Got to love it when lighting strikes. For most of the day, I have been trying to figure out Squall's rather cryptic message that I knew what was wrong with him. Everything I came up with didn't match the additional fact that he can't say anything about it. It could have done something to do with a top-secret assignment, but that didn't quite fit the bill. Why would I have anything to do about it? Then I remembered his uneasy stance around one Princess Rinoa, or perhaps Sorceress Rinoa would be the better term.
Deciding to get some more facts behind the theory, I wait for the Trepe groupies to go away before leaning up against her desk.
"That's Instructor Trepe to you. What is it Seifer?"
"I just wanted to ask a couple things about when I wasn't around."
He brow creases in thought. "I don't remember you being absent."
"How much time have you spent hanging around Rinoa? I'm talking about during the end of the world and all."
"Oh." She shifts a little nervously in her seat. "What about?"
"Just curious when the lovebirds got together."
"Listen, they are happy together, so if you're planning trouble to get Rinoa back--"
"Oh, please, the ditz was a good fuck, but that's all I wanted from her."
A blush appeared on her face, but at least she wasn't quite so suspicious. "I guess while in outer space they became official."
"Hmm. When did Squally-boy start showing his affection for the princess?"
"That's Acting Headmaster Leonhart to you, and it was just before we found Esthar. He carried Rinoa the whole way there. Why are you asking all of this?"
I flash my best sneer. "I want in on the wedding pool and decided to do a touch of research first. Thanks, Quisty."
"It's Instructor Trepe! Remember that for the future."
I laugh as I leave, but it isn't because of Quistis. It was all too obvious. Practically the moment after Rinoa gets her sorceress powers, Squall is suddenly lovey-dovey. Why hadn't anyone else seen this? They all grew up together, so they should have known Squall doesn't open himself up like that. Or perhaps they all hoped he would find the one to make him 'normal'. Well, I'll have to end this. As Squall implied, I know all to well what it's like to not be able to control your own actions.
Eyes closed, I lean back against the wall, squatting next to the training center entrance. My eyes were hurting from reading off a monitor screen the various books concerning the sorceresses and their spells, but I had yet to figure out a solution to Squall's curse. Damn that slut. Lucky for her, I know she's too much of an imbecile to do the spell herself, so it isn't completely her fault. But the illogical side of me wanted to throw her off the roof of the Garden. It was a very long drop.
A shadow falls over me. I open my eyes to see black leather pants and several belts. Got to ask him about those things one of these days. Taking my time, I look up his body to his face. Even when faced with an obvious examination, the brunette's expression was stone.
My goodness, he spoke first. "Had nothing else to do. Shall we dance?"
His eyes narrow a little and then he turns towards the entrance of the training center. Actually, I was early to make sure no one else was in the room. Can't have anyone overhearing the wrong things. I enjoy watching him stretch a bit before saying anything.
"So, the bitch has got you under her control, is it?"
I had timed the question perfectly as Squall freezes in a bad position and proceeds to fall over onto hands and knees. I will have to remember him in that pose for future fantasies.
He moves to a sitting position on the dirt floor, and then looks at me carefully.
"Do I win a prize?"
" How "
"There were plenty of clues once I knew what the hell I was searching for. I'm ashamed at the others for not suspecting anything."
He sighs loudly, relief washing over him. I didn't realize how much extra tension there was in that frame until it lifted.
"Don't get your hopes up yet, Squally-boy. I haven't figured out how to help you. And face it, you probably have the worse person on your side right now. No one is going to trust whatever I say, especially about sorceresses."
"But you know." His voice is tired.
The silence that follows is uncomfortable from my point of view, suddenly being the only one who could save Squall from a life of Rinoa. The brunette looks like he could sit like that for days. I wonder if he fell asleep.
"Well, nothing else to do right now. Ready to lose this time?"
A shadow of a smile is on his lips when he stands up and pats away some dust.
Fighting a tired Squall the other night was taxing. Fighting a refreshed Squall was like witnessing art in motion. From the beginning he knew he could easily defeat me, but instead he let the fight last. It became a dance after all, Squall leading the way. I wasn't hopeless, mind you, but there is skill and then there is skill that's had a lot of practice. I will just have to work harder to catch up to him. But knowing his ability, I didn't have to hold back myself. Everything was fine, until
"Squall! Stop that!"
And he stops in mid-block. I barely have time to recognize this. Unable to stop the momentum of my gunblade, I turn my grip such that the flat of the blade hits Squall's side instead of him getting sliced in two. The force of the blow knocks him a couple feet back and to the ground. Dropping Hyperion, I run to his side. Unfortunately, since I'm a SeeD candidate thus unjunctured to a GF, I can't form a healing spell.
"Damn it, bitch. Why did you do that?" I slap the unconscious face. "Squall, it's wakey time. Got to heal yourself. Come on." Not getting a response, I look up to Rinoa. "Are you just going to stand there or heal him?"
She snaps out of her trance, and does her girly run to Squall. Kneeling over him, she casts a cure spell. Of course, nothing happens. Knocking herself on the head, "I'm not junctured any more."
I could have spent time explaining to her that she is a sorceress, but it would be faster to carry him to the infirmary. He is already unconscious, so the pain shouldn't bother him. Picking up the limp form, I run out the room, ignoring the high pitched calls behind me. It could have been my name, but I would have to ask some dogs to find out.
It's too bright in here to be my room, so it leaves the question of what the hell happened.
"Are you awake?"
I turn my head to see the plump form of Dr Kadowaki. So if I am in the infirmary, that leads to the logical solution that I had been fighting with Seifer. Damn, after so much experience, I still couldn't beat that man by myself.
"You had a couple bruised ribs, but you should be fine now. When you feel like it, you have a visitor in the hall."
"Thank you, Doctor."
I slide off the table and head outside. Seeing Rinoa squatting on the floor, the memories of the night come back to me fully. She commands, I obey.
"Squall," she says jumping up to hug me. "I was so worried."
"Uhn. Where's Seifer?"
She pouts at me. "He's the one who hurt you. Why should you care about him?"
I couldn't say it was her fault. The words wouldn't form. "Just want to thank him."
"You are weird. Anyway, he is getting lectured by Quistis and the others."
Damn it. "Where?"
"You aren't thinking of stopping them."
"Fine, they are in your office."
Knowing she would just tell me to stop in a couple feet, I pull her along to the elevator. The doors open to the Headmaster's office. Seifer is leaning against the desk, looking quite comfortable despite the angry glares he was getting from Quistis, Zell, and Sephie.
The three look back in surprise and then take a couple of steps from the blonde. Seifer didn't move a muscle.
"Squall, are you alright?"
"Just fine, Instructor Trepe. What is happening here?" I decided on the formal route since everybody was getting their personal feelings into this.
Quistis straightens a little. "Rinoa told us he attacked you. We were getting his side of the story."
Oh, I doubt that one. I wonder how long Seifer had to stand there listening to crap. "We were sparring. He got a lucky hit in. Nothing more. Now, leave this office."
At least the three SeeD members had the mind to look ashamed at their quickness to accuse. Zell even mumbled an apology before they headed for the elevator. Rinoa, however, was another story.
"But I saw him attack you."
"It happens in sparring, love. Now, could I have a moment with him?"
She looks suspiciously at the blonde. "Promise me you will never spar with him again."
"I promise." How could I not?
Satisfied, she joins the other three in the elevator and the door closes.
"I have a great way of curing you. How about I strangle that girl's neck?"
Before I knew it, I had Seifer flat on the desk, an arm on his throat. He couldn't breath and I wasn't letting up on the pressure. Closing my eyes, I force the mantra of "He didn't mean it. He didn't mean it " until I have control over my body again. Staggering backwards, I prepare myself for the blows that should come.
"Damn," I hear him say in between coughs. "I didn't even see it coming."
I stare as he stands up and leans against the desk. Why isn't he attacking?
"What's with the look? If you think I'm going to throw you out the window for that, forget it. This isn't your fault."
"You've changed " The old Seifer had the trend of attacking first, thinking later.
"Heh, finally notice? Well, this has been a blast and all, but I better get to the library so I can eventually say things around you without fearing for my life." Rubbing his throat, he pushes up from the desk and walks towards the door.
To stop him, I place a hand on his chest. "Thank you. You save my life before and now this ."
He looks first at the hand on his chest then up to my face. "Seems I'm not the only one to change. Since when did you learn that phrase?"
I shrug and remove the hand so he can leave. He takes the hint and exits on the elevator.
I collapse into a chair, face in my hands. Now I was about to murder someone over a false love. And not just someone, but perhaps the only one who could help me. Yep, insanity here I come.
'Thank you.' Just two words, eight letters, and it made everything okay. Quistis and them reamed at me for a good hour before Squall popped in with Ms Witch clinging on. I wanted to be upset with him then, but he couldn't have helped being unconscious. In his typical 'as few words as possible' style, he cleared the misunderstandings, although nothing could really remove the suspicion in the other SeeDs' hearts or glaring eyes.
When they were alone, I knew the moment the sarcastic words were out of my mouth that there could be trouble. A fraction of a second later I was on the desk, trying to breathe. Behind the false anger in his eyes (I've seen the guy angry enough times), there was fear. His eyes closed and soon after the pressure released. I was grateful he still had some self-control. I don't think a lesser person could force himself back from killing the man who threaten the sorceress he 'loved', even if the comment was in jest. As I sat up from the desk, he looked ready to take any beating I felt like giving him. I almost took the chance, but I've grown over a short time period. Petty payback would be meaningless. I just want him back to normal.
And then he thanked me. He knew I turned the blade just in time. He knew I am still on his side. He appreciated it. Now I have to live up to that trust.
The whole scene runs through my mind endlessly as I scan the library computer for any kind of information for specifics on the sorceress powers. Most of the data was deleted or hidden. Probably to forget the bad times, or to make sure people didn't get an idea to raise a sorceress for their own. Late into the night, I struck gold coming across an old dairy entry of a woman who took her husband back from a witch. But it certainly was one of those 'easier said than done' things. Better than nothing for the moment.
Looking at my watch, I see it's about one in the morning. With a piece of paper in hand, I head to the training center hoping Squall was having trouble sleeping.
A touch out of breath from the run over here, I smile when the door opens. It wasn't going to be too hard finding the brunette. Just follow the bodies of monsters, and bingo. He is facing two T-rexaurs this time. I reach down for Hyperion, but realize it's in my room. Don't usually need a weapon when going to the library. In the brief time I looked down to my waist, Squall defeated one of the monsters, and is now gracefully avoiding the fearsome attack of its friend. On the counterattack, Squall cleanly slices through the thick neck.
"Damn," I can't help but whisper in awe. If nothing else, this curse has surely helped him pump up several levels.
"What do you want?"
"Ah, right. I think I've got a solution for you." And I hold up the piece of paper.
He goes a little limp, his eyes a bit wider. "Really ?"
Not saying anything else, I turn and head outside. I didn't feel like explaining things to him with monsters all over the place. Shortly after, I hear footsteps behind me. It was nice that you didn't have to talk to Squall to get him to understand the obvious. I lead him to a nearby classroom, of course empty at this late hour. Squall waits near the entrance of the room while I go further in. Making a show of folding the paper and placing it in my pocket, I then lean back on the edge of the desk and cross my arms.
"Before I tell you, I want you to do something first."
His eyes narrow in suspicion and impatience.
"You have to say you love me and then kiss me on the lips."
The glare hardens. "Why are you mocking me?"
"Sorry, no deal otherwise, Squally-boy." Truthfully, I just wanted to feel his lips on mine. Kind of a payback for getting strangled and having tired eyes from reading a computer screen for too long. More research for my fantasies, as it were.
Perhaps realizing that I have been through shit for him or maybe he is just that desperate, Squall takes a step forward.
He raises a hand to his head, massaging a temple. Takes another step closer.
"I lo "
I realize something isn't right when his next step is awkward, causing him to sway.
"Seifer I "
His balance goes out completely, but I manage to get there before he hits the floor. Ah, shit. What have I done?