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The Secrets of Esper
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June 2007
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LOST 3 (part 2)

Who: Kefka, Sigurd, NPCs
When: same day as the last part and one after it
Where: Esperian jungles
What: confessions and the rescue team's arrival
Warning: none
Status: Finished (in every sense of the word)

Note: Permission to godmod was given.

The battle went on in the circle. Sigurd slowly realized that his opponent was a master of the weapon, but he wasn’t too good with unarmed close combat; so he just tried to get closer to deliver a punch or a kick. The pilot didn’t want to seriously injure the hunter. Nathee got more and more furious after a successful hit and after ten minutes, Sigurd was bleeding from various cuts. At this point, the young hunter was determined to simply not let his opponent in arm’s length; the whip cracked like gunfire, and the pilot had to be as quick as possible; fortunately, with the mako in his system this wasn’t too hard.

Nathee cursed and struck out then cried triumphantly as Sigurd blocked with his arm and the strap wound itself around his wrist. However, in the next moment, the Gear officer flicked his wrist, grabbed the strap and pulled with all his might. As Nathee had a strong grip on the handle and he even tightened it as he realized Sigurd wants to disarm him, he suddenly found himself soaring through the air and landing face down in the dirt.

How was the silver-haired man able to do that?? Nobody was that strong- but he couldn’t get far in pondering. His opponent was kneeling on his back in the next moment, and pressing a knife against the nape of the hunter’s neck.

After a few long moments, and complete, eerie silence, Sigurd stood up and threw down the knife. He was not about to kill one of his own – never again. This was his tribe.

He looked at the elders and tried to open his mind that they might all hear: “I won.” The priestess nodded, the advisor elder claimed his victory and in the next moment, Sigurd cringed as a torrent of different voices crashed against his mind, praises and cheering, along with the ‘real’ chatter, cries, laughter around him. Hastily, he tried to shut them out but his head was already aching when he managed. The fact that he was alive, dimmed his pain, though.

He'd never been more relieved in his life. All pride and dignity aside, he shoved past dark-skinned bodies, his elbows jamming roughly into ribs and stomachs. A moment later, he was freed from the crowd, and in a flurry of arms and legs, sprinted toward the victorious other. He was still standing, he was still standing, he was still standing...! "Sigurd!" he cried out, finishing the distance between them in a rather comical leap. His heart was racing within his chest; as silly as it was, he'd thought for a moment that he'd never be able to touch this warm skin again. One arm wrapped around the officer's waist, the hand of his other gently trailed down sweat-slicked cheeks and brow.

Tiny kisses were peppered upon the noble curve of the half-native's jaw and chin, then down his neck, eventually stilling as he rested his own head against Sigurd's chest. The embrace he wound about the other was tender, as though he was afraid of doing further harm to his beloved. "Are you all right..?" he murmured, taking careful note of the cuts he could see, "They will let you rest, will they not?"

"I think they will," the pilot murmured back, hugging his small-framed companion tightly. He buried his fingers into the cornsilk hair, inhaling the scent of the general. "I'm glad I made it, too. Would have hated to give you up to Nathee."

The crowd opened, revealing the elders and the defeated hunter; even on his dark face, the blush was visible, but he stood straight and he offered his hand for Sigurd. The officer nodded with a slight, serious smile and accepted the other's congratulation. Sherik looked solemn as well, placing a hand on the silvery-haired man's shoulder. His deep voice was calm as he spoke up in the pilot's head. "You truly are my sister's son, Silver-top. We'll be true to our words and you'll be always welcome as long as your intentions are friendly. What is your name?"

"Sigurd," the officer replied then winced. He massaged his temple a little - the pain just intensified with every passing minute. Darnit, not now...!

This was certainly strange. They looked like they were speaking, taking into consideration facial expressions and movements, but no one's mouth was moving at all. Maybe they were-- wait. Hell, he didn't want to know. Whoever Nathee was, whatever they intended to happen to either one of them, Kefka did not care in the least. He'd had quite enough of this forsaken jungle and its filthy people. As soon as Sigurd had recovered, he was going to find a way back to the city, and he'd be damned if he ever came back. This was the second time he'd almost lost the other now; he wasn't about to go for a third.

Keen blue eyes peered up as dark fingers touched his temples, immediately recognizing that pained expression that tugged across the officer's face. Frowning, he glanced about for a place where Sigurd could sit, as well as water. "Siggy." His voice was dead serious as he began to maneuver the taller male toward the elders' hut, where he was certain he'd seen the female sit a few minutes ago. "Whatever you are doing, stop.. Tell them you need to rest and be done with it."

"It's alright... Not you are the only one here without medication," Sigurd replied but he was thankful that he could settle down. He gritted his teeth against the searing hot wave of agony splashing against the inside of his skull, and lowered his head into his hand, placing his elbow on his thigh. "It's a simple headache. I suppose, this... unusual type of communication tires me more than it should, but I'm not used to it. I had a few similar ones before, but the doctors say, it can't be serious. It just hurts. Nnnh." His hand twitched though at the next pain-wave - it was so strong, even for a SOLDIER like him...

The priestess walked up to them with a concerned face. "Sigurd, what is it...?"

"My... head hurts..." the pilot found he had to struggle with forming proper thoughts. "Can I have a little rest...?"

The woman just nodded firmly and gently helped Sigurd to stand. He gestured to the soldiers to follow, and she started to walk toward one of the buildings - maybe her own abode, as it was bigger than the average.

Had there not been dozens of villagers here and had he one more gun, he would have blown some brains out and taken care of Sigurd himself. Of course, the woman probably knew what she was doing, and could probably do a better job of tending to him than Kefka could, but still... these people seemed hell-bent on keeping the other here. The blonde followed closely, even though he wasn't invited; maybe it was exhaustion or stress, but for whatever reason, the little general was careless around the ones carrying weapons. He was about to go into one of his panic attacks again--he could hear the muddled conversations of his many consciences--but a few deep breaths and another concern kept him from losing it. Sigurd was in pain, and he needed to watch over him. He finally caught up to the other male and immediately clasped one of his hands, determined not to be pulled off for any reason.

Fortunately, nobody even tried to separate him from the Gear officer. The priestess' home was pleasantly, and a bit surprisingly cool, mostly thanks to the huge tree leaning over it, sheltering the building from the sun's rays. The woman gently pressing Sigurd down on a bed covered with soft furs. Then, she immediately began to gather various things from the numerous baskets, jars and pots all around. She fetched water and took a green, glassy orb from a bowl - a materia. In the middle, there was a shallow pit, obviously for fire, and as she held out the spell-orb toward it, flames flared up in it. Ignoring Kefka completely, the woman began to brew something - most probably some pain-reliever.

Sigurd closed his only gem-blue eye and his jaw was firmly set as he tried to not claw at his own temple - he had never experienced something like that before. His hand searched for the petite general's, to draw some strength and reassurance from his presence.

It was only after he'd stepped out of the rays of the sun that he realized just how his skin had burned; in the coolness of the home, he could feel his face pulling rather painfully. Well, this was just wonderful.. Once Sigurd was laid back against the bed, he knelt at his side, trying to keep out of the way and as near to him as possible, all at once. He wasn't aware of the officer's questing hand for a few moments, the glowing of his Mako-enhanced eyes rather eerie in the darkened room. The effect was only momentary once the flames came to life, and nervously, he shifted his attention back to the officer. Pale fingers grasped that appendage, lifting it up so he could kiss each knuckle and digit with all the comfort he could manage. He cradled it against his cheek afterward, reaching out with his right hand to tenderly brush stray locks of hair from his forehead. "The pain will stop soon.."

"I hope... Aah-" Sigurd's body stiffened for a moment. "Never trust doctors. I'll have to see one of the better ones... I can't let this get into my way." He took a deep breath. "I'm glad you're here with me, Kefka. You're taking good care of me like you promised."

His pink lips parted into a faint smile, a soft laugh even lifting from his mouth, but the expression was more for show than anything. His eyes were burning with a weakness he preferred to keep private, throat strangely dry, heart aching; the longer he looked down at Sigurd, the more afraid he felt. Sure, it was just a headache, but what if there was a tumor causing these headaches, and no one knew about it? What if he was sick, and this was just the beginning of a slow, painful death..? Blinking rapidly, he pressed his lips against the other's in a soft kiss, then leaned back to plant more kisses on his cheek. "Once we get back to the city, I will find the best doctor on the planet to find out what is causing you such pain... I swear it."

It... helped a little. Sigurd was able to smile and nuzzle his little lover affectionately. "Thank you. I'm sure we'll be back in a few days and then... we'll celebrate, hmm? Together." He paused for a moment then added on a whisper. "You saved me once before. You came back to my life just when I needed a distraction, and you proved to be so much more. You mean a lot to me."

"One thing at a time, Siggy..." He brushed a bit more of the hair back from his lover's face, then lifted his shoulder to rub his upper arm over his eyes. "We should work on getting out of here first, then you can worry about what we will do for a celebration."
Little fingers trailed down his scalp, soothingly rubbing his fingertips over pressure points, down behind the backs of his ears, his temples, back to his forehead.. If this kept up, he didn't think he could keep his emotions in check for very much longer. The little blonde slowly shook his head, his fingers falling to rest over the other's lips. Hearing all of this was like a dream--it had to be. It had to be the headaches, or the sun... Sigurd never... said things like this. "Tell me later... do not force yourself to talk any longer."

The priestess watched from the corner of her eye. Ah, they were young and lovely for sure. She stirred the brew, then carefully filtered it into a cup. She stepped to the soldiers and placed the medicine into the pilot's hand, making a few gestures indicating that he should drink it quickly. Sigurd nodded and he blew at the steaming liquid, then drowned the cup's contents.

It was like a horse kick. In a minute, Sigurd was barely able to keep his eye open. "Huh... that's something strong... I'll be asleep for a while I think. Don't worry for me."
The priestess caressed the silvery tresses lightly, signaled for Kefka to stay at the officer's side and sleep as well, then she stood up, straightened and left after a small bow.

He didn't much care for being clingy, but for the evening after Sigurd made his recovery, Kefka was all but desperate. Despite the wishes of the female elder, he hadn't slept much at all--it was incredibly difficult to do so with terrified chattering going on in one's brain. He kept constant, unwavering vigil, paying no mind to the obstructed circulation in his legs that made them tingle or the fine layer of dirt upon his white skin. Not until the female elder entered did he finally relinquish his hold on Sigurd, tolerating the woman enough to let her rouse him from his rest. The rest of the night was a blur... He was given a private place to bathe and only had to fend off the helpfully curious ladies of the village with frantic wavings of his hands and a few choice curse words. ~

Once he was clean, he was forced to sit next to a bunch of raving, dark-skinned idiots as they feasted on something he couldn’t name, every one of them shouting in their unintelligible language. And Sigurd. Bloody. Loved it. He never said a word, but from the way he smiled and looked so relaxed... one would think he was right at home.
Something inside told Kefka that his precious officer would probably end up coming back to this place... and it was for that reason that not a smile or laugh crossed his face for the rest of the night. When deep night fell, he obediently lay down, but too exhausted to sleep, he laid with his eyes closed for hours. Drifting. Not awake. Not asleep. Then came morning; he ate little, said even less, and as the coolness progressed into afternoon, he still had yet to speak at all.

Bare feet padded moist earth, the silent blonde following begrudgingly behind their escorts, who still wielded their primitive spears. Oh, how he hated this place...

A hand descended on his shoulder. Sigurd gave him a slightly concerned look; the Gear officer have been never taught how to read people, but he was both careful and sensitive by nature.

"What is it?" he inquired gently. "All day, you've been so distant, despite that we're heading home now. You know you can trust me, so please, don't keep it to yourself. If I'm able then I'll help."

He was really out of it.. The blonde had gotten just enough sleep to dull his senses, so when he felt the warm hand on his shoulder, he jumped as though someone had just fired a gun at his feet. The panic was momentary, pale blue eyes becoming unreadable as he turned his gaze slowly upward. What was the problem? Something that Kefka wasn't selfish enough to say. Sigurd would probably go back home, and then they'd be apart again--if not for the fact that his friend was genuinely happy with his real family, then the little blonde would have voiced his concerns already. But the officer was miserable otherwise... wouldn't he do him a favor if he just.. pretended that he didn't know what was going to happen. "I ... am a little dazed, I suppose.." he murmured softly, eyes moving back to the trail before them.

"But you've been like this since the morning," Sigurd insisted. "That would mean you haven't slept enough or well, either because the bed was uncomfortable, or something kept you from sleeping..." His voice was filled with honest concern as he ran his hand down on Kefka's back. "Nightmares...?"

This forsaken world be damned... Biting his tongue, he slowly raised one hand to his face, kneading at his forehead with one delicate white hand. "No... it was the bed.."

Sigurd, the beautiful bastard, knew just how to sound, just how to touch, to get Kefka to tell him what he wanted to know. And here he was, so hopelessly fallen for him, unable to stop himself from pouring his heart out just because Sigurd was stroking him like a lover would. Oh, and he wasn't acting like just any type of casual sex lover. No, no, he was acting like the type you sang to yourself over and got out of bed early on your day off to cook breakfast for. That was what drew him in, hook, line, and sinker. "Siggy," he began casually, although his voice was laced with guilt, "Would you ever go back?"

"Huh?" The expression on the dark face was a bit amusing, such a genuine confusion. "Back-? You mean- Oh, well, probably. It would be nice to know more of my mother, and to get better with this... Mind Record thing. The priestess, Kadhra is a warmhearted lady, she was very patient with me. Perhaps when I have some time, I'll come back."

What was this all about...? Why did the mighty, and daresay cocky general of the Second Class look so... wretched? Sigurd tried to follow the line of thought and suddenly, he could see a pattern there... Kefka was obviously very possessive over him. He worried for his companion genuinely, it all hinted that he loves Sigurd as well but... he has never said it, neither seemed he to _believe_ in the other's affection. The pilot came to the conclusion, that again, there are deeper feelings behind the careless facade, worry, fear, confusion which will eventually poison his friend if they don't clear a few things up soon. Most probably... Kefka was afraid that his Siggy will run off and leave him alone.

"But I think I'm too much of a city-dweller, I couldn't stay for too long out there," the taller man added then with a smile. For a while, I surely won't leave the familiar streets."

He listened with all the attentiveness of a starved child waiting for his turn at the soup ladle, and as the gentle thrum of the man's voice coiled into a response that he found unsatisfying, the blonde's head tilted forward miserably. Somehow, he'd always known that he would end up losing Sigurd to something like this. To someone else. And he'd already lost him once to some girl, again to that bratty idiot Bartholomew, and now, there was a chance that this wretched, insect-infested, mud-caked jungle hell would take precedence over him. The general bobbed his head slowly, gradually moving a hand up to rub at his upper arm. "That is good, I suppose... You must get back to your roots sometime..."

Yes, he was in love with Sigurd. But he couldn't.. admit such a silly thing. He wasn't worth the man's time, him and all his problems, his imperfections.. Siggy could have anything he wanted, anyone he wanted, anyone far more normal than he was. So, he'd just make himself not love him anymore, and then—

The last few statements brought the sweetest smile to his face, and in a strangely giddy moment, he stopped where he was, turned, and flung his arms around the other's neck. A soft, pink mouth pressed right against tanned lips, the smaller general kissing his beloved as gently as he could for a few brief moments. Blue eyes sparkled as he lowered himself to the soles of his feet again; obviously, Sigurd had said something right. "Good.. the city might be a little lonely without you in it."

The two hunters blinked a little but merely shrugged; they had nothing to do with the mating rituals of the metal-road building folk.

Sigurd chuckled, satisfaction lacing his low, velvety voice. "I will not leave you, silly. Never again. I told you how I feel and I don't think anything could change this. And, I will wait patiently until you can tell me the same." The gem-blue eye shone intensely both from the mako and the emotions, and Sigurd lightly caressed his petite lover's cornsilk hair. "I love you. Whenever something goes wrong, when Hell crashes down, remember this, for it is certain."

Wide-eyed and rather docile-looking, it became apparent, after a moment of blatant staring, that the little general hadn't been expecting this sort of reaction. It had to be this jungle. The adrenaline. The fruit. The water. Something. Sigurd never just came out with his emotions like this. Even as honest as he looked, there had to be something else contributing to this. Still, the blonde stood up on tiptoe to lavish another bout of kisses upon Sigurd's handsome face, allowing himself to believe what he was being told for just a little while longer.

Yes, he wanted to hear this... But he couldn't bring himself to actually think that there was a possibility of the both of them becoming an 'us'. He was crazy, wasn't he? How could you love a crazy person? "All right, all right... I will remember, you romantic thing, you. Come along, now, before we end up staying in this forsaken jungle for another night."

Sigurd sighed lightly. This didn't sound too convincing but... Kefka had been alone all of his life, meaning, without somebody, who truly loved him. He was suspicious and distrustful and rightfully so - but on the other hand, the Gear officer was patient. Very much so. He was willing to wait, willing to take the long road showing the general how much he cared, helping him to open up just a little bit. What the medicines couldn't achieve, maybe, just maybe love and care will be able to, or at least, help a great deal.

A familiar noise reached their ears and the hunters tilted their heads up in unison. Was that... a helicopter? Sigurd squeezed his companion's hand lightly and turned to their dark-skinned escorts.

"I think this will be our folk, looking for us. Thank you for your guidance, and give my heartly greeting so the elders. We'll go on alone on the rest of the road."

The hunters nodded, said their goodbyes and soon disappeared behind the brushes and trees.

Sigurd would give up soon. Something would happen. He'd press the wrong buttons, no matter how well the half-native hid them, and the other would snap. And hate him. It was going to happen, it was going to happen soon, and Kefka knew that if he let himself slide into temporary comfort, he'd break when Sigurd finally sent him away. After they graduated the Academy and went their separate ways, he'd been crushed; but in the end, he realized it had been for the best. When they saw one another again, they remembered only the good things, and Siggy was unaware of a lot of the bad. If they gave in... if the other saw just how truly depraved he was..

The sound of the helicopter blades tore him from his reverie, bright blue eyes staring straight up in hopes of actually catching sight of their chariot. It appeared as a black shadow skimming above the trees, so near to them that he could actually smell the exhaust. Little fingers gripped Sigurd's in a deathgrip, and without a word, Kefka sprinted toward the nearest clearing. Once they were back among normal people, he'd have more leeway to think about everything. Now was not the proper time. "We have to signal them down! Do you think they saw us?!"

"If not, we'll have to kick them out of the army and recruit some who can see," the pilot replied, gem-blue eye fixed on the sky.

And indeed, in a few seconds, the massive vehicle floated back above them and began its descending. A few First Classes hung from the open door, cheering, waving to them, until the copter landed. A spiky-haired, familiar soldier ran to Sigurd and saluted his superiors.

"Thank the Guardians, sir, we thought you drowned or something! We found your car and almost gave up hope. It's good to see you're okay. You need anything, food, water, medical attention? Come, let's get out of this damn jungle and back to Ultima!"

What fine soldiers they were. Relief was painted all over Kefka's face; they were finally going to get out and go home. Delicate features relaxed and happy, he offered a salute in return, wishing only briefly that he looked just a little better than he did at the moment. What he wouldn't have given for a brush and a new pair of gloves, but.. really, what could one do in a situation like this? "The sooner we get to the city, the better," he answered softly, turning that bright, dazzling smile to their rescuer and reaching up to pat his shoulder, "Thank you."
That said, he quietly moved to the helicopter, having an awkward time of hauling himself up due to his size; but, he managed, and soon was settled alongside the others, finally letting exhaustion overtake him.

Sigurd settled down next to him, sneaking an arm around his shoulders and took the task of satisfying the curiosity of the soldiers upon himself. The engine's steady roaring was most calming now, and the copter headed back to civilization with top speed.