Setzer's Birthday

[02.23.02] » by Ashley Valdes

Author's Note: My favorite Final Fantasy character's birthday is February 8, and I thought this would be a cute way to show how much I like him. -_~ Also, a shoutout to GkSetzer, who draws the best fanart EVER!

The sun was just rising on the outskirts of Jidoor, playing across the windy meadows and towards the airship in which the heroes of the world had lived for years. But the only person that used the airship anymore was Setzer Gabbiani. After the fall of Kefka, the heroes had gone on to continue their own lives. They were famous now, though, and every man, woman, and child knew their face wherever they went.

Setzer was left alone on his airship. He watched Locke and Celes get married, and Terra learn to live without magic. He watched Relm grow up into a beautiful young woman, and Gau learn some manners. He saw Doma rebuilt, and the orphans of Mobliz find a new home with King Cyan and Queen Lola. He saw so many things that made his heart glad, but he was often lonely. He had spent such a long time with the Returners that he found it hard to get along without them.

Before, he had enjoyed the blessedness of solitude. He loved being alone, to think and act without anyone in his way. But after the adventures he had had, living without his friends seemed too much to bear. He had got along all right, being rich and all; he was never really hurting for anything. But it was that overwhelming loneliness that ate at his soul. He hadn't seen his friends in two years, and it had been seven years since the fall of Kefka.

This particular morning was the eighth of February, and Setzer's hangover was keeping him more or less bedridden, save the moments that would come upon him quickly every ten minutes or so when he felt like spilling his guts, literally. He turned to drinking now more than ever for comfort. Normally, drinking is a nasty habit, but in Setzer's case, it was possibly fatal. It was simply because Setzer was easily drunk, being rather short and light, and was never very healthy to begin with. He would sometimes smoke, and was prone to long bouts of anorexia in his severe depression. Owzer and the Impresario both continuously warned him to quit smoking and drinking and traveling, and to please rest, if only for a few days! If Setzer had the nerve to look at himself in a mirror once in a while (he never did, being terrified of what he might find), he would see that his friends were not overreacting. He was as gaunt as a skeleton, and his bones showed easily through his pale flesh, which was, as always, horribly scarred. His fingernails had started to turn purple, but Setzer was so in denial that he claimed that nothing was wrong, and painted his nails black so he wouldn't have to look at them. The only thing about him that wasn't damaged, miraculously, was his long, beautifully kept white hair. As sick and skinny as he was, it wasn't thinning at all, which is one of those marvels that science cannot explain, as it goes against everything we've ever been told about being seriously ill.

Once he could rise, though he did feel an awful pain in his chest and a burning sensation in his throat, Setzer washed his face quickly (not daring to look at himself in the process), and set to combing his gorgeous hair. It was probably one of the few things he was really proud of, his hair. It always shone, almost sparkling, and reached down to his waist.

Lagomorph was fast asleep on the dresser, and it made Setzer smile to look at the little bunny sleeping so contentedly. He patted her furry head, and saw the rabbit's nose wiggle.

Leaving Lagomorph, Setzer more or less staggered to the living room. He tripped once or twice, and hit his head against the wall, but he did manage to make it there in one piece. All the noise woke up Lagomorph, and she hopped down the hall from Setzer's bedroom to the living room. She looked at him curiously, her long ears poking out of her enormous hat, and her little black mage robes draped around her white fur. He sank into a large leather chair, his arms hanging limply at his sides. He looked terribly small whenever he sat in that chair, and it often made Lagomorph laugh. But he looked particularly sick today, and it worried her.

He picked up the bottle of whiskey that was on the table next to him, and took a long swig of it. You'd think that hangover would have taught him a lesson… Lagomorph thought to herself. He sighed, setting it down again, and folded his arms across his stomach, closing his eyes thoughtfully.

“You know, Lagomorph,” he said suddenly, the alcohol quite prominent in his slightly slurred speech. “I haven't paid a visit to the Red Light District of Jidoor in some time. You think the girls miss me?” He began laughing maniacally. “They probably think I'm half dead! They're probably thinking that they're done and rid of me! Good Goddesses, Lagomorph, how many times have I been on my deathbed, listening to my Last Rites? I've got them memorized by now! What do you think of that, Lagomorph?!” he said, waving his finger rather madly.

I think you're still quite drunk, Lagomorph said politely, directly into his mind with her lovely British voice. And I think you should rest. Women are not your priority.

Setzer sighed, and calmed down more from quick exhaustion than anything else. “Do you know what tomorrow is, Lagomorph? Tomorrow is my birthday, and I'm going to celebrate it alone again. No one cares, Lagomorph! Not a single gift, no messages, nothing! No offense to you, my piccolo coniglio,” he added quickly. “But you're a rabbit, and I want another human with me!”

You're slipping into Italian again, Setzer. Lagomorph informed him. You do that when you're drunk. Pick one language and stick with it.

Setzer rolled his eyes. “I mean, 'no offense my little rabbit.'” He grabbed a bottle of red wine off the table, quickly filled a glass, and raised it.

“A toast, Lagomorph!” he said. “To my depressing and solitary birthday, which I will spend in agony and tears! Un deve bere simile a vita rosso vino, velocemente e profondamente!” He raised the glass to his lips and polished it off, sighing contentedly, as Lagomorph hurried off to obtain an English-Italian dictionary.

After being sure Lagomorph had left, Setzer reached into the drawer beside him, pulling out a rusty tin box. It had obviously seen better days, but this didn't seem to matter to the gambler, who treated it as though it were in mint condition. Carefully undoing the latches on either side, he lifted the creaking lid.

Inside was a pair of leather work gloves, spotted with oil and grease. They looked worn, and patched in several places. As rough and dirty as they appeared on the outside, the insides were lined with expensive black silk. It made Setzer smile to see them, and he picked one up gingerly, fingering the material. He didn't use them anymore, of course. Now they were just for looking at. But how funny, that she would know him so well, to give him silk and leather gloves….

Setzer shook his head. Tears were welling in his eyes, but he was determined not to cry. Darryl had given the best gifts. They were always well thought out, and showed her love and devotion. He remembered how she had given them to him, in that same box. Back then it had looked its best, with a painting of the Blackjack on the front. And inside had been those gloves. She had smiled as she watched him pull apart the ribbon and paper, and lift those gloves out.

“I made them myself, especially for you,” she had said proudly. “The leather is tough enough to work on our airships, but the silk is gentle enough for your hands. It's also reflective of your personality, Setz.”

Setzer had laughed. “How so?” he questioned, still examining them.

Darryl put her hands on her hips. “The leather is for the rough and rowdy Wandering Gambler. And the silk…” she ended here, gazing at him.

“The silk is for what?” he had asked.

Darryl moved closer to him, and ran a hand down his cheek. Standing on tiptoe, she had put her arms around his neck and kissed his lips gently. He held her in his grasp, and smoothed back her hair. She had looked at him, with those clear, liquid eyes, and whispered very softly:

“The silk is for my gentlemanly lover, Setzer Gabbiani, who picks me up when I fall.”

Setzer dried his eyes on the sleeve of his trenchcoat. “I'm so sorry, Darryl,” he murmured. “I didn't pick you up that last time. You fell, and I didn't pick you up. I should've let myself fall too. I deserve it. Forgive me….”

He started sobbing anew, the tears making his scars burn unmercifully. Setzer buried his face in his hands, ashamed at being so weak that he couldn't control his emotions. Lagomorph entered the room, aghast at the sight of her master crying. She jumped up beside him, the sound of his sobs nearly breaking her heart. Setzer? She asked softly. Setzer, are you all right? It's Darryl, isn't it? He nodded. Oh, Setzer, Darryl wouldn't want you to cry on your birthday! What would she say if she could see you now? Please, Setzer, don't do this! Setzer pushed Lagomorph away, and wiped his eyes. “She'd tell me to pick myself up,” He said. “She'd tell me to keep going. But I'm not even sure if it's worth it to keep going anymore, Lagomorph! Nothing matters!”

What about Terra? Lgomorph asked. What about Locke, and Celes? What about Edgar and Sabin and Relm? What about your friends, Setzer? Do they matter?

“Yes!” Setzer answered quickly. “They matter more than anything!”

Then pick yourself up, and follow me.

Lagomorph led the way, as they left the Blackjack, and headed across the fields towards Jidoor. Why do you think you never got a present from them, Setzer? Why didn't you get a message? If you forgot them, why should they forget you?

Setzer put his hands in his pockets, feeling the crisp grass crunching beneath his boots. “I don't know…” he answered.

I'll tell you why! Lagomorph said sternly. Because why would they send a gift to someone like you, Setzer?!

Setzer looked at Lagomorph sadly. “Am I really that awful?” he asked.

Good Goddesses, even I wouldn't send a gift to you! Lagomorph continued. Especially…

She stopped suddenly, and turned to face him. They were at Jidoor already, but the town was conspicuously empty. Setzer looked around in confusion. When he turned back, Lagomorph was gone.

“Lagomorph?” he called out. “Owzer? Impresario? Where is everybody?!”

Setzer couldn't believe what happened next. It began raining cards! They were everywhere, unexplainably. A few even landed in his hair. “What is this?!” he cried out.

“SURPRISE!” cried a thousand voices in unison. Setzer looked all around him in astonishment. There were hundreds of Jidoorans, Owzer, the Impresario, Maria, and all the Returners!

Setzer was absolutely speechless. His friends were all around him, clamoring. Terra, Duane, Katarin, and the formerly orphaned children were proudly holding a giant cake. Although the smaller children had left a few handprints in their excitement to get to the frosting, it looked wonderful nonetheless. He smiled as some of the younger ones ran up to him and hugged him, recognizing him from the times he had gone to entertain them with card tricks in Mobliz.

Relm, now a woman of seventeen and looking positively gorgeous, kissed him quickly on the cheek before returning to her sketch-in-progress of his surprised face. Gau was there as well, forgetting his manners and screaming, “GAU! GAU!”

Sabin gave him a hug that could have killed a bear, and Edgar flashed a smile at him. Locke and Celes were on either side of him, holding his arms to steady him. They made a wonderful couple, in Setzer's opinion.

Umaro let out a roar, and Mog flew upwards landed on Setzer's shoulders. Gogo was holding Strago, who was still insistent on coming to the party, even though a man his age would have known better and stayed home. Cyan came up, with Lola at his side, and bowed deeply. Setzer couldn't help laughing at this outdated gesture.

There was so much talking and laughing, that Setzer could hardly remember any of it. But he remembered being happy, and being loved. And he remembered Lagomorph whispering:

Why would the send a gift to someone like you when they could see him in person? Friends don't forget each other, Setzer. They'll always be there to pick you up.

“Un deve bere simile a vita rosso vino, velocemente e profondamente!” “One should drink life like red wine, quickly and deeply!

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