love inside, like all bullies... actually he was irritated because he couldn't come up with a better taunt. Lousy dumbass Fujin and Raijin with their contageous... dumbassness! he thought to himself. Why can't smart people follow me around and do whatever I say?
Meanwhile, Raijin had made his way into the kitchen. "Heeeey, ya got any beer?" Don't let him fool you, though, Raijin is actually a very responsible, moderated drinker.
Zell grabbed one of Raijin's arms in a pathetic attempt to stop him. "Stay out of there! I'm not supposed to-"
"MAGAZINES, BORING." Fujin gruffly commented, picking up random magazines, thumbing through them, and tossing them onto the floor.
"Don't touch those or Ma's gonna-"
"Let's order some pizza!" Seifer suggested, pulling out the phone book. "CW's treat!"
"But Ma said-"
"Arright, ya know!" Raijin exclaimed. "I found the beer, ya know!"
"I'm not allowed to-"
"Hey Xu, long time," Seifer said on the phone. "Yeah, I'm looking for a kid named Michael Hunt. He goes by Mike... oh, yeah, he likes to skip class so you better announce it over the intercom..."
Fujin came tumbling down the stairs with a rifle, and pointed it at Zell's chest. "BANG!" she shouted.
"Fujin, Fujin! Skeet shootin', ya know!" Raijin emerged from the kitchen with an armful of the Dinchts' best china.
"AUUUGGHH! PUT THAT DOWN!" Zell, finally finding a decisive action, snatched the plates away and headed back into the kitchen.
Nevertheless, as he set them on the counter, he heard the sound of exploding pottery outside. He dashed into the living room to find that Raijin was throwing houseplants for his friend to shoot down. Meanwhile, Seifer chatted on 24 Hour Sorceress' Friends Hotline.
"Why yes, my life is going through changes! You're as good as the Sorceresses on TV! Are you in need of a Knight?"
"SEIFER!" Fujin bellowed. "KNIGHT, STOP! PROMISED!" Seifer often 'forgot' promises that he never actually forgot, and she could never pin him for it because of his constant GF abuse.
"Okay, okay! Geez, Fujin, I was just makin' conversation." Seifer rolled his eyes. "I'm not really gonna be her Knight."
Raijin suddenly jumped out of the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. "Um... don't go in there, ya know? I mean, 'cause like, I'm not sayin' the toilet's overflowin', but if that would upset ya then maybe-"
The last straw. "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" Zell screamed.
"But we're just chillin' with ya, Chicken-Wuss!" Seifer laughed as Zell threw him into a mud puddle on thes treet. He laughed because any evening spent tormenting Zell Dincht was an evening put to good use, and one that would be treasured forever, even when his once white trenchcoat dripped with mud.
His good mood morphed into his usual mood when Fujin and then Raijin landed in the puddle next to him, both splashing his face. "Come on, let's go," he said as he stood up and brushed all he could of the grime off his clothes.
"GARDEN, CALL?" Fujin asked anxiously.
"Yeah," he answered with disinterest, wondering just how much the dry-cleaning bill could come to. He knew those sneaky drycleaning bastards would stick him for much more than it was worth. "Lousy bloodsucking... I swear, if I was still a Knight..."
"You have no last name."
"They said you registered with just 'Fujin.' Only Fujin. Same for Raijin here. I blame Garden. You can't let people in without 'em giving their last names. I'll bet no one even noticed. They're all incompetent, and for another matter-"
"I remember now, ya know!" Raijin interrupted a rant that would have gone on all day had he not. "Things went bad at the foster home, ya know, and we both disowned the guy with the weird speech impediment, ya know? Then we came to Garden but we didn't have last names anymore, ya know?"
"Mystery solved!" Seifer exclaimed. "So who wants ice cream?"
"Oh oh! Me, me, ya know!" Raijin jumped up and down and waved his arm in the air. A single person could not possibly look any more ridiculous than he did at that moment.
But Fujin just sighed. "YOU, GO."
"Don'tcha wanna come?" Seifer asked, a tiny hint of concern peeking through.
"NO. NEED, THINK. ALONE." She forced one of those phony everything-is-all-right smiles before she turned away and headed back down the pier.
Fujin managed to find a little solitude for nearly a half hour, and during this time she let herself think things over. Maybe Seifer was right. Maybe it shouldn't bother her. Maybe she had no right to be so upset... but... maybe she wasn't upset because of the name, so much, as the fact that, when it all boiled down to it, Seifer couldn't care less. Seifer didn't care, Seifer didn't care, and that was worse than forgetting a hundred thousand last names.
Although, if you had a hundred thousand last names you'd probably be glad to lose them.
"Fujin?" Seifer had managed to come up behind her without her even noticing. He held an ice cream cone in either hand, one stacked high with ice creams of all flavors, dripping with chocolate syrup and sprinkles and crunched up cookie crums... and the other a simple lump of vanilla. "I brought you some ice cream... sugarless, fatless, low-cal soy vanilla, or maybe it's cold styrafoam, I can never tell..."
"THANKS," she mumbled half-heartedly as she took the cone.
He plopped down next to her. "Does it really bug you that much?"
"...I guess so," she admitted eventually. "I don't know why. It's stupid."
He already regretted what he had decided to do. "You can have mine, if you want. I don't mind."
"Yes you do. You just don't want me moping around so much... which is understandable. I've been moody. Sorry." She always leveled with him, and was apologizing even slightly sincerely.
"I didn't say-"
"Don't worry about it. A name isn't something you just throw around. I shouldn't have asked. My bad. If it helps, I don't think of you as possessive, selfish, or anal."
How the hell does she...? "No, I mean it! I really don't mind. In fact... I want you to be Fujin Almasy."
She lifted her face and looked him in the eye with genuine surprise. "You... do?"
"Well... well, yeah! I mean... I don't... I can't do much for you and Raijin. And most of the time I don't try. But... I can do this. I know it'll make you happy, and I know you wouldn't do anything to disgrace the good name Almasy," she wasn't sure whether he was going for irony or being deluded again, "and... uh... we're like family anyway, so..."
"SWEET!" Fujin exclaimed as she tackled him with a hug. "THANKS!"
She hopped up and grabbed his arm. "HURRY! WANT, BRAG! TELL RAIJIN!"
He made a bit of a show of forcing himself to his feet and being dragged behind her as she dashed back to the hotel room.
So Seifer Almasy didn't like to share. He knew that it was the right thing to do. No, it was the heroic and valiant thing to do. Real Knights always stood up to the highest code of chivalry. You wouldn't see Mr. Kinkypants Leader-boy giving away his name, no sir. He wasn't chivalrous. He wasn't a hero. Squall was a Goofus to Seifer's Gallant, a Gary to his Ash, a Roy to his Sigfried.
These thoughts made Seifer smile. (Except for the Sigfried and Roy one, that he pushed out of his mind as if it had never appeared in the first place.)
People would undoubtably get the wrong idea... but most people already had the wrong idea. It would be weird, introducing themselves as Seifer and Fujin Almasy, and Raijin Hefty. And she came before him alphabetically now...
Despite such things, he saved the day, as usual.
And what's more, he proved just how willing he was to make sacrifices for a true, dear friend.
The name "Seifer Deathblade" had an awfully cool ring to it.