I’m looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.
“Welcome to Esthar City!”
“You are entering Ramp0234 to exit into Sector 09”
“Please merge into the flow of local traffic”
“Speed of Flow is presently at: 5 mph”
The rider of the powerful PQK–AX98 propulsion bike ignored the cheerful holographic prompts, and pushed his jets to new dizzying speeds, zigzagging through the traffic to the heated indignation of his fellow motorists. Soon the only thing those angry faces could see was the reflection of the sun rays bouncing off the helmet worn by the speed maniac that had zoomed by them. A few grumpy drivers stuck in the traffic jam grumbled.
“I hope the highway patrols stop that dangerous speed punk!”
The peaceful law-abiding citizens of Esthar would be flabbergasted had they been able to witness the arrival of the ‘speed punk’ at the Presidential Palace. With a violent and noisy swerve of wheels and air-jet thrusters, the shiny bike stopped right in the front smack centre of the Palace’s main stairway. A spot usually reserved for VIPs. However, the guards seemed to recognize the tall and sleekly powerful figure that lithely dismounted from the bike, even though it was completely helmeted and clad in a form fitting black jumpsuit. The rider had a wicked looking gunblade strapped in the back, but no one seemed to be alarmed by it, instead they saluted the armed man smartly with a, “Welcome, sir.”
The figure took off his helmet, and tossed it to one of the waiting guards, revealing shorn blonde hair, intense sea-green eyes, and a wicked scar that streaked his forehead. One of the guards –a newly posted one– sighed dreamily to herself, ‘Whoa! What a hottie!’
“Take it for me to the garage will ya?”
Seifer Almasy knew he’d just made the guard’s day, but then that little baby was sweet! With little perks like that, he shouldn’t really complain about his stint in Esthar. Laguna Loire may look and even act like a goof sometimes, but he sure knew how to work the skin off a guy’s ass! He’d just come back from fighting a fun little colony of Turtapods in the Great Plains, helping the Estharian forces clear out a space for the future Esthar Garden.
Was it just a few weeks ago that he’d arrived leading a small complement of B-Garden SeeDs? They all seemed to have settled down here, feeling quite at home in the enormous Compound that had been erected near Tear’s Point. He was the only one residing in the City, because he was also needed at the Presidential Palace.
He could still remember the great annoyance he felt at being summoned by the Headmaster so very early in that morning of July 4th. He’d had plans for that day! Plans which involved a certain instructor, and exactly how he intended to mow down her prim and proper ways… –To their mutual satisfaction– In his mind, one night had been more than enough time to think things through. Not to mention the fact that it was the second time around he’d asked her the same question… Unbidden, his mind wandered back to Garden, and a certain blonde haired instructor, ‘Quistis, I should’ve taken what you were offering me so unconsciously…’
He thought about their last night together when she had closed her eyes, fully waiting for him to kiss her… Oh, he’d wanted to. Desperately. It had taken all of his self-control to stop himself from tasting those pouty lips, and ravaging that sweet mouth. He’d wanted to imprint himself so deeply on her, that she would never forget him, but he’d sensed that even though her body was more than ready to receive him, her prissy little mind balked at the idea… So, he had forced himself off her. Forced himself to leave her room, to give her enough time to digest everything that had come to pass between them. He wanted her, no, needed her to come to him out of her own free will…
After being controlled by that bitch Ultimecia for such a long time, he understood the fundamental need of being able to choose for yourself how to act, and to take responsibility for those actions. When Tiamat had made the jump into his psyche, the GF had asked him whether or not he wanted the memories of everything he’d done under that bitch’s control to be erased. He’d been tempted, very tempted to accept… But he’d opted to keep remembering. He didn’t want to forget any of the atrocities he’d committed under that fucking witch’s command. He needed to remind himself of what he could become, had been… Other people could argue all day long about how he’d been possessed by Ultimecia, but he knew better. He’d allowed himself to be lured by her words, without thinking about the consequences. Without fucking thinking. –Period–
That bitch Ultimecia had usurped Matron, and under that guise had whispered dark promises directly into in his mind… The promise to fulfil all of his most secret desires. And being the selfish arrogant bastard that he was, he’d allowed himself to be seduced by her filthy words…
The Matron he knew, and remembered with love would’ve never asked him to commit all those despicable acts. When the realization of what he was doing glimmered in his mind, it was already too late… At least Matron had been able to rid herself of Ultimecia, but it had been too late for him. She had him firmly enmeshed in her trap. All the time he’d spent fighting the others, he’d also been fighting himself. In a very perverse way, it had pleased him ferociously whenever the others had beaten the crap out of him, the small part of himself which was still there had felt that it too had won …
‘Argh! Why am I fucking thinkin’ about shit like that!’ Of course, it had all started with the image of Trepe pictured in his mind… He started to scowl immediately, and to curse himself. She’d already made her choice, and most publicly! His frown became more pronounced. It was not enough for the little prick to visit her hotel room, but they’d been also spotted having dinner together! He needed to fucking stop thinking about them, or he would go nuts. He needed to get on with his life, to move on…
“Hey, Seifer! That frown will definitely kill your good looks!”
Seifer turned and saw Kiara Dessu approach him. She was one of the engineers involved in the Project, and had been coming on to him practically since his arrival. Maybe he should take her up on her offer; celibacy was making him go fucking crazy! There was no need to hold himself back now, specially after what he saw on the news screen. His scowl intensified. He’d deliberately missed Selphie’s birthday bash last week, because he knew that he would not be able to control his temper. When he’d seen that broadcast, they were lucky he was in Esthar or he’d probably would’ve been sorely tempted to run that little fuck, Zone, down with Hyperion… –Humph– He still might do it… Just for laughs.
“Hey! Come back to me!”
A hand grabbed his arm, and a pair of large brown eyes smiled up at him impishly. What the hell, why the fuck not? She wanted him, and he was making himself available. He smiled down at her, and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. Kiara stared up into his handsome face, and wondered if she finally got lucky. Sometimes he could be so moody! She knew him to be a ruthless leader, not allowing slack from anyone, but in general his people felt pretty at ease with him. ‘Except for that time when he arrived at the Compound in an extremely foul mood… For a few days after, everyone acted so very carefully around him, trying to make themselves invisible. Including President Laguna himself!’ –Sigh– Even with that scowl on his face… He is sooo hot! Better make sure he doesn’t change his mind!
“So, Seifer, wanna come over my place for dinner?”
Much later that night…
He stared into the myriads of lights that made up Esthar City at night. Kiara’s apartment was on the 67th level, and had a breathtaking view of the city. His own apartment was even higher up on the 90th level, but it was located in Sector 37, nearer the exit to the Great Plains, and the view from there was dominated by Lunatic Pandora’s huge structure. It simply dwarfed everything around it.
He’d known that Esthar City was a huge sprawling metropolis, but being more used to the flatness of Balamb, he’d been more struck by the sheer verticality of the city than by its extension. Most buildings in Esthar were over 50 stories high; as a result, traffic here was multileveled. Upon his arrival, he’d been awed in spite of himself. 30 million people living together in an almost orderly fashion… If he didn’t witness that kind of behaviour almost everyday, he wouldn’t have believed it possible. Fuck, even he was beginning to do shit like wait around for his turn… Living here was turning him into a passive drone!
Unconsciously, his mind returned to B-Garden. Maybe he was being a sap, but he actually missed being there! Ma Dincht and Matron communicated with him almost every week, and he conferred with the Headmaster and Puberty-boy almost every other day, but it was not the same… With the Lunatic Pandora Project ongoing, and the need to clear the site that had been designated for the construction of the future Esthar Garden, he’d been kept too busy to even go home for a nice visit.
Originally, when Johan Piet had offered to shuttle him to B-Garden as part of the test-drive for their new prototype aircraft the ‘AegisM-1’, a much smaller and sleeker version of the Ragnarok, he’d quickly agreed. It gave him the opportunity to attend MG’s birthday and visit with everyone, especially with… He frowned, ‘Fuck! What’s the use? That’s stale water under the bridge…’ He forced himself to visualize the new aircraft… The Aegis was a real beauty. In the end, they used it to scout the Great Plains of Esthar for the test-drive.
At his suggestion, E-Garden was to be built midpoint between Lunar Gate and Tears’ Point, on the border of the Great Salt Lake. It had floored him that not only had they taken his proposal seriously, but that they were actually acting on it! He remembered feeling bored and highly irritated when one of those smarty-pants architects from some fancy firm had suggested that they revised once again, for the umpteenth time, the number of lavatory facilities to be included in the building. He’d looked at Laguna, hoping that the President would have enough initiative to stop the blabbermouth from continuing, but all he’d done was just return his stare with a shrug… That was when he’d lost it! He’d rudely interrupted to say…
“I know some of you guys don’t want to be caught by some monster with your pants down while you’re taking a shit…” There was some sniggering around the board-room, “But shouldn’t we be discussing where Garden is to be built, before we decide if E-Garden is just to become a huge lavatory facility?”
It had been his hope that with that little speech they would excuse him from attending those moronic meetings, but to his great surprise (and secret chagrin) Laguna had looked at him with approval, and from then on he’d been asked to attend every single fucking meeting! He’d hardly had time to breathe, going to and fro E-Garden’s site, Lunatic Pandora and the Presidential Palace, sometimes on the same day! He smirked, he’d been offered an aircraft to shuttle him around, but he’d absolutely refused to be carted around like a patsy.
Laguna, that wily fox, had taken one look at his face, and had immediately offered him the PQK–AX98 Bike… After taking one look at that sleek little baby, he’d accepted immediately. Speeding in the freeway with it was real sweet! It took him longer than if he used an aircraft, but at least he got to manoeuvre his transport himself.
After being Ultimecia’s fucking puppet, he wanted to do his own thing, even if it was something as simple and stupid as being able to drive himself to and fro a place. What was it that ol’ kook Odine called it? Ah…yeah…‘ze assertion of ze ego’. Piet, Ellone’s boyfriend, had offered to give him flying lessons, but with what fucking time? Whenever he was not full of monster guts due to fighting, he was surrounded by the architects and engineers involved in the design of E-Garden. What the hell was the Headmaster thinking when he sent him over here? Shouldn’t Puberty-boy be here instead of him? He knew less than zilch about the inner workings of Garden infrastructure.
Oh, he could give them advise about strategic locations or what was needed in a training centre or in a gym –anything related to training or fighting– but he knew fucking diddly-squat about how Garden was run…
On the other hand, all the fighting had done wonders for his SeeD ranking… Of course, clearing a path in Lunatic Pandora, and leading the fight against a barrage of Behemoths plus a whole pride of Toramas in the Great Plains of Esthar would do just that! In any case, he hadn’t expected any less. He knew the Headmaster wanted his ranking to go up as quickly as possible so that it would actually reflect his experience. He’d said as much to him in private that morning, after he’d dismissed the rest of the team …
“Seifer, you should take the opportunity that President Laguna has given you to raise your SeeD ranking. It should be child’s play for someone with your ability.”
Squall, present at the meeting, regarded Seifer steadily with a slightly challenging look in his eyes, and managed to surprised the latter when he said with an unexpected smirk on his lips, “Good luck, Seifer. . . Do your best!”
Puberty-boy’s tone at the time had seemed to imply that there was more to the mission than helping the Estharian Forces clean up Lunatic Pandora, but he hadn’t cared. He’d welcomed the opportunity to see some action! In any case, as far as he was concerned, Squall was B-Garden’s Commander; it was a given he would know extra shit. Maybe a year ago, before he got fucked up by Ultimecia, he would’ve given everything to be in P-boy’s position, but now… Never in a million years would he want that fucking job! All Leonhart did was hack through mountains and mountains of bureaucratic work! When was the last time he had seen some real action? He smirked thinking, ‘Humph, P-boy would give his eye teeth to be here in my place!’
All the nine SeeDs that had come to Esthar with him, except for Darryl Stevenson, were rookies. All of them were pretty close in terms of age and ranking, with him and Stevenson being the oldest only by a year or so. He knew that Stevenson had fully expected to lead the squad, since in theory he had been SeeD for more than a full year, plus held the higher ranking. Seifer smiled humourlessly when he recalled the expression on Stevenson’s face upon hearing Cid name him the squad leader. He’d only allowed the jackass to question his leadership once, just to show how lenient he could be… They’d been waiting for Chicken-wuss to fly them on Ragnarok to Esthar’s Airstation, when he’d ‘overheard’ Stevenson’s stage whisper to some of the others…
“With all of my SeeD credentials and my superior ranking, I’m by far the most obvious choice to be squad leader…”
Seifer ignored the jackass useless braying. He was too busy feeling put-upon by Trepe. She’d gone to B-City in the only free time he’d had available yesterday. He’d wanted to give her a proper goodbye… He’d been in the process of imagining the various pleasant welcome scenarios he would like her to greet him with, upon his return, when something that moron said to his increasingly fidgety and nervous audience caught his attention…
“… Of course, Mrs. Kramer and that girl, what’s her name…? Rin-something… are infamous Sorceresses, and he was their lapdog…”
Seifer didn’t give a fuck about what a little dipshit like Stevenson thought about him, but it pissed him majorly to hear the jackass slap Matron and Rinoa down! He went over to where the prick was holding audience. The others regarded his approach with various degrees of fear and alarm, but he ignored them. He wanted to insure his target was within range. Once that was accomplished, he casually let Hyperion –which was still inside its heavy case– fall on top of that jackass’s foot. All 50 pounds of it…
“You were in my way, Stevenson…”
One of the others quickly bent to retrieve his case and return it to him.
“Uh…Here you are, sir!”
“ALMASY!!! HOW DARE YOU DROP…!!!”
“Yo, people! LET’S GO!”
Chickenwuss’s arrival had saved Stevenson from further injury; although by the look on Zell’s face, he was also ready to dish out some punishment of his own. He had also overheard what the little dipshit had said about Matron and Rinoa. Seifer had already turned around to board Ragnarok when he heard Stevenson yell in acute pain, again. After that, Dincht caught up with him, and slapped his back with a friendly, “Let’s go, Asshole.” Which he’d answered with an equally amiable, “After you, Chickenwuss…” They understood each other perfectly.
After that little incident, where he thought he’d acted more than nicely, he’d been merciless with the fucker. ‘No one messes with…’ …Two shapely arms encircled his waist, while a soft mouth kissed him between the shoulder blades, and traced a slow path down his spine, over his buttocks…
“Seifer… is lonely… without… you…! –Hmmn– Come back… to bed…”
He closed his eyes as he felt her soft lips and wandering hands caress him. He was naked, not having bothered to put on anything when he left the bed, and she was taking full advantage of his nudity. Gently lifting her hands from him, he turned around to look down into Kiara’s heated eyes. Grabbing her dark tresses, he positioned her mouth and said quietly.
“No. Do me here.”
Much later on…
“Why can’t you stay the night?”
Kiara asked the question petulantly. After the most amazing sex, she’d expected him to at least stay the night. Then sighed, the hottest ones never wanted to stay… She watched him as he began to get dressed, covering his magnificent body with that sleek Gesperthane jumpsuit, a marvel of Estharian technology. The thick black material automatically moulded itself to the powerful contours of his tall body. She tried another tackle.
“Come for dinner tomorrow?”
His lack of commitment made her lose her temper. Turning around on bed to give him a view of her bare back, she mumbled.
“Fine! See if I care! You men…”
Her chin was seized, and a warm mouth sealed her lips with a hot kiss.
Kiara heard the door glide open and then close. Sighing again, she sank into her fluffy pillows which still bore traces of his enticing male scent, and muttered peevishly into the darkness.
“Humph! I should’ve known better! Probably got someone back home! –Sigh– The hot ones always do…”
§ ~ § ~ §
“Arriving at sublevel 88, Crystal Hall 23H”
“Please be careful with your step…”
The lift opened and Kiara stepped out along with the other members of her engineering team. They were accompanied by two SeeDs and a small squad of Estharian soldiers, but she didn’t expect any trouble. She knew the area to be cleared of monsters, otherwise her team wouldn’t have been sent down. Her thoughts turned inevitably to one stubborn, arrogant, incredibly sexy SeeD…
‘Hyne! I shouldn’t let him get to me, but I think I’m falling for him…’ She knew that nothing would come from it. Just because she allowed him to practically fuck her blind every time he got the urge, it didn’t mean that he was ready to commit to her… ‘Damn, Kiara Dessu! Since when did you allow a guy to set up the agenda!?’ Ruefully she answered her own question, ‘Since his name is Seifer Almasy…’ If it were only the sex, amazing though it was, but she knew that it was something more… ‘I know some of the others are jealous of me, ‘cause I got him first… But to get a guy like him, you shouldn’t act coy…’
She was going to enjoy him for as long as she could, ‘Maybe I can even make him change his mind in the long run, and get him to think about a more permanent relationship…’ Kiara managed to surprise herself when she realized that she wouldn’t mind this at all. No. The problem was… Would he? She thought it ironic that for once, it was she the one ready to a make a more serious commitment! The lift doors slid open again, revealing the subject of her thoughts striding towards them. After nodding a greeting her way, he stopped a few yards away to confer with the engineering team leader, Dr. Mara Preston.
At work, it was always like this. He acted courteously towards her, with the right amount of friendliness; because of this she’d thought at first that he wanted to keep their affair a secret from the others. Of course, she realized soon enough that her little theory made no sense, that he never hid the fact that they would sometimes go home or arrive together… Or that time when they all went clubbing, and she’d glued herself to him (to discourage the others). Instead of being annoyed with her blatant display, he had flashed her a lazy grin, and had casually placed an arm around her shoulders. Anyhow, that night she made sure everyone noticed them leaving together…
Sometimes this casual behaviour of his irritated her, and she would flirt with others, to see if she could get a reaction from him, but nothing. ‘Strange… I would’ve pegged him as being the extremely possessive type…’ Kiara narrowed her eyes and frowned. Mara Preston had placed her well manicured hands on Seifer’s forearm, as she gazed coquettishly into his sea green eyes while answering his queries, ‘Hyne, Mara! Keep your damned paws to yourself!’ She smiled in satisfaction when she saw Seifer gently pry the doctor’s claws from his arm, even as he acknowledged her replies.
“Hey, Kia! Will ya stop ogling him, and pay some attention to this?”
Pete Tarkin had said it good humouredly; he and Kia went way back. He was not surprised that she would be screwing Almasy. He’d overheard more than one chick comment around the place on how hot he was… No, what surprised him was the incredible amount of time and energy Kia devoted to a guy who, as far as he’d been able to witness, did not return her regard the same way…
“Geez, Pete! I’ve already done all my calibrations! See?”
Kiara showed her long time friend the portable device where she had recorded all her data. Pete was a fun friend, but right now he was looking at her rather sombrely…
“Uh… Kia, d’you really know what you’re doin’ with that Almasy guy?”
“Huh? You’re not gonna lecture me, right?”
“Nah… But, I’m afraid this guy can really hurt you…”
“What? You think I might actually fall for him?”
Kiara tried to infuse her voice with a teasing quality, but instead she sounded wobbly even to herself… Of course, Pete, who knew her very well, was not fooled at all.
“No, I think you already did, Kia.”
“You are entering Ramp0415 to exit into Sector 37”
“Please merge into the flow of local traffic”
“Speed of Flow is presently: No Limit ”
Seifer sped back to his apartment, he needed to get up early tomorrow for yet another meet with Laguna and E-Garden’s design team. He hadn’t expected to be charged with making such decisions when he’s been assigned onto this mission! He wondered again why the Headmaster had asked him of all people to oversee the project and to represent B-Garden… ‘Fuck, our little instructor would’ve been the better candidate for the post… Oh, but wait, she’s fucking becoming FRT’s First Lady, right?!’
Tomorrow would mark the second month of his arrival to Esthar. He’d been kept so busy that he’d not had the chance to go home to Balamb, not even once! Of course, he’d kept in touch with the others, even Chickenwuss buzzed him from time to time, if only to trade insults… Seifer smiled evilly to himself, they had even agreed to split on a gift for Puberty-boy’s birthday, heh, heh… Too bad he hadn’t been present if only to see P-boy’s expression when he opened the box and saw what was inside! Irv’s photo-images of the event were okay, but it was not the same as being there…
Except for his red-beet face when he’d opened their present, Puberty-boy looked quite content… Even Trepe managed to look less prissy in the various group images Irv had shot his way –he frowned– she was fucking showing way too much skin! ‘Oh shit! What do I care? She’s screwing that moron Zone anyway! Let that littl’ fucker worry about it!’ From what Irv and then Squall told him, Trepe had been going quite often to Timber. The excuse being that she was brokering some deal between B-Garden and FRT… ‘What a fucking lame excuse!’
He felt incredibly annoyed at himself for obsessing over Trepe, again… He couldn’t even blame it on unsatisfied lust, since he’d more than gorged himself on Kiara’s willing body… And yet –he scowled– he couldn’t dissipate the overall feeling of dissatisfaction that had been dodging him this entire fucking week! Nah, scrap that, he’d been irritable this entire fucking month! There was no denying that his body was sated, but… Even now, after a very nice little bout of unmitigated sex with Kia, he was still left with a strange sense of wanting…
The turbo lift doors slid open allowing him to stomp out. ‘Fucking great! This is startin’ to piss me off!’ He slammed the palm of his hand on the ID-plate of his door causing the abused mechanism to complain loudly.
“Dear Resident, the use of excessive force will result in system malfunction…”
He muttered something uncomplimentary under his breath, and was about to hit the ID-plate again with equal force, when the door to his apartment slid open.
“Hyne, Seifer! Why do you always have to be so impatient!?”
§ ~ § ~ §
a/n: Added a soundtrack of when Seifer’s speeding through Esthar’s skyways! The short track is by John Zorn and it’s titled “White And Lazy (Main Title)” from his album Filmworks: 1986-1990. If you get the chance to hear it in its entirety do so! Personally I think it’s a great and coherent piece of fantastic music!