Anything & Everything
By Elise Maxwell
“Squall?” Quistis peeked into the young man’s room. She stared worriedly at him. She’d heard the commotion and Seifer’s escape, and wondered if Squall was all right. She gave him some space though and had gone on with her work before seeing if Squall needed to talk. Funny he hadn’t come to her sooner.
She slipped into the room and closed the door behind herself. Squall was sitting on the edge of his bed staring at a picture. She’d never seen it before.
“What is that?” she asked quietly when she approached.
“It’s my mother,” was all he said.
Quistis frowned. Where had he gotten that? She traveled closer noting that he hadn’t moved an inch since she’d entered.
“Are you alright?”
Boy, he was like a brick wall today. He wasn’t letting anyone in and had obviously thrown Seifer out of it. She needed to get him to talk, but…
“Who gave that to you?” Quistis asked once more.
“He came by and dropped it off.” Squall sat back, still looking at the picture. “I’m glad. It’s nice to have a picture small enough to carry around.”
Quistis stared at him appalled. Squall hated small pictures of his mother. He said he didn’t want to be reminded of her death constantly. He said he wanted to be reminded of her beauty and kindness once a day when he woke in the morning and looked at her portrait. This wasn’t the Squall she knew.
Determined, she stepped closer and snatched the picture away from him.
“Hey!” Squall snarled and stood to look at her. “Give it back.”
“Or what?” Quistis hugged it to her chest. “Squall, you hate pictures of your mother.”
“I don’t hate my mother!” he yelled angrily.
“I didn’t say that,” she warned and stepped back when he moved closer.
“Give it to me!” He started after her when she turned to run to the door. With a force she never knew he had, Squall pinned her against the door before she could open it. He tried to pry the frame from her fingers. She gritted her teeth knowing her course of action.
With all her strength, Quistis threw the young man off of her and watched as he stumbled back. She raised the picture above her head and heaved it toward the ground.
“NO!” Squall screamed as the glass shattered on the floor, scattering in every direction. His hand outstretched toward the picture, he stopped in mid-step as his eyes rolled up into his head and he fell into a dead faint.
“Squall…” Quistis whispered scared to go near him. “Squall!” She fell to her knees beside him and shook him. “Wake up! Squall!!” She put a hand to her face. What had she done? What had the picture done? Where did it come from? What control did it have over him?
“Oh, Squall!” Quistis sighed relieved when the young man’s eyes fluttered open.
“Ugh.” He put a hand to his head groggily. “Why am I on the floor? What happened?”
“I… I don’t know,” she stuttered.
“Where’s Seifer?” He sat up and rubbed his face. He stopped and looked at Quistis when he noticed the look on her face. “Quistis, what’s wrong?” He put his hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes. “Where’s Seifer?”
Quistis bit her lip in hesitation. Squall, I hope you trust me…
“Wake up!” Someone hissed and shook him.
Seifer moaned only to have someone place a hand on his mouth and shush him. He opened his eyes to see a very blurry Zell. The young merman blinked hoping that what he was seeing was real.
“Seifer, are you alright?” Zell asked.
Seifer looked around. Apparently when Ultimecia had thrown him with her powers, he’d landed right near the pool of her grotto. But how had Zell known he’d be there? “Why are you here? Get out of here, get help,” Seifer whispered.
Zell shook his head. “Rinoa saw you on the beach. She told me you were in trouble. She dragged me with her saying a man had knocked you out and brought you here.”
“You gotta get me out of here…” Seifer whispered. “She’s going to kill me…”
“I know,” the smaller merman replied. “I heard her.” Zell bit his lip. “She wants to take your powers and be rid of something. Then she was going to give your immortality to that Vinzer guy.”
“Vinzer?” Seifer frowned as Zell gripped his shoulders pull him into the pool.
“Yeah, she said his name. Now be quiet so we can get out of here.” Zell slipped him into the water quietly.
“Where are her lackeys?” Seifer asked when they were safely underwater.
“I haven’t seen them. She probably did something to them.”
“She turned into a human,” the other merman told him quietly. “She said she couldn’t stay in that state for long, but that’s one hell of an ability for her to have.”
“She never had that before,” Seifer mused as Zell pushed a rock out of their way and pulled the other young merman out of the grotto. Seifer was relieved to be out of there.
“Seifer!” Rinoa approached them from above waving furiously.
“Heyla princess.” He smiled when she grabbed his arm. “Why in such a hurry?”
“They’re waiting for you, on the surface!” She grinned happily and started to pull him up.
He cringed in pain when he pulled sharply. “Who?”
“Who he says!” Rinoa rolled her eyes. “Come on! They’re worried sick.”
“He cant swim will Rin,” Zell told her and put and arm around Seifer’s shoulders. “I’ll help him up.”
“What happened?” Rinoa asked as they swam upward.
“Ultimecia happened.” Seifer winced as his powers began to regenerate him.
“Only too true,” Zell replied as they surfaced.
Seifer let Zell turn him toward the beach where he saw three bodies pacing the beach, one in particular being… “Squall!”
Rinoa grinned. “See?”
Seifer smiled. “I see.” The blonde let himself be hauled to shore by the other two merfolk and the three humans on the beach ran into the water to help them all.
“What happened to you?” Quistis asked taking note of his bruises.
“Rinoa said you were kidnapped.” Squall stopped and looked him in the eyes. His hesitation brought everything to a front and Seifer saw sadness in his eyes. “I…”
“Why were you mad at me?” the blonde asked miserably.
“I wasn’t.” Squall’s voice cracked.
“But then why…?” Seifer stopped when he saw the emotion behind the gray eyes.
“I—the picture.” The brunette tried to explain and stopped to collect himself but not before looked at Seifer, his eyes wide. “You… changed back…”
“Tell me. Tell me about the picture Squall.” Seifer put a hand on Squall’s cheek to distract him.
“Vinzer gave me a bewitched object. It made me believe I was angry with you. Or at least that’s what Quistis said.” He then gripped Seifer’s hand. “But I wasn’t! I swear, I didn’t mean to say all those things I did.”
The words spilled from the boy’s lips so willingly that Seifer’s thoughts begged him to say what he’d been longing to hear.
“Seifer, I didn’t know what I was doing. I would never do that to you. I’m so sorry!” Squall hugged him, making the others move back. “I love you.”
As if he hadn’t been through enough pain lately, Seifer screamed as he felt as if he was being ripped apart. By the gods, Seifer didn’t know if he could take the painful transformation at that moment. Right before everyone’s eyes, the blonde’s slow metamorphosis took place. With one blinding flash, the transformation was complete and Seifer groaned in pain. Boy, was that a trip.
“Ouch,” Seifer croaked as Irvine threw his coat over him, now human.
Squall stared at him in awe. “You went through all that pain, for me?”
The blonde smiled swallowing the ache. “Now it’s permanent, and I’m yours forever.”
Squall’s face lit with the most luminescent smile Seifer had ever seen and the brunette hugged and kissed him with an intensity he’d never experienced before either. Everyone around them cheered and laughed happily as they consummated their love not caring.
Seifer sat up and rubbed his head. “This is all happening so fast.”
“Far too fast,” Quistis agreed, as everyone else seemed to voice the same.
“What happened?” the blonde asked. “You said something about a picture.”
Squall nodded. “Vinzer gave me a picture of my mother. At the time I was confused as to where he’d gotten it but I accepted it because I knew that if I didn’t, he wouldn’t go away.” The brunette shuttered involuntarily. There was just something about that man that everyone could feel. “After he gave it to me, I couldn’t put it down. Quistis thinks it was spelled.”
Seifer frowned. Why hadn’t he seen it? He should have sensed something bewitched like that. Maybe his feelings for Squall got in the way or… Ultimecia was growing too powerful.
“When I broke it, Squall turned back to his self,” Quistis followed up. “Seifer, are you listening?”
“Zell, go tell the king, Ultimecia’s planning to turn fully human. She’s going to try and infiltrate the human world,” Seifer said suddenly. “Do you think I’m joking?” he asked when the merman hesitated. “Go now!”
“Yes sir!” Zell was back in the water and on his way before any of them couldn’t understand what was going on.
“What are you talking about Seifer?” Rinoa asked. “Ultimecia’s going to take over the human world?”
“Who is this Ultimecia?” Squall asked.
“She’s a dark sorceress. The king banished her years ago and I went to her to bargain to become human for you.” Seifer explained only to receive bewildered looks. “Don’t you see? I wasn’t supposed to win. She was going to take my powers for herself to become human permanently, then give my immortality to Vinzer.” Seifer cursed himself for not seeing an underlying plot to this all.
“Vinzer?” Squall asked. “What does Vinzer have to do with this?”
Suddenly the ground around the group erupted throwing them all in different directions. Seifer was the first to recover and sit up to see Ultimecia and Vinzer on the rocks above them, the sorceress still glowing from using her powers.
“What indeed,” the older man’s face held a feral grin.
“How did you get here impudent boy?” Ultimecia aimed her power at the blonde who stood, pulled Irvine’s jacket tighter around him and concentrated. A wave of power left the sorceress’s hands only to be deflected by a shield.
Seifer looked down to see and hand gripping his ankle giving him more power. It belonged to Rinoa who had obviously crawled over to help him. He looked around to see Quistis and Irvine holding Squall, trying to wake him.
Seifer’s eyes went wide and he looked back at the two above to see a hungry look on the sorceress’s face. No.
Before he could react, Vinzer jumped off the cliff at Seifer and something in his hand flashed in the afternoon sun. A deep pain sliced across Seifer’s forehead and he fell to the ground, holding his face. Blood… all he could see was blood red. A scream then hit his ears and he forced himself to turn over and look up.
Rinoa was floating in the air, twisted as if being confined by something. She was going to use Rinoa! He couldn’t let that happen!
“No!” Seifer’s hand flew up and a wave of offense flew from it, knocking the sorceress off of her feet, but not releasing the mermaid from her shackles.
A sharp kick in Seifer’s stomach caused him to hit the ground once more. “Silly boy. We’ll win, no matter what you do,” Vinzer hissed into his ear. “And you will lose everything.”
Footsteps faded as Seifer struggled to sit up once again. He saw Vinzer throw Irvine away when the redhead attacked him and gritted his teeth when the man stabbed Quistis in the stomach. No, Squall… He couldn’t let the man do anything to his love…
On the contrary, Vinzer stopped and picked up the unconscious brunette and stood with a triumphant grin. “Come and get him. If you’re stupid enough that is…” Vinzer, with Squall in his arms, vanished into thin air. Seifer looked up to see Rinoa and Ultimecia doing the same, the sorceress looking worse for wear.
“No…” Tears escaped Seifer’s eyes and he punched the sand beneath him. He took everything—everything dear to him. They would pay.
“Quisty!” Irvine held the blonde girl carefully as she grimaced at the pain she felt.
“I’ll heal her,” Seifer said staggered through the throbbing in his skull.
“No, Seifer. You’re hurt far worse.” Irvine tried to push Seifer’s hands away as the blonde crawled over.
“I’ll be fine…” The young man invoked his power, a cool rush running through his veins. He had to heal her—Squall would be sad if he didn’t. “Ah,” Seifer collapsed to the ground just as he finished and his powers ran out. He coughed and his eyes went wide as he saw his blood still dripping onto the sand. If the slash on his forehead didn’t clot soon…
“Silly boy,” a silken voice said behind him. “What will I ever do with you, son?”
“Mother…” Seifer rolled over to see her silhouette over him. “Mother, I lost him…” He gripped the mermaid’s hand as she tried to quiet him. “Did I heal her?” Kaeli frowned confused and looked over to Quistis.
The blonde girl smiled and nodded. “I’m fine now. Just please heal him. He’s the only one who knows where our friends are.”
“On the contrary,” Kaeli put a hand to Seifer’s forehead. “I, too, know where they are, thanks to Zell…”
Seifer gasped as his mother’s healing magic worked within him. He waited patiently as her powers patched him up and once she was finished he sat up. He frowned when he put a hand to his face and still felt the scar. Seifer looked to his mother who shook her head not knowing what to say. Her bright blue eyes sad, as if to say ‘I can’t help you.’ The blonde then took a moment to actually look at his mother. Her platinum blonde hair cascaded around her in a river of curls almost matching her pearlescent white fin. A small smile invaded his face. She was exactly as he remembered—so beautiful.
“Seifer,” her gentle voice brought him out of the reminiscence. “I cannot heal the scar on your forehead but I do not know why.”
He chuckled to himself. “Squall and I are connected,” he said, and it was all that was needed. His mother smiled and nodded understanding.
“Connected?” Quistis asked, reminding the merfolk of her and Irvine’s presence.
Seifer laughed. “I’ll tell you later.” He carefully stood on wobbly legs. “I need clothes and then we have to go get Squall and Rinoa back.”
“I’m coming with you,” Irvine said helping Quistis stand.
“No, I want you to take care of her.” Seifer nodded to the blonde girl. “My mother and I can handle this. I don’t think Ultimecia can take on both of us after fighting and using so much energy to turn human—” He hesitated a moment. “But she might have had a hand in having my mother captured,” he mused aloud for a second and glanced at her. She blinked at him surprised before he shook his head. “No matter. I just want you two safe. Go back to the estate and wait for us. I promise, I’ll bring Squall back.”
“You better!” Quistis put a hand on his shoulder and smiled. “Or else the Loire estate would be quite… empty.” She winked. “Now, let’s get you some clothes and you can be on your way.”
“Unnecessary,” Kaeli said suddenly and waved her hand. Her son was abruptly clothed completely and stunned at his mother’s trick. She smiled. “I love doing that.”
“Mother,” Seifer growled to receive a giggle.
“Come now son. We haven’t much time.” Her eyes sparkled. “Let us capture a big one.”
“Yes.” Seifer narrowed his eyes. “Lets.”
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