Author's Notes: Much work with Anney aka undecipherable on this, and got much help too! It's starting to develop nicely. and this is NOW BETA-ED! thanks laughingwolf.
After leaving Squall's office, I ran to catch them at the elevator, but they were a little too fast for me. I looked out the window beside the elevator and watched them walk towards the entrance.
I tapped the button for the elevator to come back to this level, and kept tapping, as if it would make it hurry.
I couldn't do anything to stop them.
I watched as Lady Edea met up with a woman with bright red hair. They stood by the directory and talked.
This is the chance I need! If I can just hurry! I kept thinking to myself, still relentlessly tapping the button.
Edea was waving her hands and shaking her head, the look on the red haired woman's face was clear from here. Sadness.
Seifer was looking at the building, the arches, and the flowing water. It amused me when he looked over the hand railing, tilted his head, and turned to Edea to say something.
She looked in his direction and laughed, patting him on the shoulder.
The bell dinged, signalling me to get in the elevator. Quickly I hopped in, and pressed the button for the main floor.
Even though the elevator was a fast one, it felt as if it was taking its sweet time today. I felt it slow down and the bell dinged again. I charged out, yelling, "Wait!" when I suddenly realized I was only on the second floor.
There were cadets swarming around me, heading into the lift, as I was leaving it.
"Crap! Crap! Crappity Crap!" I spun around and watched as the doors closed again, a couple female cadets snickering behind their hands at me.
I ran to the far side of the bridge and looked down towards the directory. Nobody was there. They'd left! I could feel a panic starting to sweep over me. Lady Edea was a very powerful Sorceress, and if she wanted, she could just leave. I was hoping that she wasn't planning that, to leave through a wall or something. Squall mentioned that earlier, that she could do that. It sorta creeps me out. The thought to have that ability to walk through solid objects like it's nothing but a normal doorway, it just unnerves me.
I mean, even magic, when I draw it or junction it from the GF's, I feel uneasy using it. It all seems so unnatural at times. That's why I like using my fists as weapons. It's something that I can count on. I don't have to worry about them not being able to draw, or turning against me. They are a part of me.
I press the button again and I can hear the whirl of the mechanics come to life behind the glass protective door. The lift slides into place, and the doors open.
I jog in, watching the light for main light up under my finger.
Again, it feels like forever and I start shadow boxing, waiting for the ping of the opening doors.
The sun against my face felt nice. It felt warm enough to melt the chill that settled over me. I didn't understand why Commander Leonhart turned us away. I know that we didn't get the whole story out before he shooed us out the door, but it would have been polite to at least hear us out in full. However, some people just have closed minds, and don't want to hear anything.
"Lady Edea, what do we do now? Balamb Garden won't help... does this mean we have to stop her ourselves?"
I watched as a pained look crossed her face. She probably didn't know how to answer, and I couldn't blame her.
"I don't know my dear boy. I just don't know." I heard her sigh.
"I just don't see why they didn't hear us out! He was rude! What Rinoa did, and how she did it wasn't something that the local authorities could deal with. If it was just a rape, then yes, but when she used force, it was through magic. Garden is supposed to be there to help against the powers of Sorceresses gone mad, isn't it? That's what you told me. Lady Edea, I, I just don't know what to say!"
I felt all the emotions I was holding back well up and begin to spill over.
I was angered that a Garden would turn us away without fully hearing the full story.
I was hurt and distraught over Rinoa raping me, not to mention that I felt a tinge, no, more than a tinge of guilt about the whole thing. No matter what Edea and Evelyn said, I still felt guilty about what happened. I felt that maybe, if I was a bit stronger, that I could have called Edea before it happened. Perhaps, Rinoa was just possessed by the new magic going through her. They say that Carrier Sorceresses go mad quicker once they get powers, unless they have a Knight with them. Natural Sorceresses don't go mad right off the bat because we have had magic in their systems. I'm hoping that's why Rinoa did what she did.
I felt Edea's watchful gaze on me, and I turned to look at her.
"Seifer, you can't blame yourself for what happened. For any of it, not for Garden turning us away, not for Rinoa raping you. You can't be held responsible."
I hated it when she knew what I was thinking. She gently ran a hand through my hair. "My dear Seifer, I had always hoped that I could protect you against the world. You were so young when you came to live with me. I look at you, and I know I raised you right. You are kind, and wise, and forgiving. I know you are trying to find a way to look for faults that Rinoa can't be blamed for her actions... "
I sighed and bowed my head. "I just don't want to believe it. I don't."
"Rinoa isn't a Natural Sorceress. She gains her powers from the death of another. You know that. And from what you told me, she has been gaining powers at a furious pace. That alone would cause a bit of madness. She has no Knight, and she seeks one in you."
"Why? Why me?"
My dark haired Sorceress began to walk again. The look on her face told me she was thinking of how to word things.
"It is said, that if a Knight is a Natural Sorceress to another Sorceress, like a Carrier, the powers are so much stronger." Evelyn spoke up, almost hesitant. Edea nodded.
"But I don't have much power." I replied, trying to understand it.
We walked slowly, the wind carelessly blowing through our hair as if life was joyful.
"I will explain it all, or as most as I can. Dr. Odine has done much research, and there is a paper that was written as a result. It explains the ideas of Knights and Sorceresses, and how everything goes together."
"I have to read it, don't I?" I asked ruefully.
Edea smiled a bit, and Evelyn smirked. "Yes. You do."
I looked out to the sea that encompassed the island and felt, for a moment, at peace. I could feel the anger creep up, wrapping me in its presence.
A loud screeching roused me from my thoughts and quickly brought me back to the present.
A very, very large Glacial Eye floated towards us. From what I've learnt in Bestiary care, Glacial Eyes aren't usually creatures to attack humans.
Evelyn was frozen to the spot. Edea came out of her shock much quicker and attacked the large blue beast with her Icicle attack.
The floating beast made a noise much like a squeal of delight and began to go towards them.
Evelyn brought her hands out in front of her to attack with a spell. Nothing happened and again, shock overcame her small frame. She looked at her hands in disbelief. I was stupid to think that I was the only one abused by Rinoa.
"Evelyn, get back! Get behind me!" Edea yelled at the small red haired woman. Quickly she did as she was told.
The monster began beating at them, with magic and its flapping appendages, beating them down quickly. Edea's powers were useless against it, being mostly healing and Ice attacks. Evelyn was knocked out and tossed to the side, as if to be dealt with later.
I felt helpless, and angry. I felt so angry that I couldn't do anything, that my powers weren't developed enough to help them.
I felt my anger build, and I found myself yelling at the beast, trying to get its attention away from the Ladies.
"You stupid animal! How dare you attack us!"
I could feel my anger swell at the foolhardiness of this fiend. I wanted to knock it out but not kill it.
I closed my eyes, the irritation washing over me. Suddenly I could feel the ground rumble beneath me and I opened my eyes to see a chunk of the ground detach, grip the Glacial Eye by the tail and pulled it down hard. It landed with a crunch, a squish and a screech of pain.
It quickly got back up, wailing loudly, its appendages and tail whipping wildly and of course, it headed straight for me.
Fear flashed through me for a moment. What was I thinking! I can't believe I just did something as stupid as incurring the wrath of a monster!
However, I was ready this time. Perhaps I lucked out and my powers decided to grant me a bit of oomph so I could save Edea and Evelyn.
I glanced over at Eve's prone body, then to Edea crawling towards her, planning to use her body as a shield. The terrible thought of either of them dieing or being brought to more harm gave me a rush of protectiveness towards them, even more so, since they couldn't do any real damage against the Glacial Eye. I felt my powers begin to surge.
The icy beast was so much larger than it should have been and the sheer size of it sorta scared me.
I needed to think of something that would get it away. I needed to find a word that would help me. My mind flew through words, trying to find something, that again, wouldn't kill it, but just make it leave us alone. My mind finally offered me one as the beast loomed over me.
I pictured the beast being flung far away from us by the earth. I uttered the word, almost as a prayer to Hyne above.
"Abandon" I whispered. For a moment, nothing happened, no rumble of the earth, just the wind blowing over the plains. Abruptly the ground came up like a wave in the ocean and flung the beast far from my sight.
I sighed with relief, and turned to Edea and Evelyn. I picked up Eve, adrenaline pumping through my body, the thought to get somewhere safe and to do it quickly.
"That was very impressive. I've never seen anybody do that!" a voice said from behind us.
The sun was bright, and shining. The sky was blue and you could smell the ocean air. It would have been a perfect day to go have a picnic with Squall. However, that would have to wait.
The road curved up ahead and was hidden by a few bushes and a decline in the geography. They could behind there, and I took off in a run.
I ran for what seemed hours, but of course, it was only a few moments.
I turned the corner, rounded some bushes and spotted one of the hugest Glacial Eyes I've ever seen! This monster was huge and pissed off.
I was thinking about jumping into action to help, but decided to hold back. I mean, Seifer was an apprentice and Lady Edea was a Sorceress, so they should be able to handle themselves.
However, I took a quick look at the situation, and noticed that a red-haired woman was lying face down on the grass, and Edea was crawling towards her.
Seifer however, was standing and really pissed off.
His stance said it. I didn't quite know what to do.
Without warning the ground whipped up and tossed the Glacial Eye away from them. I was impressed. Very impressed.
"That was very impressive! I've never seen anybody do that!" I gushed. Seifer looked at me like I was slowly growing another head.
"Can we take them back to the Garden? Till she wakes up, then we'll leave. Please." He whispered. The look on his face was devastating. He looked as if he were holding back a floodgate of emotions. I nodded and helped Lady Edea up.
We made our way back to the Garden quicker than I think I ever have.
I kept stealing glances over at him. His determination was awe-inspiring. I would gladly call this man a friend, if I could. His will to protect the two women was astonishing, and it made me smile. I felt an admiration for him that I probably wouldn't have for anyone else. It was just more than his fierce determination; it was how willing he opened up to us in Squall's office. He didn't know us, but he was asking for help.
A part of me felt bad because Squall turned him away so quickly. I'm sure that if Squall could have seen him, he would have also been impressed.
I think I made my mind up, that whether or not Garden was involved with was going on in his life, no, in their lives; I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to help and if anything, I wanted to make sure that he found some sort of justice.
The huge marble and metal Garden was immense but Zell quickly showed us to the Infirmary.
The shorter blonde man quickly told the Doctor and a woman named Quistis what had happened. I was stunned at how fast they leapt to action. Two beds were turned down, and monitors were set up. The superficial cuts and bruises were healed, but Edea and Eve needed to rest.
I hovered over Edea's bed. She had taken lots of damage from the Glacial Eye and I was worried about her. I knelt down and gently took her hand.
She slowly opened her eyes and smiled at me. "Seifer. I'm so proud of you. You have shown much ability, and I should have worked you harder at learning. We will do that once we get home. I realize now, that even though you are trained in healing arts, sometimes one needs to know how to defend and sometimes attack."
I bowed my head and nodded.
"I need to rest my dear boy, and you should as well."
I nodded in agreement. I would, but first, I wanted to heal them a bit with my own magic, if anything, just so I could feel like I did something useful, other than the defensive battle.
I know that was a stupid way to feel. I did lots. I beat back a monster without killing, and that is very hard to do. To not give in to the easiness of killing, to find a way to let them live, and also for you to walk, or run away. It is one of the first things that Edea taught me, to not give in to such power, as it could harm you and lead you on a path of destruction.
I bowed my head and called upon the healing powers in body. I saw in my mind a light surrounding Edea, going to the sore places in her body, healing them, and knitting together unsteady bones, which were battered. I felt my body begin to warm and I knew that my powers were helping her heal.
Slowly, I moved her small hand onto the bed and moved to Eve. I did the same for her.
The light moving through her body, filling the spots that her magic once filled, if only for a short time, making her feel a bit more whole.
Gradually I let my self relax and I placed her hand next to her as well.
I looked up at the clock, its hands saying it was later in the evening than I expected. I also noticed the smaller blonde man.
I smiled a bit before the weariness overcame me.
"Lets get you to a bed as well." The tattooed man whispered, careful not to wake the sleeping patients.
I followed him at a slow pace, my bones and muscles feeling sapped of all strength. At my leisurely pace, I took in the building. High ceilings, a soft blue metal and cream marble complimented each other. The soft gurgle of water echoed throughout the vast halls. It was peaceful.
I yawned and shuffled along.
"I don't normally do that much magic work. I feel so wiped. I think a nice long sleep will help restore my energy... "
"I wanted to ask you, if you don't mind answering that is." Zell asked, looking up at me.
"Sure. Ask away."
"Okay. You are Edea's apprentice as she mentioned, but you don't seem to have lots of power. Of course, what you did today was an amazing display! I was just wondering if you are a Carrier Sorcerer or a Natural... "
I smirked at his seeming unboundless energy and excitability.
"I am a Natural. I was about 10 when Edea 'adopted' me. She obviously isn't my real mother, but I have treated her as such and she in turn has been like a mother to me, and I hold her in high regards for that.
She taught me more, on how to heal and to use herbs, rather to use my Sorcerer powers. Also, we didn't know what they were. Most usually know what type of Magic they have. Edea has Ice, Eve has-had Water, but I didn't have anything that really stuck out. However, within the past couple of days, my latent powers have been more active, but it seems only in times when I'm more emotional. Then again, I've always been good with plants, so maybe I have Earth Magic.
Edea also mentioned that once we get home, she would start training me in defensive and offensive magic. Or rather, how to use mine defensively and offensively."
"Okay, that makes sense. Edea's apprentices have always been really good at the use of Herbs and Healing magics. They usually go to the Sorcery Guild for more training. Are, are you planning on going there too?"
I glanced down at him. The thought had never crossed my mind, and I verbalized that. He nodded, his odd hair bouncing, reminding me of some sort of bird. I didn't make a comment, as it would have been mean, and I was grateful for his help.
We slowed our pace even more so then stopped. He punched in a simple code on the door pad, and repeated it to me. I took it in and thanked him.
I gazed into the darkened room. A dread began to wrap itself through me and I faltered in my step. I turned to Zell, a question on my lips.
I stopped myself, thinking it was stupid.
He gazed up at me, and tilted his head. "What is it? Are you okay?"
I licked my lips, feeling the dryness of them.
"I..I don't know how to say this. I'm scared." I glanced at the floor, feeling stupid for saying anything. I felt even stupider as I felt the next question tumble out of my mouth.
"Would you stay with me tonight? Nothing sexual... I just need someone there. After Rinoa... I." I sighed. I couldn't say anymore. I blinked back tears. "I'm sorry. I'll let you go."
I turned to leave, when I felt the softness of leather and the calluses of skin on my hand.
"I'll stay. It must be frightening for you. To be away from your home, and especially so soon after what Rinoa did to you."
I could feel myself flinch at the unspoken words. I could almost feel it as a taint on my skin. A beacon so that others could see, see and judge.
I lowered my head, partly in thanks, and most in shame.
We walked into the small room, our footwear making noises on the tiled floor. I dropped my jacket on a chair, let my boots drop to the floor with heavy thuds, and I let my clothes fall to the floor. I padded to the bed, clothed in only my underwear, and got between the crisp sheets. I could feel sleep twine its sticky fingers to me, and I started to drift off.
I could hear a soft click and hushed tones of a conversation, and then the sweet embrace of sleep.
I agreed to stay, and I would keep my word to him. I didn't want to see any more pain on his beautiful face than I had too.
Of course, I needed to call Squall.
I noticed he quickly shed his clothes and climbed into bed, and I took that time to call Squall quickly.
I told him that Seifer asked me to stay with him, being uneasy in a new environment, and everything else that happened.
He always did. Just like I understood him.
He never got jealous, and neither did I, it was an understanding we had. We were both big boys and could take care of ourselves, and if need be, each other.
I wanted to spend a few more minutes talking with Squall, wishing that I could hold him close and curl up next to him, however Seifer was having a fitful sleep and I did promise him I'd be there.
Reluctantly, I hung up and turned towards the bed.
Everything felt light. It was airy and surreal. The landscape was familiar, but twisted just enough to seem off kilter. I couldn't place my finger on it, but it didn't really matter.
I started to try to relax and look through the dream like a watcher peering in a window. On the outside, and feeling numb.
I could hear a whispering. Maybe it was a wind, maybe it was a swarm of voices; I couldn't place it, and part of me felt the cold tendrils of fear beginning to leech away the calm that sleep put me in.
It was a voice. And one that I knew well.
"Seifer. I am glad to see that you are well."
I looked around, fear gripping me tight now.
I spun in mad circles, looking, searching but not finding the voice's owner.
"Show yourself! Don't do this to me!" I cried out. I could feel my voice begin to crack with tears.
"Seifer, I'm sorry." Rinoa stood in front of me, her hands fiddling with her hair. "Can we talk?"
I felt panicky, but I agreed.
"I really want you as my Knight, and I am very determined to have you. I don't see why you just can't accept that. Think of how powerful we would be!"
"Rinoa, don't you see. I don't want to be your Knight. I have powers of my own; I might need my own Knight. And this is something we could have talked about. You didn't have to rape me. I would have helped you find a Knight, one that would have suited you best."
She gazed in my general direction, a blank look on her face, as if she was somewhere else.
Suddenly she looked at me. "Do you know how I can come into your mind?"
It never came into my mind how she was here, or why I didn't notice it until she told me. The answer scared me, and I shook my head.
"You silly. When we made love that was two of the three marks of being a Knight! You didn't know that did you?" She made a motion to come towards me and I screamed.
She looked shocked, as if I gave her a start and sort snarled. It was quickly cut from my field of vision as a huge ring of trees shot up from the ground around her. She was blocked in; the trees were unyielding to her. I could tell she tried to move towards me, but the trees, large and full as they were, moved with her. I could hear her screeching at me. I started screaming and running away from her.
"NO!" I scream at her.
"I'm going to have you, one way or another! You will be mine Seifer!"
"NO! NONONONO! I will never be yours!" I scream at her.
I can feel hands shaking me awake and I hear a male voice, urgent and patient all at the same time.
"Seifer, wake up. Come on, wake up."
I can't fully get away from Rinoa; she has some grasp on my mind. I don't know what to do. "Help. Please help." I whisper.
"Okay, its okay Seifer, I'll help. I'm going to let my GF into your head. Just relax, it will be painless." I could hear Zell saying. "His name is Laru. He will help you."
I could feel his hands, cool on my sweaty brow, soothing me. I started to relax my body and my mind, even though I kept the trees up around Rinoa.
I could feel this sensation of warmth and love, calming me more. I looked to the side and saw a shape. It was humanoid and shimmering. The colours weren't blinding, but beautiful and comforting.
It looked at me, walked over to me and spoke. I couldn't tell which was its real voice and what were echoes of it.
"I want to help you. My Lightening wants to help you. Let us help. We will make you strong." Laru said.
"You are Laru? And you will help me? How? I don't understand." I felt like I was grasping for straws.
"You don't want The Tainted One here. I will help you make her leave." He told me with such gentleness.
"Please help me." I almost begged.
He took my hands, folded them in his and let his warmth and strength flow over me. I could feel Rinoa being pushed back, back out of my mind.
The trees I projected in my mind to stop her pushed back at her, making her move away from us. They became bigger and stronger. Vines climbed their length, filling in the cracks that were there. Laru began to hum, his power becoming stronger, his grip tighter. He spoke, eons of wisdom and the gentleness of love swam through his voice, "you need to make a hole behind her, one that she will leave through. Do not worry about making her leave. I will do that."
I did as he told me, pictured a wide vast hole, one that she couldn't escape, behind her.
I felt his power surge and a final scream came from Rinoa before I couldn't feel her in my mind anymore.
Slowly he faded and I opened my eyes.
Zell smiled softly. "I think we need to talk to Edea about getting you a Knight of your own, before Rinoa tries again."
I nodded, but felt so tired. "Can we do that tomorrow? I just want to sleep."
Zell smiled and drew me close. "Yes, we can sleep. Laru will watch over us, and tomorrow, we will start to search for your Knight."
I don't understand why he doesn't want to be my Knight. We could be so powerful. We could have the world at our fingertips!
My powers have grown so much! Doesn't he see that I'm not a child anymore? I don't understand!
The air was cooling quickly around me, and I knew I had to go back in soon.
The wind was winding fingers through my hair in a comforting way. I could hear my name being whispered in my ear.
"Rinoa"' it said. "We will help you, we can give you your knight, and we can fulfill your dreams."
I turned to it and listened.
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