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The Secrets of Esper
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June 2007
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LOST 01 (part 2)

Who: Kefka and Sigurd
When: The day they set out on the hunt
Where: jungle, a few miles from the railway's end
What: a chase and an accident
Warning: none
Status: (this part is finished but the adventures go on ^^)

He let out a shaky breath as the both of them went down, soaked limbs curling gently around his shoulders and holding there. It would take a while for reality to hit him--they'd both nearly drowned in just an instant, and he'd been helpless to do anything about it. No training, no Mako, no preparations, nothing... nothing could stand against the forces of nature. They were almost lost in an accident that no one would fully comprehend. Pale blue eyes squeezing shut, he rested his cheek against the officer's chest, able to hear the pounding of his heart beneath sticky flesh. It was hot and uncomfortable, but at the moment, he was too relieved to even care; they were alive. Not necessarily well, but alive. "We were caught up in the moment... it is not uncommon. Put regrets behind now, and just be thankful for whoever or whatever spared us today. We should have died."

"Yes..." Sigurd wound his arms tightly around the smaller form, feeling an enormous wave of release washing through him - Kefka was alive and well. "We were incredibly lucky, both of us. I'm glad you're here with me now." He dropped a kiss on top of the messed up, blond hair. "You're right... We need to get back home somehow. We need shelter at least for a little while."

Smiling always made him feel better--it disarmed the onlooker and settled their minds, even in terrible situations such as these. The grin he sent up at Sigurd was a bit forced, but very Palazzo-like in smugness and control, as though this entire thing had been deliberate. "First, let me have a look at your wound... It appears to be bleeding rather profusely."

Normally, he would have climbed into the man's lap, but this was not a time for cuteness or implied sexuality. He worked himself up to his knees, bare fingers picking through silvery locks to find the source of all the blood. "Are you in pain?"

"Just a little; it's rather blunt." Sigurd helped the other, smoothing back his soaked tresses and keeping them out of the way, so the general could have a good look at the cut. It was some two inches long and fortunately, very clean; most probably, it won't leave a scar on the bronze skin. The crimson droplets trickled down on the officer's face, falling on his once immaculate uniform, but it was probably beyond cleaning anyway.

"We... need to be creative. The survival lessons will come handy now, I believe."

Keen eyes peered down at the bloodied scrape, his pert mouth gradually twisting into a frown. All it needed was a little disinfectant and gauze, perhaps a little medical tape just to be sure, but those supplies were well on their way downriver, along with their car, his gloves, their food, and his medici-- Kefka went rigid all of a sudden, breath hitching, stomach turning as he realized all that they had lost in that little spill. He made sure to recover immediately afterward, pretending that he was just horrified about having to tear into the clean portions of his shirt, but now, his mind was all a-panic. There was no telling how long they'd be out here, and without his medicine... His voice was heavy as he spoke over the tearing of his own shirt, a few strips of cloth laying in his lap. "Hold still while I tie this.. It will not be the best, but it should work."

The little show successfully fooled the pilot, whose mind was more on the way back to the city then on their lost supplies. After all, the whole planet had only three cities; clean-looking water was drinkable and if nothing else, paopu and heartberry trees grew everywhere. If the Guardians were really merciful, the small pocket knife was still at its place, tucked away safely in the inner pocket of his jacket... Sigurd wasn't worried about provisions. The fact, that the rescue team might not find them, was a more pressing issue... What was a mere hour with train and another with a sturdy jeep could take days for them on foot, through the wilderness, which wasn't even fully explored and understood. Dangerous monsters roamed the lands, and they were defenseless.

"Thank you," he said quietly, indeed holding still. He'll have to pray later that their luck will hold out.

He tied the strips of cloth around the other's head with quick, nimble fingers, then gave them a little tug to be sure that everything was secure. And just to lighten the mood a little, he leaned in and kissed the makeshift bandages, tittering softly at his own action. "I think you are good to go, good sir," he murmured as he stood, shrugging off his heavy coat to reveal a pretty white dress shirt that just wouldn't last in these conditions. At least it was a great deal thinner, however, and once free of the suffocating heat of the outer garment, he felt a little better.

It was just... terrifying that he might lose his mind out in that place. Had he been alone, it wouldn't matter at all--the survival instinct prevailed in all states of mind. But Sigurd was too kind-hearted to harm him in the case he snapped. And he wouldn't know what he'd do if he lost the only center of mental strength he had. Perhaps they weren't too far from civilization.

The blonde happened to glance down at his legs, and much to his delight, found that his guns were still strapped securely in their holsters. "We should be safe for a few days," he breathed, reaching down to wipe away any mud that might have tarnished the lovely outsides, "I charged my handguns before I left, but if we are forced to use them, I am uncertain of their stopping power. So please.. stay close."

He offered his hand to Sigurd, gesturing that they make haste. Outside, he was calm; inside, he was slowly losing his grip on rational thought. They would need to move before harsh reality truly set in.

"You make me feel sort of useless, you know," Sigurd scowled, but obediently stood up and shrugged off his jacket. After retrieving the small knife - it was still there, thank the Guardians - he felt a little better. With a casual move, he tossed the garment aside. He looked around, and his brows furrowed. "You know, something tells me that we're on the wrong side of the water. Which means, we'll have to find a way to pass it." While he spoke, he shrugged off his top and wrung it out. He made a face when he found a leaf sticking to his chest. Even he felt dirty, and he could imagine how it was for Kefka.

Putting the top back, he glanced around. "That way, up along the creek - at the shallower parts, it might be easier to find some bridge."

It didn't seem to matter where the both of them where-- when Sigurd's shirt came off, Kefka's eyes were immediately glued to that rippling, tanned abdomen, and they did not move until the cursed shirt covered his body again. At the sight of the leaf, however, he reached up to self-consciously pick at his hair, finding all manner of twigs, leaves, and various unnameable things braided in with the dirtied locks. If there ever was a time he wanted a shower, it was then.

There was no telling how dirty he was... what was crawling in his clothes... A pale eye twitched, his form going visibly rigid. I don't want to be dirty, I don't want to be dirty... What had the doctor said for him to do when he started feeling the panic? Ah, yes. Take his pills. As the blonde began to walk, his hands trailed desperately over his own body, feeling for anything he might have slid into his pockets. But there was nothing. Nothing!

"Fuck," he mumbled under his breath, trying to keep his whirling mind focused as he plunged forward. For both their sakes, they needed to find civilization soon.

"I agree," Sigurd nodded at the curse. "Though, look at the bright side - we wanted some excitement, now we have plenty. The best survival camp ever. Once we come across some clean water, we'll wash and more or less clean our clothes. They you'll feel better." He smiled at the smaller man encouragingly. "We're not as lost as we feel right now. We're SOLDIERs, First Classes both, we're fit enough for survival."

That isn't the problem, dammit! He felt like screaming at Sigurd, lashing out, shoving him backwards, something, anything. But what was left of the day's earlier medicines did a fine job of keeping his fury in check. Kefka tilted his head back a little, another of those fake smiles spreading across his face, eyebrows raised as though not a damned thing was wrong. He had one thing right, though.. Once they were clean, he'd feel much better. "It is just a normal worry, for this sort of situation," he answered slowly, head gradually swiveling back to stare straight ahead, "We are both well-suited for such a time as this. We can hunt, we can sleep outdoors... I am a bit used to the luxurious life, so you will have to forgive me."

If only it was that fucking simple.

Something was off. Sigurd could feel the tension now, recognize the nervous gestures... He had seen Kefka smiling with real joy, he could compare this expression to that. But what was wrong...?

And suddenly, the thought hit home, nearly making him stop. He forgot about the little fact that his friend was under medical care, taking a wide variety of pills to keep his behavior to certain standards. The pilot felt ashamed - how could he forget about that? Deep inside, he knew the answer though - he was glad to see his petite friend happy and vibrant, like he vas back at the academy, and for a few brief years while he managed to make it general. As if he had been used to Kefka being 'normal'... his mind probably chose to ignore the fact, that the real situation was far more sinister.

All his medication, which kept the blond man sane sailed away with the rest of their equipment. Actually... how dangerous was he without them? Sigurd knew about what happened back then, and no matter how he tried to assure himself, it has gotten better, there was a chance that if madness takes over, Kefka might leash out at the nearest target, regardless how he felt about said target in his clear moments. The possibility sent chills down Sigurd's spine.

"Are you alright...?" he asked quietly, knowing it sounded totally lame.

He was shaking. Even without having to look at his little hands, he could feel the jerking of his muscles as they prepared themselves for adrenaline, his paranoid mind doing its work well in winding his body nice and tight. Every step he took, he felt like something was taking two steps closer, something he couldn't see, something he couldn't fight, something he couldn't protect Sigurd or himself from. Damn it all, he knew he should have taken them before they started driving! "Do not ask me that, Sigurd," came his hollow reply, androgynous voice kept low, as if he was trying to prevent himself from hearing his own words, "Please do not ask me that."

It shouldn't be taking effect this soon. He had his pills only four hours before, so he wasn't due to take them again for another two hours... Normally, he didn't notice the spike in mood between ingestion times, as years of medication had actually smoothed over his more violent tendencies. Perhaps it was the panic.. He hadn't been truly scared in almost ten years. Had their trip down river awoken a part of his mind that had been dormant since the last of his murders? He hoped not. That part of himself was the one that almost got him locked away the first time he had an 'episode' in the Academy... "We need to keep moving; it is best I do not think for a while."

If they stopped... if he got a chance to reason with himself.. there was no telling what he'd do.

"If I can help, you know that you can count on me," Sigurd said seriously. "I'll be here for you and I'll try to protect you, just like you promised to protect me."

"You cannot help!" Kefka rounded on the officer, his face contorted in what only could be described as fury. It was a panic attack.. He needed to quiet himself down, keep moving, stay distracted.. "My pills are gone, Sigurd! Gone! Do you know what that means?! I could very well kill the both of us out here, and there are no fucking doctors, no tranquilizers, no other people to keep me off of you! I do not want your death on my hands, so just... stop asking questions!!"

The taller man let out a small sigh. Yes, he understood the seriousness of the situation, but what could he do? He was NOT going to abandon his friend. "If that reassures you, I won't give up easily. I’m a bit stronger than you, and was led to believe that I'm capable to defend myself. Anyway..." he smirked, trying to steer the conversation toward a different topic, "We have more pressing matters than the possible consequences. We need food and water, and I'm getting hungry. We might speed up a little, don't you think?" With the grace of a panther, Sigurd leapt then peered down at the general with his head tilted to the side. "Care for a race?"

Physical exhaustion usually stopped everybody to trying to viciously murder his companions. Once taken to his limits, Kefka would fall asleep easily, and while finding his way in the foliage and on the branches, his mind will be set on calculating his next move, instead of dwelling on the possibilities.

Honestly, he hadn't known what to expect. By the time he realized just what came out of his mouth, Sigurd was already giving back his response, patient and sweet as usual. For once in his life, the little blonde was dumbfounded for an obvious length of time after that reply was issued, pale blue eyes fixed on the officer's one, lips slightly parted, brow creased, and posture slightly slouched. How in the world could anyone look so calm after their only ally in the world of vines and monstrosities just threatened them with their very lives? Then, it occurred to him: anyone couldn't do that, only Sigurd could. That was why he was special to the General, and that was why he'd be damned if some other little blonde waltzed out of his past to just nonchalantly take him away.

The General felt his lips twitch into a grin as that handsome creature literally jumped to his side, his pale head turning out of view as if he wished to hide it. Sigurd's strategy was impeccable; he was able to diffuse Kefka's temper just as easily now as he'd done in the Academy. I really do love you sometimes, you beautiful bastard. The thought was the only one that rang in his mind as he daintily 'hmph'ed, shoved the other man off-balance, then sped off, his pace rather quick for one whose legs were so short. "Is it a race if we have no destination?" he called back, voice tinkling despite the physical movement.

Bingo. For a fleeting moment, the dark-skinned officer felt immensely proud, then he chuckled and launched after his companion. Catching up easily, he held up an index finger, like a teacher. "No destination, but a goal. Food. You know, I'm not sure we couldn't run down some of the local wildlife. We could even hunt." He paused, then smiled widely. "I think I could get used to this."

Hunt? Now there was an idea... He had the guns for killing, Sigurd had the knife for skinning, and there was plenty of wood abound. "You are truly savage," he teased, one blue eye closing briefly in a wink, "Of course, that is assuming you have the stomach for a hunt. Do you think you could handle it?"

Ah, it was just like old times! One challenging the other as they physically exhausted themselves, in a neverending bout for dominance that ended, well, in a pile of limbs and snores at the end of the day. With a mischievous grin, he leaped sideways, right into Sigurd's path, then darted out of the way, lifting his guns out of their holsters. His joints had become much stronger since their younger days, so his movements were nimbler than they'd ever been, his madly pumping arms and legs keeping him at pace with the officer. "Come on, Siggy~!"

Fighting off the laughter, Sigurd growled playfully and threw himself into the wild chase.