A/N: I wrote this for weremermaid on tumblr as part of a 100 themes writing exercise. The prompted theme for this one was "only human."

Only Human

Seifer had always known that he'd die young. He'd lived a violent, reckless existence that was guaranteed to kill him sooner rather than later. He'd earned a hard end. At his heart, he believed that the universe was balanced enough to give it to him.

But he'd never once imagined having to watch someone he cared about die first.

He stood, rendered dumb with shock, as the bullet knocked Quistis backwards. Her mouth fell open and she gasped before crumpling to the ground — poised and elegant, even in this. When she didn't get back up…when a healing shimmer of blue magic failed to rise up around her, he charged across the clearing with no heed for the battle still waging around them.

He fished in his pocket for a healing potion and slid to his knees beside her.

He gathered her up in his arms, rolling her onto her back so that her head rested in the crook of his arm. He uncorked the potion with his teeth and tilted it to her lips.

Her parted, breathless lips.

The blood soaking through his fingers and onto his pants felt hot, and he tasted the salty tang of it in the air.

"Quistis?" He shook her, then dipped his face close to hers, desperate for some small sign of life. The thready twitch of a heartbeat. The gentle stir of a breath. But her blue eyes stared up past him, toward the sky and somewhere far beyond even that. Her cheeks grew pale, all of the warmth that had lit her with golden fire and beauty in life now spread all over the ground.

"Damn it. You can't…" he choked out and poured the potion into her mouth anyway.

She didn't move.

Shaken to his core, he tightened his arms around her body, expecting…something. A miracle? A sign? To feel the brush of an angel's wings? But the only thing that came was despair. Emptiness. Grief that echoed into the untouched depths of his soul.

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Quistis Trepe wasn't supposed to die.

He'd thought her immortal. A queen among men. Something bigger and better and beyond something so base.

He looked down at her as the whole world seemed to shift underneath him.

The one person who had always been there, who had believed in him, fought with him, and against all logic fallen in love with him; the embodiment of duty and perfection and grace and honor; his very anchor in life…only human after all.

Unchained…unhinged…untethered, he lifted Quistis's body off the ground and with a berserk, wild surge of strength, cut a path through the battle field, hunting…searching…seeking. Daring fate.

Show me I'm human, too.

Then make us both something more.