Disclaimer: No, not mine…Squaresoft’s!
For His Love
Selphie sat alone on the ledge, waiting…again.
"Where is he?" Her words were a little louder than she had expected them to be and she glanced around conspicuously. Why am I talking to myself? Irvine was supposed to have been here twenty minutes ago, but, true to form, she found herself waiting for him. She began to swing her feet back and forth, humming a little tune that really had no tune at all. Selphie sighed deeply. It seemed she found herself in this situation more and more often as time passed. Irvine didn’t mind who he kept waiting because he was certain, always, that he was well worth the wait and was sure that everyone else felt the same.
She braced both hands on either side of her and leaned back, attempting to peer through the tall ferns that grew in the flower box behind the ledge. She gave a little squeal and grasped the edge of the stone wall when she felt her balance give way. The sudden move scraped her palms and she quickly brought them up to her lips to soothe them. Dammit!
There were plenty of people coming and going, but none of them was Irvine. And Selphie would be willing to bet her Shiva card that he was still in his room, brushing his ponytail for the 100th time today. Rolling her eyes, she hopped down from the ledge, finally tired of waiting, when she heard the rapid fall of footsteps drawing nearer. Someone was running~hard. The muffled sobs soon followed and Selphie craned her neck to see who was bounding up the stairs, and crying as well.
Walking slowly in the direction of the stairs, not wanting to appear too nosy, Selphie was shocked to see Rinoa heading blindly in her direction, her small hand pressed tightly to her mouth, tears streaming down her cheeks. She looked up as she drew near the stairs that led to the elevator, spotting Selphie very clearly, but she didn’t stop to acknowledge her. Veering off to the left, she continued running, and Selphie assumed she was on her way to her room.
"Rinoa?" She called out, and her voice had a tendency to carry rather well. Everyone in the immediate vicinity looked up, but Rinoa continued on her path, oblivious to her surroundings. Selphie could think of no reason for Rinoa to be so upset unless it involved Squall, and since she hadn’t seen him since yesterday, she headed to the only other person in the garden who knew as much gossip as she did. Quisty.
Quistis was walking briskly out of the cafeteria, Seifer right on her heels. Quistis backed up a little when she spotted Selphie careening towards her. She’d been knocked down a few too many times by her clumsy friend not to learn to stand back when Selphie was running at full speed.
Amazingly enough, this time she pulled up short right in front of Quistis and Seifer. Quistis and Seifer??? What the heck were they doing in the cafeteria together? Looking all chummy and everything! Things were really getting crazy around here. Oh, well, I’ll get to that later…
Selphie leaned over and braced her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath. Quistis eyed her strangely, afraid to ask what had her running all over garden like a madwoman. So she stood calmly by, waiting for the senseless rambling that was sure to come. Selphie spoke precisely as she thought, convoluted and jumbled, thinking that everyone’s thought processes were as confusing as her own, so of course they would understand her broken chatter and incomplete thoughts.
"Quisty…you’ll never guess…it was too weird…I mean, I called her name and everything…she just kept right on going…and you know it has to be his fault…because he just blurts out whatever’s in his mind…you’ve heard him…and we have to go talk to her…and boy am I out of breath…so, come on! What are you waiting for?"
Seifer’s eyes had widened to the size of tea saucers and he began to look around him as if he had somehow in the last few minutes unwittingly entered into an alternate universe. Thankfully, he kept quiet and Quistis tried her best not to giggle at him as she attempted to explain.
Looking pointedly at Selphie, speaking only for Seifer’s benefit, she rubbed her temples to ward off the impending headache.
"Okay, let me take a stab at this one…you saw Rinoa, she was running away from Squall, but you don’t know what he did and she wasn’t in any condition to tell you, but you’re pretty certain that he’s at fault for whatever she’s upset about so now you and I have to go pry information out of her. Am I close?"
Seifer began to edge slowly out of range, completely stunned by the scene playing before him.
"Well, pretty close…let’s go talk to her Quistis, something’s terribly wrong."
Quistis nodded and turned to look at Seifer, who was silently making his escape.
"Seifer, where are you going?" Her classroom voice stopped his movements and he frowned at her.
"Hey, I just asked you to lunch. We ate, it’s done, we’re both happy…I’m not getting involved with her crazy shit. No thanks." He crossed his arms over his chest, point made, end of story. Almost…
Quistis grabbed his hand and pulled him along behind her, muttering about people’s problems and other people’s uncanny ability to get her involved every single time. She was becoming quite annoyed and her annoyance warred with concern for Rinoa. She didn’t question Seifer’s seeming willingness to do her bidding as she would have expected his cooperation in the first place.
Seifer followed her grudgingly, none too thrilled at being led around like a…well, like a lapdog. But he was a man who chose his battles carefully these days, and this one was certainly not worth earning him a stinging snap from an expertly wielded whip.
Selphie ran ahead, dying to know what was going on. And through her thoughts of Rinoa and Squall, another thought slithered around the other little snippets of gossipy juiciness and asked her another question. What the heck are Quistis and Seifer doing having lunch together? Next thing you know, Squall and Seifer will start being all buddy buddy. Too bad Irvine was gonna miss all the good stuff…serves him right for making me wait!!
As they neared Rinoa’s room, Quistis noticed Squall striding toward them, his eyes stormy, his mouth a hard line. Uh-oh…
Quistis sneaked a glance at Seifer and watched, fascinated, as his famous smirk slid into place. Oh, no…She pulled hard on Seifer’s hand and glared at him when he favored her with a hard look.
"Don’t even think about starting anything with Squall right now, Seifer Almasy."
Seifer’s eyes widened innocently. "Why, instructor, I would do no such thing!" He lay a hand over his heart and tried for his most earnest expression.
"I’m merely thankful that you had the foresight to allow me to witness this…I’m sure I’ll thank you later."
Quistis rolled her eyes at him and stifled a giggle. For his sake, she hoped he would keep his snide remarks to himself this time.
By this time, Selphie was knocking on Rinoa’s door, having already seen Squall coming their way and not about to let him walk in and take over before she’d had a chance to find out exactly what was going on.
"Rinoa? Rin, open the door. What’s wrong?" Selphie was crowding the door, pressed against it as if she wanted to go right through it. She knew that Squall was only steps away and she began to pound harder on the door.
"Rinoa? C’mon! Open up!" Selphie felt his shadow looming over her and she glanced up out of the corner of her eye.
"Rinoa’s upset, Squall. What’d you do to her?" Squall frowned his displeasure.
"Move, Selphie, I’ll go in and talk to her."
"Oh, sure you will…" Selphie spun on her heel and flounced back to where Seifer and Quistis stood, quite perturbed that her plans had been thwarted.
Squall knocked softly on Rinoa’s door. He did not want this to turn into some kind of spectacle. He didn’t want anyone to know what was going on. In fact, he wasn’t even planning on telling the others what had happened.
"Come on, Rin. Open the door."
He heard a few sniffles and then a resounding, "NO!" through the heavy door.
This isn’t going to go smoothly…
"Rinoa, please. Let me come in. I have to talk to you. Please." His voice was hushed, he didn’t want to draw attention to himself.
He heard fumbling from behind her door before it was jerked open, and there she was, one hand on the doorknob and the other gripping the chain around her neck. She turned her eyes to him, her glare accusatory.
"You don’t need to say a word, Squall," she began coldly. "I’ve seen all I need to see. You certainly don’t need to explain anything to me."
Her tone was like ice, as were her eyes. He knew he would have to placate her one way or another. He couldn’t allow word of what she’d witnessed to get out. He wouldn’t.
"Rinoa, we have to talk. Please. Don’t do this to me, people are watching, for Hyne’s sake."
She glanced over his shoulder where Selphie, Quistis and Seifer stood. Before long, there would be a crowd, she knew. So she nodded grudgingly.
"Fine. But make it quick."
She stepped back to allow him entrance and she closed the door firmly behind him. He glanced around, unsure of how comfortable she would allow him to get in here. Should he sit, or remain standing? A quick glance at her rigid stance told him to remain standing and to keep his hands to himself.
"So?" She prompted.
He stood awkwardly, hands loose at his sides. No words were forthcoming.
"Say what you came to say Squall and then get out. I have a train to catch."
He looked at her in surprise. "Train? But where are you going?"
She narrowed her eyes at him until they were mere slits.
"I can’t really see as how that is any of your business, Squall. You gave up all right to question me when you decided to strip off your clothes and let Zell Dincht…"
He didn’t allow her to finish. If past experiences were anything to go by, Selphie was right outside that door, probably with her ear pressed up against it, just waiting to hear something she wasn’t supposed to. Three strides and he was at her side, panic in his eyes, his fear almost palpable.
"That’s what we need to talk about. Listen, Rinoa, you can’t say anything about this. It would ruin me. There are certain standards and ideals…"
The hint of fury in her eyes erupted and she pushed him away from her with both hands, hard. He stumbled, but didn’t fall.
"You bastard! You don’t care about me, about how I feel. You’re worried about your precious reputation! Your standing in the Garden! How dare you come up here and try to talk me into keeping my mouth shut about you and Zell!"
He tried to quiet her, motioning for her to be quiet, but she chose to ignore him and her voice rose higher still.
"You have the unmitigated gall to come in here and tell me to keep this quiet? Me? The one who’s loved you completely and unselfishly for the past year!" She broke off as fresh sobs racked her body, her shoulders shaking in her grief.
"Rinoa. That’s not the only reason I came. I care about you. You know that I do! No matter what’s between me and Zell, I still care about you, still love you."
She looked up at him warily. "But?"
"But whatever is between Zell and me is something that I can’t ignore. I tried. For you, for me, I tried Rinoa, please believe that. Don’t hate me, Rinoa, I need you."
She shook her head in an attempt to ward off the words that were breaking her heart.
"No, Squall, you don’t need me. If you did, you wouldn’t have allowed this to happen." Her voice was quiet now, as she tried to come to terms with all that he’d said. And all he’d left unsaid. He’d made his choice. She knew that there was no changing his mind.
"Where’s Zell?" She asked this plainly, no hint of sarcasm in her tone.
Squall sighed and rubbed his face. "In his room I guess." He sounded weary.
Rinoa looked at him pityingly. "You left him in the woods alone. Just so you could come up here and secure my silence. Without a thought to his feelings or mine. It’s all about you and what you’re going through and what people are going to say." She paused and he bowed his head, more than a little ashamed at his actions. But she wasn’t finished.
"Did you honestly think I’d say anything about this? Tell anyone about you two? I thought you knew me better than that Squall."
The pain in her voice, in her eyes, was like a weight on his chest. He’d been selfish and stupid and in doing so had hurt two people that he truly loved.
"Rinoa, I’m sorry. Please…"
She held up one hand to quiet him. "Squall, there’s really nothing left to be said. I understand where you’re coming from and you understand where I’m coming from. Let’s just leave it at that." She turned away from him and began putting things in her bag. She’s really leaving?
"Rinoa, where are you going to go? This is your home now. No matter what happens between you and me, you belong here."
She smiled wistfully at him. A mere shadow of what her smile used to be. "I’m not leaving forever Squall. But I need some time to myself. It seems that I’m going to have to reevaluate my position here and what my future holds for me now. Don’t worry, I’ve gained too much here, I wouldn’t be happy anywhere else."
He looked relieved, even though his sadness was threatening to pull him under.
"So this it it, huh? You and me? It’s all over?" His voice was shaky and it broke her heart to see her Lion reduced to this. But this was what he had chosen for himself. He would have to accept it in his own way.
"It has to be, Squall. We can’t go back, you know that as well as I do. I suggest you go to Zell and ask his forgiveness for your desertion of him. It wasn’t the right thing to do."
He nodded and turned to leave, although he made no move to open the door. He simply stood there, knowing that when he left this room, he would be closing the door on yet another chapter in his life. One that had brought him great happiness. She reached out as if to touch him, to reassure him, but pulled her hand back. If she touched him, she would be lost. So she said not a word as he opened the door and quietly exited the room. When she heard the door click into place, she relaxed her shoulders and the tears came once again.
Author's Notes: *Hi everyone! I won’t be around for a few days, so I guess we’ll have to wait until I get back to see how Squall plans on apologizing to Zell. Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me. Your reviews have helped a lot. And don’t worry Chris, love is never this easy, Squall and Zell aren’t out of the woods yet, so to speak…
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