Author's Notes: My first ever SeiferxSquall. I'm more of a SeiferxZell shipper, but for some reason a Squall-voice found it's way into my head and refused to leave until I wrote this. *shrugs* Just tell me whatcha think,'kay?
What are you doing here?
I figured this is the one place I’d be safe. Just being a nobody out in the middle of nowhere. You would be sure to stay away, right?
But apparently not.
I guess this headache was supposed to be my sign to stay inside my house today. But I thought I could use some warm food. Came down here, for soup or something. To flirt with the waitress, knowing her dad, the guy who owns the place, is watching the whole thing with amusement. Being part of the town, part of the scenery. Not doing much at all.
Then you came in. And even without trying to you made the whole room notice you. I wasn’t sitting exactly where I could see you, and not exactly where you could see me, but I know you did anyway. I was damn certain of it once our eyes met.
What to do? Run? Please. Certainly not fight. I have no GF’s, my gunblade is at home, and I have a grand total of one firaga spell on me. I doubt that would do much. And truthfully? I feel like I’ve been running for too long, even though I’ve been here for a few months now.
You walk over. Stride, like the animal you are underneath the cold veneer. Like… almost like your hunting me. About to strike.
You pull out a chair and sit. And then… then you run your finger over my lip. My mouth opens slightly. To… out of shock? I don’t know. There was… I…
Not Leonheart. Squall.
I was always on the verge. Always. I entered intensive SeeD training at ten. Not the youngest ever, but pretty damn close. I could have been a SeeD when I was fourteen. But I wasn't. And not the year after that. Or the one after that. Or the three after that. And that was when it was pretty damn apparent I was never going to make SeeD. Not only that, but I was reprimanded for my actions on the test. Screw it. Screw it all. I was sick of Garden.
Then I heard about how they'd sent you and Chickenwuss down to Timber to help the Owls. Just you and one other girl. What the hell? Was Cid trying to get you all killed? Fuck. I couldn't sit by and just watch. I wasn’t that kind of guy. So I broke out, rode the train to Timber. Actually followed Deling’s entourage into the city. Heh. Perfect. Screw SeeD. I was about to liberate an entire city with one swipe of my gunblade.
Then... that bitch...
I don't know what happened. I remember pulling the President into the next room after Chicken shot off his mouth. Now if I killed him Garden was going to get blown away. Maybe even if I didn't kill him. So should I take the risk?
I remember hearing an odd noise. It sounded… almost like it came from far away. Like from the other end of the tunnel, or when you have a bad head cold. Hollow. I don't know. She started talking. Calling me a boy. I remember that pissing me off but then again, a lot of things piss me off. And she said... I had to make up my mind. I had to choose. But I didn't know what I was supposed to be choosing! I was at so many fucking crossroads. Stay at Garden and try to become SeeD, leave and go off on my own. Stay and help Rinoa. Kill Deling. Let him go. Attack her. Kill her. Don't kill her. No, not her. Never harm her. Her. It was all her. She'd take care of me. I knew she would. I just knew.
I'm an intuition kind of guy, sure. Go with the flow and all that shit, but I don’t think I would ever do something that odd. Just follow a complete stranger dressed like a dominatrix on crack through a fucking portal. Right.
I remember... I remember crying. Little kids crying and screeching. And sea air. A bit salty, a bit wet. Mists over morning skies. Black hair. Pale skin. My hands. Especially my hands... my hands on someone. My hands hitting a stone wall. Darkness. A lot of darkness. And light. Some light too. I didn't see any faces. Not total faces. Eyes. Mostly eyes. But tattoos, and sometimes hair on the back of a neck or hanging into those eyes. I didn't... I didn't know. Like something out of horror film. There but not there. I was watching it, but it was just... it wasn't real. Not tangible real. I think even then I was stuck in my own head.
When I woke up, I didn't know where I was. Truthfully, not that big of a deal. That's what happens when you drink with Raijin. But no post-drinking binge hangover. No dry mouth. And I'd never woken up in a room like this before. It seemed small but then large. It was dark, and I couldn't quite see. Because I thought that was a corner, but if I took a step towards it... no, it must be a large room. But still very dark. Uneasy, I placed one hand on the hilt of my gunblade.
"There's no going back."
The voice came out of nowhere. Or it should have, because there was no one there a moment ago. But there she was, standing in the corner. That same corner that had been dark and empty when I looked last. How...
"My boy. My poor, poor boy."
"I'm not a boy." It wasn't so much the word as the way she said it. As the way she looked when she said it.
"You don't have to be," she continued smoothly, as though I had not interrupted at all. "Everyone has to grow sometime."
"I want... I... want..." The hold I had on Hyperion loosened, my hand dropping listlessly to my side. What had I been about to say?
"You don't want to be a boy."
"No..." Not that…
"Then be my Knight. My protector. Fight by my side and no one who sees you will think 'boy'. Can't you see it? Standing at my side, all we pass bowing down before us. You will be tall and proud. Strong. You can guard me. Receive my magic and my protection. You could be so powerful. So powerful, Seifer." She held out her hand, gloved in black silk. And the sizzle of magic in the air…
Her voice… almost like it was painting a picture. Real. Beautifully real. I could see it. Like daylight. I could see me standing beside her, looking golden. Golden beside her, the sun not eclipsed by her darkness but shining into it. Contrasting and complimenting it. It was a balance, wasn't it? Light and dark. Male and female. Power on both sides. There was magic and sheer, brute strength. Cleverness and cunning. Yes. Yes, I could. I could be... I could be so powerful. I wanted it, but it was my name that sealed it. One word and all that she said was true. There was no going back.
I remember attacking you. I remember Rinoa and Irvine coming to help. I remember bleeding, half frozen from that damn GF. I knew I would not die. But I had failed. I had failed again.
She tended my wounds. Edea, her name was, but she was my Mistress. My Dark Princess. My Sorceress. She healed me, tending the wounds with powerful cure spells, slowly warming me and dispelling the chill that Shiva had left. She had only kind words for me that time, of how she worried of her Knight. And I felt only shame. I could not protect her from a single SeeD. I could not protect her. I was not strong enough for her. Though she never said it, never implied it, I knew it to be true. But it wasn't going to be like this. Not for long. I would protect her. I would protect her because I said I would. I had to be stronger. Better. I always had to be better, but it still wasn't fucking good enough.
I may not have been a boy in her eyes, but I was a boy in my own.
"You are going to question him, are you not?"
"Of course." Whatever she wanted. Whatever she suggested, it would help. "About..."
"The true purpose of SeeD."
"Yes. Of course." I had known that. Hadn't I? "The others aren't important." Compared to you they were nothing. Quistis was no threat. Nor the other girl. It was doubtful that Zell knew much of anything. Rinoa... she was... she could be a problem.
I shook my head. Rinoa? A problem? She was a pest, sure, but a problem was giving her a bit too much credit.
"I'm sure he's awake now." I watched carefully as Edea's eyes began to glaze over. "Yes. He's awake."
I didn't hurt you. Oh, I tossed you around. But I know for a fact you’ve gotten worse in some of the classes. Certainly on field training. It was… I didn’t really hurt you. That seems important, somehow.
You didn't look any worse for the wear in the chamber. The electricity would have been painful. You did bite your lip clean through, I did notice that. It was always a wonder to me that Squall Leonheart lowered himself to do something so human as bleed. But you weren’t anywhere near broken. I had you continually questioned, knowing you wouldn't break for a long time. I wanted to be there when that happened. I had this burning desire to see you crack, to see what actually made up Squall Leonheart. I was the stronger one now.
You escaped. All of you. But it was no concern of mine, really. We would meet again. I knew... I just knew. Destiny had all ready bound me to you, Squall. The scars were proof enough of that. Quistis had been a part of my life for years now. Zell too. The other girl... perhaps her as well. The sharpshooter that had been so foolish as to believe he alone could fell a Sorceress, him I knew I would see. And Rinoa, she had been dragged into this. But she was different. Her, I would not hurt. She had… purpose.
The Gardens… I had to destroy them. You were proof that the Gardens were a threat to Edea. To my Sorceress. My… Matron. The only mother I ever had. There was no way I would let you hurt her.
My Mistress became... needy. Like a small child, sometimes, she would beg me for forgiveness. For what, I don't know. What had she possibly done wrong? It was me who had fucked things up time and again. But I would hold her in my arms, feeling the coolness of her skin and the delicacy and fragility of her bones. She was so light. I marveled, really. I thought of how easily I could snap her neck. Just one twist and it would break. Why I would ever think that, I don't know.
Other times she gave you a run for your money in the cold department. Sitting in the near dark, eyes glinting. She'd look down imperiously from her throne, everything about her foreboding. No one dared talk. Dared move. We’d all stand, frozen, the only noise the tap-tap-tapping of my gunblade on the floor. Edea would stop in the middle of a sentence sometimes, and just zone. When she came out of it she would pick up exactly where she left off, as if nothing had happened. I worried. It was often after these... these trances that she would beg forgiveness. There was a cycle. A pattern to it, but… damn it, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see it. It was being spelled out in front of me, and I was too small and stupid a child to know my letters.
You and I would meet many times. Neither ever immerging truly victorious. My Mistress was no longer Edea, but she was still mine. Still my Sorceress, by whatever name she took. Edea. Adel. Ultimecia. Rinoa. I saw it now, some of the pattern. I could not see the end, but I would live it out until I saw it.
I had Fujin and Raijin. They kept me company. Sometimes… sometimes it was like old times. Playing cards, drinking, watching Fujin kick Raijin repeatedly in the shin. Like a time warp, like nothing had ever happened.
Then they left me. They were confused, I think. They just couldn’t see. They didn’t know. And you Squall… so foolish, bringing her newest body to me. Adel and Rinoa would merge, and Ultimecia would have them both, and I would hunt down Ellone for her. But it didn’t work. And then… then…
I don’t know. The pattern… it twisted. It twisted and went… wrong.
There were the eyes again. And the children… the kids. Monsters. Monsters the likes of which I’d never seen. Blood running from my scar and my palms, and suddenly it felt as if my body were much too heavy. It hurt to breathe. I wanted to scream, to cry, but I couldn’t… I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything. This… strange feeling. And a sudden searing pain. Darkness. A strange emptiness. Then too much light, and nothing made sense. Like the pattern had been as fragile as glass, and you’d taken your gunblade to it. I’d been deceived somehow, somewhere.
I… I realized that Fujin and Raijin had it right. They’d figured it out. Raijin had never in his life been mistaken for smart, and Fujin was more sly than actually intelligent. And somehow I found my way to them. Beaten and bloodied and bruised as I was. Mostly it was in my mind, I think, but I… I don’t know. It had been only three months since the SeeD test. Three months and everything I ever was lay shattered around me. I was… I am Seifer Almasy. But Seifer Almasy was a work in progress. Still is.
I don’t remember what I should. I can be just walking down the street and the déjà vu can become so overpowering. And Fu and Rai start in on stories sometimes, and I don’t remember what the hell they’re talking about. Mostly, though, what I remember I remember in flashes. Like when Raijin is in the kitchen (Fu refuses to cook) frying up fish, and I’ll hear Selphie squeal that ‘fish eyes are soooooo gross!’ Or a girl’s high-pitched giggle will float in the window from down the street and I’ll become lost in dark hair and darker eyes. The clash of metal on metal brings twins apparitions. Me and you, fighting. I look in the mirror and see the scars on my body. The one on my knee somehow connected to Zell. The one on my foot that has something to do with playing at the lighthouse when we were younger. I think… I think I fell, or something. There’s one on my back that I touch constantly. I know it’s subtle ridges better than my own face these days. It’s right near my shoulder blade, almost on my neck. Just the place to run my fingers along when I’m thinking. The one on my face… that I do remember.
It’s the less recent past that’s so difficult. And I kept the strangest memories. I have days upon days of classes, and I remember most every SeeD test I took. I… I remember the day Quistis became SeeD. I remember being proud of her, almost, even though she had passed and I hadn’t. We used to be friends.
But we… we were never friends, were we, Squall? It’s you I have the least memories of, but most of them are filled with blood. Pain. The kind that heals and the kind that doesn’t. I remember traded insults, carefully worded to slip past those defenses you put up.
But maybe that’s all in my head too. Things are fucked up, mixed up with the dreams she used to send me. It’s smoky and hazy, bloody and sexy and painful. I forgot who I was in those dreams. And everyone likes to escape Squall. Don’t think they don’t. You would escape more than anyone. When you practiced your gunblade techniques for so long that your muscles ached and you could barely move and your mind knew nothing other than thrustparrystepturnslash… that wasn’t escaping at all, I’m sure.
Oh, but don’t worry. You’re not the only one. Quistis turns to her books and loses herself in the pages of her research. Zell distracts himself with food and chatters inanely to hide the fact that there actually might be something serious going on. Selphie… Selphie flat out refuses to believe. She’s stuck in make-believe mode, in a land of sugar and clouds and sunshine. Irvine fucks all his cares away. Rinoa? She lets someone else solve everything for her. First her father, but when he gave her more problems than he solved, she shook him off. Adopted her own little resistance group. Then you. Her Knight. And I bet you do chase away her problems. Like some fucking fairy tale. You always did like when Matron told fairy tales. You’d never admit it, but you’d stand hesitantly at the edge of the door, listening carefully.
Huh. The things you remember…
Yeah. You liked fairy tales. And we’d act them out too, but Selphie never wanted to be the princess, and Quistis said she was too old. So we made Zell. Irvine was the evil wizard. Selphie liked being a monster. You and me… we’d fight. I should be the Knight, I was older. But you… you insisted. Stubbornly, over and over, no reason other than ‘I am the Knight’. I usually gave in, taking whatever part was left over. A dragon, a messenger, the benevolent king. You never gave the flowery speeches knights were supposed to give. In fact, more often than not, Selphie would adlib your part.
You used… you liked sunrises. You’d get up at the crack of dawn just to watch them. You’d sit on the roof…
“Why are you here?” Hell, that’s not the important part. “What are you going to do… about me?”
“Come with me.”
You hold out your hand.
There’s something important about it, you standing like that. Something that flickers on the edges of my mind and I don’t dare focus on it for fear it will disappear entirely. But there’s this small moment, where the light is shining behind you and into my eyes, and your gloved hand is outstretched. And I grasp it. It’s disturbingly unusual. Disturbingly familiar. There’s something wrong here. Something very, very wrong.
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