Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, do not own anything related to the Final Fantasy series. It's all property of Squaresoft, or Sqare Enix if you prefer. So please, be kind and don't sue me
Important Note: I am yet again working on reposting this story. I found several mistakes in the first chapters, and some things I simply wasn't too happy with. I hope you can forgive the mayhem that this story will be until I actually manage to repost all the chapters I found to be erroneous. Unfortunately, I'm sure that there will still be plenty of mistakes to be found -- Blame it on English not being my first language if you're feeling kind, or blame it on me being a lazy bum and horrible speller if not.
Reposted chapters will be marked by two quotation marks ("). I know that reposting will go slow, but hopefully I'll be finished before the revelation of the very last chapter of "Let Me Make It Alright".
Now, on with the story!
Let Me Make It Alright
Chapter 18: "Reunion"
By Angry Angel
Placid whispers and the soft humming of birds in the afternoon breeze lazily sidled their way into the waking conscience of a white-clad, dark haired figure resting peacefully in a heap of stark hospital sheets. Deep pools of slate blue revealed themselves from beneath fluttering eyelids that peeled open ever so gingerly.
He had dreamed; some strange, thick and mellow dream that left him with an implacable feeling. It wasn't necessarily uncomfortable, but every time he tried to reach for and understand it, it seemed to slip right through his fingers and far away from him, only to steal its way right back into his mind as soon as he had given up and let go.
A deep sigh heaved his chest and his eyes roamed the all too familiar ceiling above him. Just how long had he been forced to remain in this bed already? It could have been mere days, but to Squall Leonhart, it felt like eternity. He wasn't used to entrapment, and he wasn't used to being dependent upon the support of others. He didn't very much like it, either. For Hyne's sake, he couldn't even sit up without their help! Sure, in some way he probably had brought this punishment upon himself by continuously trying to struggle out of their keeping, but that knowledge did of course nothing to improve his foul mood.
Pondering whether or not he should call the doctor or one of the nurses to ask them to raise his bed for him, he let his head droop to the left in his pillows, his distant gaze searching for the buzzer on top of his night stand.
As storm blue connected with softest azure, his breath hitched in his lungs.
The most quizzical and thunderstruck look plastered across his pale complexion, Squall gaped at the large sword resting against the seat of a chair only few feet away from his bed. It was ways out of his reach, but it did not take the familiar feeling of sleek metal and mysterious aquamarine for him to recognize the one thing he held most dearest.
His eyes were still working at processing the image, but his mind was already dying to find out who had managed to retrieve the sword at last. Frankly, Squall had pretty much given up hope of LionHeart ever being found again. Quistis and the others had already spent days searching for it without any result. He knew, because he had questioned them on every single one of their visits – some of the few scarce words he had actually bothered to voice during those times.
And yet, all the same, there it was...
Slowly, his hand reached for the buzzer on his table, his fingers pushing the button mechanically while his gaze never left his sword, afraid that it would simply vanish again if he dared to look aside for too long. For some reason, he had always felt oddly comfortable and sheltered in the weapon's faint glow, but even though LionHeart essentially still looked the same, something about it had clearly changed. He couldn't quite place his finger on the sensation, but there was something about it that called his instincts to alert status.
Only mere seconds after he had rung the buzzer, the door opened to admit Doc Kadowaki. Her wrinkly features stretched into a firm smile at the sight of his face turning to meet her's, and she stepped up to his bed.
"Well, Squall, I see you woke up. How did you sleep, dear?"
He blatantly ignored her kind question and flicked his head around to look at LionHeart again.
"My sword..." he started hesitantly, devoid of any other thing to say.
"Oh yes," she said blithely, never ceasing to smile, "Your sword was found after all. I'd assume that you must be quite happy now, sweetheart."
"Who... when did they find it?"
"A few hours ago while you were still asleep. Seifer brought it in."
His eyes snapped wide at the mention of Seifer's name. Seifer Almasy had brought him his sword? Just what was that supposed to mean? Seifer Almasy had no reason whatsoever to come anywhere near his sword, much less to actually return it to him.
This made no sense at all.
"Yes, Seifer," Kadowaki explained as she saw Squall's baffled face. "He walked in here making quite a mess, actually. The dear boy was all covered in dirt."
'Dirt...? Why dirt?'
"Usually I would not permit a muddy student to drop in on a patient visit," she continued sternly, but her face softened immediately, "But it was quite charming how he came trudging into my office desperately trying to clean your sword with his dirty sleeve."
Squall simply continued to stare at her blankly, his blue eyes flickering with incomprehension.
"Well, I lent him a towel, so he cleaned your sword properly before he dropped it off. I certainly wasn't too convinced of having a weapon in my infirmary, but I reckon this is a special situation, and he did promise to keep it safely out of your reach."
The brunette was too preoccupied to even raise as much as a brow at her last comment. Apparently, Seifer had brought his sword and tried to clean it for him. Just why exactly the older gunblader would do anything even remotely nice like that was far beyond Squall's understanding. He had treated Seifer like garbage during the blonde's last visit – not very encouraging for niceties, really.
On top of that, Squall understood perfectly well that Seifer was not residing at Balamb Garden on his own accord. Why should he? Quistis and the others had probably hauled him back to his old school fighting every inch of the way. Why they had done it, he didn't know, but it didn't matter either way.
Seifer Almasy would never visit him out of his own, free will without any sort of strings attached.
That thought stung somehow, and he made sure to squash it ruthlessly, almost satisfied at the feeling of it crushing beneath his heel. It wasn't like he really wanted to care, anyway. He was so very sick of people stepping in and out of his life that he found it much easier to keep them out entirely.
A firm knock at the door drew him out of his musings. His head shot up, fine wisps of chocolate brown hair washing against his alert eyes and high cheek bones. For just the glimpse of a moment, he was hoping and dreading that one person in particular would enter, but he was quickly disappointed.
A familiar tall blonde female entered the room, her cobalt eyes looking hesitant. At the sight of Squall being awake and Kadowaki at his side, her face lit up and she smiled.
"Hi, Squall," she said cheerfully. "Good to see you awake. How did you sleep?"
"Fine," he growled brusquely, not meeting her eyes.
The doctor exchanged curt glances between the two of them, then proceeded towards the door.
"Well, I'll leave you two, I have some things to tend to. Or was there anything that you needed, Squall?"
The brunette shook his head briefly from side to side. Kadowaki nodded at him thoughtfully, her gaze somewhat distant, before she left and closed the door behind herself.
With his eyes much narrower than when told who had returned his sword to him, Squall watched how Quistis crossed the space between the door and his bed and walked up to the only chair in the room.
"Ah. I see he brought it in already."
The dark haired SeeD nodded vaguely, looking at her out of the corner of his eyes. She merely smiled and lowered herself into the chair, fashionably crossing her legs.
"That must've been strange for you," she continued. "What did he say?"
"... Nothing," Squall grunted quietly, glaring at the bed sheet draped loosely over his legs.
"Nothing? What do you mean?"
"I was asleep."
Her golden eyebrows arched in bewilderment, Quistis leaned forward slowly and tilted her head to the side.
"He brought it while you were asleep?"
The note of astonishment in her voice was impossible to miss. Squall snorted.
"As you heard," he replied tartly.
"So you didn't even see him?"
"You'd figure as much."
Her head slowly edged away from him, deep trains of thought suddenly obvious in the royal blue of her eyes. She had expected Seifer to brag and boast with his obvious success, and he had done this? Well, considering his behavior in the training hall, perhaps it did make sense. He seemed rather reluctant to talk with anyone about his search, or his triumph at that.
Still, this was unlike Seifer. Why would he go through the troubles of snatching LionHeart from those dangerous grounds, just to drop it off at his arch-rival's room without a word? He had had no reason not to blow his head out of proportions over it.
Her eyes went wide at the thought.
'Oh come off it, there is just no way... or is there? I suppose it's not entirely out of the possible. But this is Seifer and Squall we're talking about here! The guy with the most inflated ego in the world and the prince of monosyllables... like that's going to happen! Oh my... wouldn't it explain a few things, though? After all, what Seifer did was really nice... too nice...'
"So... I take it you don't even know that Seifer was actually the one who went and searched LionHeart?" she asked slowly.
"Yes. Me and the others had nothing to do with it. We ran into him in the training grounds, but he had already found it. All by himself, and mind you, he didn't even have a weapon since I took Hyperion from him. He went in there only to find your gunblade, even though it was clearly a dangerous task."
She studied his features intently, but Squall was an expert at masking his emotions. Nonetheless, she saw something like deep, heartfelt surprise flickering in his eyes.
"He looked pretty battered, too," she added hopefully.
Squall remained quiet, his blank gaze apparently permanently attached to his sheets. Questions and feelings were forcing their troublesome way from his heart into his mind, and suppressing them suddenly became very difficult.
'Why did he do this? What's he trying to achieve? Who's he trying to impress by playing Mister Nice Guy? Idiot. Well... maybe she's lying. This doesn't sound like the Seifer I know. Then again... he didn't much seem like the Seifer I knew last time I saw him, either... Hn. Whatever.'
"And there is something else," Quistis continued, her voice sort of swaying with dramatic potency. "LionHeart was actually reacting to him. It was glowing in his hands."
This did catch Squall's attention, briskly so, and his gaze whipped up to meet her's.
"Yes," she nodded at him assuringly. "I couldn't quite believe it either, but I saw it with my own eyes. It was quite amazing. Do you know why it would do that?"
The puzzled look on Squall's handsome face told her that he had no more of a clue than she did. However, his eyes did lock on to the slender blade of LionHeart, and for a moment she thought that she saw his features darken a few crucial shades, his arcane eyes meshing with a form of understanding. The moment passed, though, and Squall's head lowered again.
"Whatever," he replied coolly, his emotionless façade snapped tightly back into place.
Quistis sighed. For a second there, she had seriously expected that Squall would open up to her and discuss the possible meanings behind LionHeart's odd reaction to Seifer. But Squall guarded his thoughts and emotions like a wary blood hound, and his defenses were yet unscathed. She found herself wondering just what exactly Seifer's "secret" was. The blonde always managed to stir Squall's frigid temper with ease, drawing his soul from behind its bland veneer.
How and why, she had no idea at all.
"Did you want anything?" the voice next to her suddenly drawled icily, repulsion over her lingering presence only too evident.
She blinked in surprise at this particularly nasty display of rudeness, but she was much too used to it already to actually be insulted by it. Somehow, she managed to not let the small smile falter from her lips.
"Nothing in particular, no," she replied lightly. "I just wanted to see how you were doing and look if Seifer had brought back LionHeart already."
When Squall said nothing and merely seemed to be grinding his teeth, she shook her head in growing exasperation and rose from her seat.
"Well, I see that he did, and that you're obviously not in the mood for conversation."
'When was Squall ever in the mood for conversation? Well, I suppose he was for a little while, when Rinoa was still around...'
She froze the thought immediately, pushing away the memory of the brunette girl that she had never particularly liked, anyway. Then she looked down upon Squall, who was yet persistently ignoring her.
"Are you going to have dinner soon?" she asked, still trying to be polite.
He nodded once, then resumed to staring into bland nothingness.
"Okay... I'm sure the others will stop by later. They're kind of busy right now, you see. Zell had to run downtown and Cid is trying to get back into the habit of running Garden. Edea is spending a lot of time with Selphie... I think she's planning on helping her and Irvine with the re-building of Trabia. They're even working on a plan of erecting a new Garden facility in Dollet."
Quistis realized once more that no matter what she said, it didn't faze Squall the slightest bit. Either he wasn't paying attention or he simply didn't care, but it made no real difference. Lately, she always felt like she was talking to a brick wall when she was around him. Things did seem to have improved slightly since Seifer's arrival, though, so perhaps there was hope for the future.
"Enjoy dinner then, Squall. I'll check on you again tomorrow."
This time, he didn't bother to do so much as nod.
She crossed the room and closed the room behind herself quietly, leaving the dark haired Commander to his own world of self-monologues and imperturbable solitude. As she fastened her hand upon her hip and sighed irritably, she couldn't help but roll her eyes.
'I'm just glad he didn't have to talk Ultimecia to death. We'd still be fighting her now.'
=To be continued!=
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