A.N. Hey! A slightly longer part this time, but their still really short! There's gotta be a secret to writing long parts..... for the love of god, WON'T SOMEBODY TELL IT TO ME!?!?!

Disclaimer: I don't own any part of final fantasy, and I know that £1.29 and two French francs ain't going to change that.


Part Three - through the looking glass

By Rie and Atsuko

The thunder cracked above him, and Zell was jolted awake, the lightning flashing and lighting his sparse room with a blue aura, purple shadows towering in the corners. Rain thrashed against the panes of glass in his window. And Zell knew. He just knew that he'd be out there. He walked to the window. The boy stood in the rain, hair hanging around his face, chalked pentagon blurring as the rain cleansed the pavement. The candles were there, flames somehow surviving the storm. He looked straight at Zell, as if he'd been waiting for him. Zell felt a sudden impulse to go down, to stand in the rain and not care who saw or how wet he was. He dressed and picked up the knife from his bedside cabinet, just in case.

The boy was still there, cross-legged in the pentagon that made up the heart of the star. The symbols on the wall were smeared with red, Zell stood still in the alley and watched the candle flames leap higher and higher, until they hid the boy from view, until they threatened to set the storm torn sky alight. A single gloved hand reached out of the flames, and Zell took it. It drew him in toward the flames, and even if he'd wanted to resist he wouldn't have been able to.

Zells scream mingled with the thunder as he was surrounded, for one brief, beautiful, moment, by the sweet agony of the cleansing fire, as it tore through him, and set alight his very soul, burning away all the impurities, and he stepped through, power flowing through him as he threw back his head and screamed into the lightning as it lit the alley and dissolved the fire with its pure, liquid light. In front of him, was the boy, their hands clasped as the their shouts melted into the noise of storm. Zell was suddenly aware that he couldn't feel the floor beneath his feet. He was rising, suspended in mid air. The boy stared into his eyes and Zell shouted his question into the gale.



Zell tore his hand away as the storm cresendow, filling them with light, giving them a power Zell didn't even realise existed, and his scream was lost in the night as he fell, as the asphalt screeched up to greet him, Zell hit the floor with a sickening thud, and lay panting.

"Why the fuck did you let go?!"

The angry question was shot down at him. He swivelled his head and looked up at the boy standing above him, apparently unharmed by the fall.

"Wha..what? What happened? Fuck man, we were floating! I WAS FLOATING!"

"So?" The boy arched an eyebrow which disappeared into the dark hair plastered to his forehead by the rain.

"SO?! SO we were floating!"


The boy grabbed Zell by the wrist and hauled him to his feet, and Zell was dragged, unprotesting, up the stairs to the room next to his own

"My apartment."

Zell grunted in acknowledgement as he followed the boy in.

"Right, it's explanation time."

Zell studied the room. It was dark, and the only furniture in it was a large wooden chest, carvings covering its heavy sides. A variety of candles covered its top, and the boy selected two of these and lit them. He handed one to Zell. The room was very dark, and the candles cast weird shadows over them, and the darkness collecting in the corners of the room, glowering at the flickering flame, willing it to be extinguished. Zell looked deep into the flame, the feeling of the fire all around him as he stepped through still fresh in his mind.

"There're three things I wanna know. Who are you, what happened to us, and why did you follow me?"

"I'm Squall, and we were channelling power."

"We were what?"

"Channelling power. The alleys situated on a heart line. Heart lines contain power, but it takes a certain amount of power to be able to focus enough energy to tap a line. When we joined hands, we made a connection, and tapped the line. The power was strong enough to lift us. When you let go, you broke the connection-"

Squall sounded annoyed.

"-so we fell."

"Yeah but why do it in the first place? And what about my third question?"

"You connect with a line to draw its power, but you need two people to do it. And I didn't follow you."

"Yeah, of course."

"No, I didn't. I saved your ass though. I dragged you into that alley..." Squall grinned.

"You'd run right past our apartment building."

Zell blushed, crimson creeping up under the curling lines of his tattoo, and murmured something indistinct in to his hand.

"I have a pretty good idea about who did follow you though. His name's Seifer Almasy."

"But why?"

"Dunno. Scare attack, probably. But that's not the point. Who knows your here?"

"No-one...... my family that's it. No-one else."

"Then how did he...... ? The house! What if he's watching the house?! He'll know... he'll've seen us....."

Squall turned away and rested his elbows on the window sill, looking out as if he expected Zell's attacker to be out there.

Zell suspected that his little outburst had been more to himself than to anyone.

But who would want to watch our apartments? That Seifer guy? An' why the hell would he want to scare me?

Above, the storm flickered and died, leaving the night suddenly quiet as they sat, waiting for dawn, in the little room lit only by the candles they held until they burnt down and scorched their hands, and they set them carefully onto the floor, effectively gluing the with a few drops of hot wax.

Squall was the one who broke the silence.

"Watch this."

He stared hard at the candle in front of him, and Zell sat, breathless and waiting, wondering what this strange boy was doing. Then he squeaked and drew back away from the inferno that was suddenly towering above, springing from the wick of the candle. Then just as suddenly as it had come, the fire died, leaving only the bright imprint of the flames branded onto Zells eyelids when he closed them.


"Not really. It's quite easy, in fact. All you have to do is concentrate on the flame, and will it to go up. Try it."

Zell looked from the candle to the ceiling, miraculously free of scorch marks where the flame had licked it. He looked down at the candle again and shifted his wait nervously. He felt more than a little stupid, and wondered if this was a big joke. And if it was, how he had come to be the punch line. Then he felt it. The beginnings of the magik. He concentrated on the tiny flame, willing it higher, then suddenly it whooshed upward, reaching the ceiling and scorching his face with unbearable heat. It spread over the ceiling and roared above them, and Zell bent down, away from the heat. Dimly, he heard the windows shatter, raining shards of hot glass over him. He wrenched his eyes from the candle and the spell was broken. He raised his head tentatively.

"Woah. Didya see that? I did it! I really did it!"

"Well, its the last time I invite YOU round. First vist, and you scorch the ceiling and shatter the windows! Next time, try and use a little LESS power, or you'll burn the house down!"

"Uh....c'n I try again?"


"Awwww...I was jus' gettin' started!"

"Not at two in the morning you weren't."

The boards were cool and hard under Zell as he mumbled in his sleep and rolled over, emerged in his dreams.

Zell dropped to his knees and screamed. The pain in his back was unbearable, and he screamed in pain and terror. The asphalt of the courts was rough under his hands and he screeched again, the harsh sound ripping through the night. Then, as quickly as it had come, the pain was gone. Zell looked up and saw Squall looking at him with wide eyes. Zell, still on the ground, reached behind him and felt wings, hands knowing what they would fell before they even felt it, before he touched the wings sprouting from his shoulder blades, rising high above him and fanning out, still bloody near his back where they had torn through his skin and ripped twin holes in his tank top. Zell stood and looked back at Squall. Zell opened his mouth but no sound came out. Then he was rising, flying, into the cold, grey sky, and all around him were the clouds, icy and moist on his face and arms....

Zell shot up, stiff from sleeping on the floor. The candles were small stubs on the floor, and milky sunlight poured in through the window. Tentatively, he reached up and felt behind him. No wings met his hands, and relief flooded through him. He placed a hand on his shoulder blade and yelped. Through the rip in his top, the skin was raw and bloody. Beside him, Squall slept on.

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