Person A of your OTP has been far away from home for many months doing work they enjoy, but A hasn’t seen any friends or family in person in that entire time, including Person B. On Person A’s birthday, they receive a lot of well-wishes from people back home, but nothing from Person B, which has made Person A feel really depressed and worried that the distance and time apart have caused B to forget about them. A opens the door to an unexpected guest at 11:58 p.m. that night just to see Person B standing there, wrinkled and exhausted from the trip, a suitcase behind them. “Made it with two minutes to spare,” B pants, and then grins. “Happy birthday.”
It figures that they would have come to some harebrained scheme like that.
It leaves an unpleasant taste in his mouth and his fingers tightening around the railing of the balcony. How long would that ruse have lasted? How long would Edea have been able to stay away?
But if she’d stayed away, stayed on the ship…
No. There was no point in dwelling on might have beens. No one could change the past.
At least Cid is giving him answers, and the conversation has turned from its unpleasant start.
"…Yeah," he says, and the sarcasm in his voice is gone, defeated and beaten down into nothing. "That would’ve worked out really well."
An awkward silence follows, uncomfortable in the night, and what else can be said, aside hundreds of apologies that are both unwanted and utterly useless.
"Is there anything else?" Cid asks, his tone heavily implying since we’re already doing this, since we’re already here.
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It sounds so fucking crazy it can’t be anything but raw truth, because if Seifer Almasy has learned anything in twenty-four years, it is that the middle of the night is not the hour of lies and bullshit.
It figures that Leonhart would be the catalyst, that he would throw them all into this warp. That all of this was preordained, and for all his bitching and moaning, Cid cannot do a damn thing to take it back.
And it is all too easy to see Quistis with the whorls on her face and the wings from her back— the vision plagues his nightmares, and how dare his father play on that unspoken fear?
They have come a long way from the revelation Cid walked in here with, and Seifer is not sure what to say. The betrayal of this news runs deep and hollow in his veins— she took Ultimecia’s powers, she accepted the mantle of succession.
"Why didn’t you say something?" After everything, this would have filled in a glaring, gaping hole, and he may have his secrets— although his family has done a damn good job of rooting them up— but his parents carry their own.
Why? Because until it happened, why would he have believed a word of it? Because after it was all said and done, between the betrayals and bouts of silence on both sides, when was there ever a chance? Cid didn’t come here tonight to dump all of this on him, and yet it’s finally found it’s way out of it’s cage.
"And when was I supposed to? You were never even supposed to know about your mother. None of you were ever supposed to know. She and I made the decision to tell you that she died so you wouldn’t have to live with that. But that just backfired like everything else.” His tone is truthful, tired, defeated. He is explaining instead of making excuses. Either way, it doesn’t change anything.
What he knows is watching Edea approach him, her face blurred out and inconstant in his gaze— I know you I know you why do I know you—
What he knows is the nightmare of waking up with blood on his hands and that there are many, many people dead because of him, and he will never know their names.
He knows of possession and ruin and Edea’s fight against a witch’s tyranny.
If you had passed me, I would have been a great SeeD. One stamp of approval, one signature, and he would have laid down his life for Garden and everything it stood for.
Instead, he had turned, drawn into a web of lies and magic and illusions so thickly woven that Seifer sometimes wondered if he were still trapped in Time Compression, still fighting his way back out of it.
“Took her powers?” It bursts out, and it is not what he wants to say.
It is one of those things that becomes easy to assume—-so ingrained in Cid’s own history, he forgets that it isn’t common knowledge.
He takes a deep breath. No matter what he says, it’s going to sound crazy.
"When you were five, Squall went running outside one day, and she went after him. Ultimecia fell from a time warp or something—-now we know it was right after the final fight she had with the others in Time Compression. She was dying. If one of the girls had found her, that would have been it. Your mom took her powers so Ellone or Selphie or Quistis wouldn’t end up like that——she had become a sorceress at that age, and she would have rather died than to have any of them go through life like that. That was the start.”
God, this is not a conversation he wants to be having, and if they weren’t five stories up, he’d climb over the railing and make a run for it. Seifer presses the heels of his hands against his eyes, unable and unwilling to mute the irritated sigh that accompanies it.
Of course Cid feels guilty. Cid should feel guilty, for assaulting him in a worn out Dollet flat and telling him that he wasn’t worth it.
But it was years ago. He has moved on.
"Who knows? Do you wish you hadn’t built Garden? Maybe denied my application, maybe sent me to a fucking public school?”
He was a child, then. Eight years old and filling out the paperwork in careful print, with Cid watching over his shoulder. His parents could have said no.
"I’m fine now," he says flatly. "I don’t know what else you’re looking for from me."
It had to be done—-the same way Edea, in all of her righteous and martyring courage, had to give herself up, to contain the threat, to be one step ahead of the enemy. Even if his regret mattered, it was too late now.
"No." He answers the first question without missing a beat. "It didn’t start out like that. We didn’t sit there and think about how great it would be to have child soldiers. The last thing I wanted was for any child of mine to get dragged into a life that I had been more than happy to escape from.
What you need to know—-what you need to understand——is when Edea took Ultimecia’s powers, she saw everything. We saw everything. Garden was going to be a place for all of those kids we couldn’t do more for, that’s what we wanted. But we started to realize it could never be that simple. It could never just be a school, it could never just be a place for them to call home. It had to come with a price. And we had to live with knowing that we were going to be responsible for that.
But to answer your question, no, because what does it say about believing in what you’re doing if you’re willing to put other people’s children on the line, but not your own? I wanted to keep you close, especially after she left. You were a gunblade prodigy, and by keeping you there, you were able to become a master. SeeD, and the life that came with it, that wasn’t part of the plan. I wanted you to be what I never could be, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put you out there.
—-Why do you think I never passed you?”