Accept Me
February 2003

 

[Squall]

The desert was left behind days ago, our journey now taking us through a peaceful forest of strange creatures I've never seen before.  I have to rely on Seifer's judgment to know when such animals would be a threat to us or not.  The smells of the forest are interesting as well, almost pine scented but sweeter somehow.

As we walk, I am unable to wipe a half smile from my face.  The way Seifer's dark wings move and bounce when he walks caught the pup's attention from day one.  Instead of walking normally, Wren more hops as he goes forward, attempting to grab hold of the leathery skin held just out of reach.  Only once has the pup managed to succeed and latch its small but sharp teeth onto a wing, and the resulting punishment was quickly forgotten by the next day.  At least Seifer is smarter about keeping his wings high, but already the small animal has grown an inch over the week.  If Wren is to grow as large as his parents within the year, I image Seifer's wings won't be safe for too much longer.

Without warning, the blonde demon whips around to glare at the dog, fangs bared with a sneer.  Wren just barks gleefully in reply, the creature showing no fear of us since that first meeting.  At my stifled snicker, the narrowed green eyes focus on me.  My amusement evaporates at the sight of fear and tension in those eyes, but I easy mask the worry I feel for him.

"We're stopping here for tonight."

I nod, not questioning his decision despite the fact there's still several hours left for travel.  After setting down my pack, I approach Seifer in a wordless offer of comfort.  He just stares at me for a time until the pup begins jumping once again, the snapping sounds breaking the silence of the forest.

"Fucking shit!  What is that mutt's problem?"

Smiling softly, I kneel down.  "Wren.  That's enough."

The tan heads cocks at the sound of his name and he trots up to me without too much pause.  The intelligence of the small dog has impressed me so far, the creature seemingly understanding more than he should.  Wren brushes against me, a silent command to be held.  Sighing, I take him into my arms and stand up.

"What kind of name is 'wren' anyway?"

"It's a bird."

I notice Seifer's wings twitch.  "A bird..."

Trying hard not to smile, I nod.  "A very small bird."

"Why do you hate me?"

I laugh at his attempt of a crestfallen look, Wren barking along with me.

Seifer surrenders with a smirk and rubs the pup's head roughly.  "I'll tear you to pieces if you ever bite me again," he states in an overly sweet tone.

I only smile, glad to see some of the worry driven away from the bright green eyes.  It's strange to want my master to be happy just for the sake of being happy instead of me trying to escape a punishment of sorts or the possibility of being used to vent out frustration.  Or perhaps I'm also trying to find some relief for myself.

"If we leave early tomorrow," he starts, now lightly scratching under the dog's chin, "we should arrive just before sunset."

"... ..."

"Squall.  I was wondering..."  He smirks, then shakes his head.  "Never mind."

"I want you."  The words leave me before I bother thinking about them.

He straightens at the words, eyelids closing briefly.  "Tie up that damn mutt."

In short time Wren is chained to a nearby tree, the pup happily gnawing away at a bone leftover from dinner last night.  Both Seifer and I stand naked under thin branches of purplish leaves that block some of the afternoon sun from us.  The blonde demon closes the bare distance between us, a large hand soon cupping my face and fingers raking in my hair.  His other arm snakes around my back, pulling me against him as he rests his chin on my shoulder.

"Will you let me do everything?" he asks softly.

"As you wish, my master."

There's a breathed laugh as he holds me tighter.  "Thank you, holy one."

He guides me down to the mossy, leaf covered floor of the forest with unneeded care, then only looks over my body with a kind of reverence.  So many people I've had stare at me with unrestrained lust, but Seifer's gaze is like a gentle caress as he takes in my appearance.  My leg bends up reflexively, my need for him within me growing every second I'm forced to wait.  Hell, he hasn't dared to touch me like this since over a week ago, and I really don't care that I shouldn't want to be used like this.

Seifer smiles at the move and places his hand on my thigh, squeezing in a silent scold that he is supposed to lead the way.  He leans over me then, dark wings shielding even more of the sunlight from my eyes.  His kiss is rougher than any before as he takes control, the man blocking my attempt to graze his fangs with my tongue.  In rebellion, I brush my hand up his back until reaching the base of a wing, then stroke the juncture of pale and dark flesh.  He arches into that touch, the move resembling Wren's need for comforting contact.

Breaking the kiss, he moves lower down my throat and then along my shoulder, all the time his hand caressing my thigh and occasionally brushing against my growing arousal without the dignity to give it proper attention.  Reaching my upper arm, Seifer pauses in his journey along synthetic skin, instead kissing and lapping at that one area at my shoulder.  By the time I understand it is the tattoo of Griever he is obsessing over, the part demon bites into flesh with his lengthy teeth.  I inhale sharply at the unexpected pain.

He releases the hold abruptly, then lapping at the wounds he caused.  "...sorry... 'm sorry..." he mumbles.

"I want it gone, too," I reply softly, not bothering to heal the broken skin.

Eventually Seifer moves from that spot, slowly trailing down my arm with his mouth.  He pauses once when discovering a ticklish area along my forearm, the brush of lips and graze of teeth making my skin shiver under his touch.  Before he can continue the gentle torment, I twist my hand from his hold and place it on his cheek, the sun-browned skin always radiating warmth.  Seifer places a hand over mine, directing it such that he can suck the tip of my thumb.

"How long will this take?"

Cat-like eyes widen slightly with amusement.  "Impatient?"

I bite my lip, knowing better than to mention past owners to him anymore.  But damnit, why does the person I actually want have to take so long in preparing himself?  I feel his erection against my side, so why doesn't he get directly to the point of the matter?

A lopsided smile forms.  "Not one for foreplay, hmmm?  Then how does this work?"

"Like any other man."

"I figured that, but will it hurt you?"

"I can lubricate myself if you desire it."

His gaze turns angry as he looks down at me.  "This isn't just about sex."

Blinking, it takes a moment to understand his meaning.  "I know I'm not a toy to you.  Just consider it a convenience."

After a short pause, Seifer nods almost tiredly before moving between my legs and then leaning over to claim another kiss.  As his tongue moves roughly against mine, he slides his hands under my thighs and slowly pushes up my legs to almost chest level.  Reaching down, I take his heated arousal in hand, thumbing the sensitive slit to force a groan from the man as he kisses me, and then I position it at the opening into me, its only purpose for fucking.  Seifer presses in little by little, making the sensation of stretching to accommodate more distinct.  It doesn't hurt, it isn't sickening, it isn't anything it should be.  It's simply Seifer.

A whine of complaint escapes me when he breaks the kiss, his resulting smile with fangs overlapping lip causes a flare of want through my body.  At my unintentional squeeze, Seifer shivers from the encasing feel, then sighs when he shifts back a short distance before slamming forward.  If I had need of breath, I probably would have been in trouble from the move.  In need of an anchor as he thrusts within me, I claw hands into my hair, clutching at the strands to bring some pain to balance out the overwhelming pleasure of the blonde demon finally deep within me, of my master finally taking what has always been his.

Roughness brushes against my aching length without warning, forcing a quiet cry out of me.  Confused by the feel of strong hands still under my knees, I glance down to witness his dark tail snaking around my arousal, dipping lower to caress the leathery skin against painfully sensitive flesh.  Throwing my head back, I swallow back a complaint of unfairness that he could drive me crazy with such ease.  It's at this point that I realize I had forgotten yet again to ask how I should react to his touch, if I'm even allowed to come before him.  A hazy voice in the back of my mind says I have no control over that possible outcome anyway.

A final hard thrust and a whimper of my name from his lips is all it takes to trigger the surge  of energetic bliss throughout my body.

It's pitch black for a time, almost making me laugh at the idea that Seifer broke me with pleasure when no master could do it with pain, but eventually everything returns to normal functions.  Panting deeply, the blonde rests his full weight on top of me, and I savor the heat that flows from him into my body.

A weird chuckle sounds and he says, "I thought you'd never peak."

He waited for me...  Stupid fucking idiot.

With a refreshing breath, Seifer pushes himself up and withdraws from me before dropping limply to my side.  A heavy wing drapes over us both, and he hugs me close to his muscle hardened body as I'm trapped within his arms and legs.  It's so easy to find strength and security in his body even though I don't need such things.

"Would you think me a fool if I said I love you?"

It's too hard to try and look into his eyes, so I press harder against him.  "What is it like?  To love..."

"Fuck if I know words for it," he mutters, then later saying clearly, "It's a bothersome sentiment that makes you never want to let someone go even though you shouldn't be together in the first place.  It causes the desire, the absolute need to be sinful with that person.  And in the end, it brings the worst pain imaginable when reality takes the place of the dreams you thought were true."

A bitter smile finds its way to my lips.  "You are no Laguna."

"Laguna?  Who the hell is that?"

The unrestrained possessiveness in his voice makes me want to laugh.  "My original creator, but I called him 'father'."

"Fucking pervert wanted you--"

"No," the word coming sharper than I intended.  "No, he wasn't anything like the others.  He was simply my father."

"I don't get where you're going with this."

Sighing, I already wish I hadn't mentioned Laguna in the first place.  "It's a lot to explain."

"And we have nothing to do for the rest of the day.  Tell me?  I want to know about you."  There were hidden words in what he was asking, Seifer wanting to know who I am before we reach the city.  He is so certain I'll change when we arrive there, and that certainty makes me worried.

"Remember what I told you about Rinoa?"

"The whole emotion stuff?  Yeah, I think I got the basics of what you said."

"I was her predecessor."

After a short silence, Seifer laughs sharply.  "A joke, right?  I mean, you're nothing like the bitch."

I shake my head as my hand goes automatically to his wing to try and rub away the tenseness I feel returning to him.  "Her design was based off of mine, but they were too impatient and never understood the importance of building emotions instead of just programming them."

"But I thought you didn't believe your emotions were real."

"It doesn't make them any less powerful."

He sighs, a hand moving to my lower back to mimic the rhythm of my caresses against his wing.  "Tell me about this Laguna."

"He was an optimistic fool who had a simple dream - to create a friend."  I can hear Laguna's voice echoing those words in my mind, words he told me so many times.  "Long ago, the same technology that was able to create my kind also created horrible diseases that plagued the world.  Raine, Laguna's wife was a victim of an outbreak while he was off-planet for a time.  On his return he was frustrated that he couldn't touch his wife except through plastic, and that she died without the comfort of someone truly holding her..."

"Then you were to be a friend for the dying?"

I nod, unable to speak momentarily as an image of the typically cheerful man came to mind when he took me to visit the grave of my 'mother'.  "The idea may have started with Raine, but it turned into comfort for children that most needed human contact.  Androids had already been a stable in the society at that time, but were void of realistic emotion, thus unable to comfort.  After nearly twenty years of effort with close and brilliant friends, I was born."

Seifer snorts.  "Obviously their intentions weren't completely pure."

I scowl though still unable to look directly at his face.  "I've been modified since then," I state harshly, unable to hold in my anger at Laguna being insulted like that.  "But yes, I still had features to make sex possible as a last comfort and only if I was willing."

"...Sorry, it's just--"

"I know, but Laguna was never really a master.  Just as you are 'Seifer', though it's hard to say at times."

His hand pauses at my back before it starts to rub again.  "I think I understand.  Go on."

"When I was first turned on, I was like any other android, but held the capacity to learn emotions and use them.  Laguna was my teacher, as well as his friends Kiros and Ward.  The process was extremely slow going, Laguna not anticipating how hard is it to explain and understand how to be human.  Before those lessons were ever near completion, he was killed.  That was the only time I cried."

Unsurprisingly my memory of the funeral takes over me.  For days previous, I hadn't understood why Kiros and Ward were so depressed, even crying openly at odd times.  Then seeing the casket holding the almost sleeping man, I suddenly realized that I would never again learn something new from the hand waving fool, never again see that amazing smile when I had a new revelation.  The resulting tears had startled me, the wild idea that I was broken came first to mind until I understood that I was crying.  Kiros had stared at me with wide eyes, then smiled softly in his way.  But the moment was short-lived, my new master laughing at the tears of a machine.  The bastard had somehow taken over the Esthar company with Laguna's death, and apparently I was the prize to be collared and chained by his side.  It was around then that the programming to make me loyal to my master was added, but I suppose they never could undo the original programming.  I merely shoved aside the worthless feelings I had been cursed with and lived my days out as the toy my masters convinced me I was.

"Squall?"

I find myself staring into the cat-like green eyes, not realizing Seifer had pushed me back as I was lost in the past.  With an oddly shaky hand, I brush my fingers along the pale, dry lips that frown slightly in worry.  "You opened me."

His eyes narrow in confusion.  "What?"

"All this time I had to pretend I wasn't learning about humans and the emotions they display so easily.  But you forced me to reveal what I should have been."

He snorts.  "It certainly wasn't intentional."

"You remind me of Laguna in that way, but he was more hopeful with his views about love and emotions."

Taking a hold of my hand, Seifer squeezes it gently before looking at me with uncertain eyes.  "Then, would you cry for me, too?"

After a brief pause of thought I reply, "If I am still able, then yes."  Because I love him in both his and Laguna's definition of the word, but I can't bring myself to say it.  Maybe it's the fear of being mocked for my 'feelings' once again, even though I know Seifer would never do that intentionally.  Or maybe like him, I'm too afraid of the separation that may come in the next couple of days.  If I don't speak the words, the pain of losing Seifer may not be as bad... How pathetic.  I'm even starting to hope like a human.


Ever since reaching this city, an underlining sickness has settled within me.  The buildings that housed the pure humans were arranged almost painfully perfect in design, forming a half circle around the central point of this immense palace that appears to have been a fallen piece of the colony ship that embedded itself into the cliff side.  Sanitation of the main city was held just above the minimum to avoid deadly situations of plagues and poor health in general, but still far below the cleanliness I remember of our home planet.  The streets were also bare as we walked through, humans hiding from sight with the appearance of the demon guardian.  I doubt they had yet identified my 'god' status.

Our welcome at the front gates of this palace was somewhere close to panic, the guardians that looked like werewolves of legends being uncertain about the appearance of an unknown god.  As Seifer had warned me well before the city, I've remained silent and let the large blonde do the talking.  Currently we are walking through a large hallway to have audience with the High Goddess, even Wren silent and cowed by the feeling of tension in the air.  I'm starting to wish I had given more thought of how I should handle this situation.

Two large doors swing outward as we approach, Seifer in front of me and to the right such that I'm not hidden by his wings.  Surrounding us are four men that have wings of pure white feathers, their hair long and flowing as they walk.  High Goddess of this world, and yet Rinoa still holds the teenage girl's heart she was programmed with, her obsession with the part-man part-animal guardians most likely stemming from there.

There is a quiet gasp that returns my focus from a daze of thoughts.  "Squall...?"

I glance up to the front of the expansive room, easily recognizing the raven haired woman that rises slowly from an odd throne of metal.  Wearing a tight cream colored dress that is sleeveless to most likely show the phoenix emblem on her shoulder, Rinoa stares at me with wide, dark eyes as a delicate hand covers her mouth in shock.  She smiles suddenly, then runs to me with a jingling clamor from the excess of jewelry she wears.

"Squall!"

Before she reaches me, Wren moves between us and barks as viciously as a pup can manage.  Rinoa squeaks at the animal's appearance and backs away uncertainly.  Sighing, I knee to the ground and motion the small dog back to me, Wren obeying hesitantly.  From my position I'm also able to steal a glance at Seifer, the part demon now down on one knee and a fist to the floor.  His expression seems to be trapped somewhere between fury at his High Goddess and amusement at my tiny protector.  Of course, any other who would look upon the blonde man would only notice a neutral, almost bored appearance.

Shamelessly using Wren as a shield, I hold him in my arms as I stand to face the overambitious puppet.  "Rinoa."

She eyes the growling pup in my hold and decides to keep her distance.  "Oh, Squall.  Where have you been?  I assumed you were lost after all this time."

"I was trapped.  Your guardian here rescued me."

She turns to the kneeling blonde, brownish light barely piercing through the dark eyes as she thinks.  "And how has this one treated you?"

"With honor."

After a pause, she asks, "Who is your master, Squall?"

"... ..."  I knew she would quickly come to this conclusion, knowing well that an android can't be rid of pain unless a new master replaces the one lost.  Or apparently if the programming is changed as she has managed to do after all these years, but that option obviously wasn't available to me.

"Who is your master?" she repeats with a harsher edge.  "You cannot deny me an answer!"

I bow my head, trying to resist the command that, indeed, I can't deny someone's request to know who my master is such that I could be returned to him or her if the situation called for it.

"Tell me!"

"... Seifer."

Dark eyes blaze with hidden light.  "Guards!  Seize this traitor."

The winged men of before grab the blonde roughly, Seifer not resisting in the least.  I wouldn't be surprised if he expected this outcome since the day we first met.  Wren barks wildly in my hold, then jumping to the ground in the foolish attempt to aid the large man, but the leash in my hand prevents him from getting too close to the men that would most likely hurt the pup.

"He saved me, Rinoa."  I keep my tone cool and controlled.  "There was no other choice for him to make."

"He should have returned to me and I would have saved you from both your imprisonment as well as the disgrace of being the slave of this horrid beast!"

"And let me suffer in the meantime?"

"It's been thousands of years.  What would have been a month to save you from this thing?"  Her eyes narrow.  "Did he touch you?  No, of course he did.  His kind can't help but to defile something as perfect as you.  Death would be too good for this creature."

"Rinoa.  Calm yourself."


[Seifer]

Knowing that I'm already facing death, I don't bother to hide my face before the Goddess any longer.  The argument before me is too entrancing to want to look away.  I've witnessed the anger of the High Goddess many times in my life, her hatred for anything human never concealed or doubted.  Though I suppose now I can understand her absolute disgust for the people that made her a toy with emotions that she could do nothing about.  Still, it doesn't make my hatred for her any less.

However, it's the cold rage of my personal deity that has entrapped me.  Over the past week, Squall had gained a dry sense of humor, happily teasing me whenever he found the chance.  His unrestrained laughter of yesterday still rings in my ears as the most amazing thing I've heard.  But at this moment, he proves to me the extent of control he has on his emotions.  Though I can clearly see the threatening storm within him, the High Goddess is clueless, deceived by his neutral and logical voice.  I think I may fear Squall more right now than I do the Goddess, even the young mutt quieting at the chilled voice of his owner.

Her voice lowered and more relaxed, the High Goddess speaks to him.  "Can't you see?  We are no longer imprisoned under their cruelty.  We have risen up to show these meager animals that we are superior in every way imaginable.  The power is ours now, Squall."

He shakes his head.  "We can never be superior to our creators."

"So we all thought once, but I can show you the light.  Then you will take your place by my side."

"I refuse."

She smiles sadly, a smile that almost fooled me years past.  "This is for your own good." 

From around her neck, she pulls out a small metal rod, the sight of it making Squall stare in shock and slide a foot back in retreat.  But before he can truly react to the appearance of the object, a bright flash emits from the thing and Squall drops limply to the floor.  The mutt goes immediately to the deity's side, but Squall doesn't react to the small animal's whines and nudges.

After mumbling something like 'goodnight' to the fallen god, the High Goddess turns her dark eyes on me, her smile still in place.  "My shameful guardian, you have severely disappointed me."

Not giving a fuck, I stare directly into her gaze.

"Do you think you are brave?  We shall see if this defiance of yours last once your body has been broken."  She suddenly backhands my face, the electricity surrounding her hand causing a surge of pain throughout my body.  Before my vision returns to some kind of clarity, I hear barking of the stupid mutt, quickly followed by a high-pitched yelp.  Only the quiet whimpering after tense silence informs me the pup is still alive, but who knows for how long.

"Squall... had a soft spot for the mutt," I manage with a mouthful of blood.

She glares at me venomously, most likely for speaking a god's name.  Maybe also with jealousy that Squall had chosen me over her.  "And you as well I suppose?"

A coughing chuckle leaves me, and I happily splatter redness on her white floor.  "Fuck if that matters now."

Her sickening smile returns, and even the men holding me in place shiver involuntarily at the feel of her rage.  "Though you will suffer like no other tonight, I won't allow your death.  Squall deserves to punish you for the taint you forced upon him."

I can't maintain a front with the threat of that type of punishment.  Eyes closed and head bowed, I pray to any true god out there to let me die tonight.

"Break him."

I smirk at the order.  Though the pain won't kill me, at least I'll have momentary peace while unconscious.  The guards hesitate before following the command, all of us hating to force such agony on our fellow guardian, but one mustn't deny the High Goddess unless you wish the same punishment placed on yourself.  Hands rougher than those of my deity settle on my wings, and soon I don't even try to contain the screams.


The next time I find myself in the throne room kneeling and broken, everything is in a black haze with only the very center of my vision in some kind of focus.  I suppose it might have been a day since I was here last or maybe longer, but really, what does that matter?  Every step I'm forced to take, or hell, even every breath in my lungs causes pain of varying degrees to heighten the general state of agony I'm in.  And yet, it should be getting worse any fucking second now.

The High Goddess steps in front of me, a soft hand carefully stroking my bruised cheek.  "You understand that you deserve this, don't you, poor child?"

Yes.  I knew from the beginning that I shouldn't have taken advantage of the lost god, but there was no feasible way to resist the deity.  And it helps a little to know this 'goddess' before me couldn't get Squall while I had the beauty begging me to fuck him.

She frowns at me, suggesting that I must have a smirk on my face from the memories.  Standing straight, the High Goddess steps aside to give me my first view of Squall since entering the room.  Surprisingly, he isn't dressed like the other gods that wear the thick robes that cover most of their bodies.  Instead, the deity is in black clothing that clings to his body in all the right ways, and certainly makes his more unnatural features apparent to the casual observer.  Cleaned properly for the first time in centuries, exposed pale skin practically glows aside the black fabric and dark brown hair hangs with a kind of silkiness that I need to touch.

"Your present, my sweet knight.  Enjoy it."

Squall steps forward, bare feet treading without sound along the smooth, white stone floor.  Cool gray eyes stare down at me, his expression one of restrained disgust.  With purposeful slowness, he raises a hand to his shoulder before swinging it down to backhand me.  I flinch at the coming strike, but it doesn't happen, the coolness of his hand radiating against my bruised flesh.  Gently he pats my face, his soft lips forming a cruel smirk.

"Why don't you finish him?"  The question comes in the form of a whine, truly unbecoming for the High Goddess.

Cold eyes staring directly into me, Squall replies, "Because death would mean the end of pain."

I glare at this thing before me, this 'god' that dares to use my deity's memories against me.  If I thought I could get away with it, I'd claw his throat to shreds.  Then maybe split that cock of his down the middle and laugh at his pain before he would mercifully decapitate me in a fit of rage.

"Very well.  Then I give you permission to keep this beast to do as you wish.  You have suffered for so long that it is the least I could do for you."

Still smirking, Squall turns to the High Goddess and bows.  "I appreciate your generosity."

She laughs, the same sound that would come from a blushing young girl.  "So formal, my dark knight.  You know there's no reason for that between us."

He says nothing, only stays in the bowed position with eyes closed.

"Come, wish me goodbye and then I'll let you play with your new toy."

I don't turn to watch as Squall straightens and responds to the woman's summons like any good slave.  He isn't the deity that he should be, that I knew him to be.  While I doubt that that knowledge will make anything easier about being punished by his hand and berated by his voice, it's at least something to help me through this.

Suddenly a hand is at my throat, lifting me to my feet.  Squall stares at me with expressionless eyes for a brief moment before shoving me back into a guardian and ordering him to follow, thus I'm forced to keep pace as we head to his rooms.  It's a blur as he leads the way and the guardian partly supports me, numbing pain taking over my mind and driving away any sense of reality.  Maybe if I insult this god enough, he'll kill me quickly before remembering the life of torture he probably has has planned.  Then again, this is still Squall.  He seems near impossible to anger to that extent.

Eventually there's the sound of an opening door and I'm directed inside of the large room ahead of the silent person, and the guardian is sharply dismissed from his duty of protecting the god from handling my tainted human flesh.  The odd thought comes to mind that I've never seen the inside of a god's chambers before, and there was certainly a grateful reason why.

From behind me, Squall removes the shackles.  "Go lie down on the bed," he orders softly.

I don't hold back a growl.  "Don't."

"Seifer..."

"Don't you fucking use his voice like that!  Beat me, fuck me, kill me, but don't you dare use his voice like that, and don't even think of calling me by name!"

A cool hand rests on my shoulder and forces me to turn around.  His downcast face angles up, moisture shining in the dim lighting of the room.  "I'm sorry... that I let this happen."

I stare at him before warily placing a couple unbroken fingers on his cheek to feel the warm tears on his always chilled flesh.  "Please, don't fuck with me...  Not like this..."

"Can you forgive me, my master?"

Not caring about the pain it causes me, I hug the deity tightly.  "How?"

He shakes his head before gently pushing me away.  "Your injuries first.  Go lie down."

I make it to the separate room on my own, Squall too afraid of causing more damage by holding me.  Seeing the mutt on the bed, I smile tightly before shooing the animal away so that I can lie down on my stomach.  Unexpectedly, the pup starts licking my face straightaway, removing caked blood while whining softly at me.  It's too bothersome to try and stop the stupid beast.

"Thank you for saving him."

"It's just a dumb mutt.  Thought it actually could take on the High Goddess."

A vague smile appears.  "Rinoa told me it was her idea, something along the lines of it being adorable to see me with a puppy."

I scoff at the thought, remembering the sickening yelp from the defenseless dog.  "Is the beastie okay?"

He nods before looking at me with serious eyes.  "Can you hold on longer?"

A laugh escapes me, causing a shock wave of pain through my body.  "Shit.  I'm not dying yet, idiot.  Just wallowing in misery."

"Then I'm going to search for medical supplies.  Try to rest."

When Squall leaves the room, the mutt lies down with its body pressed against me in furry warmth and dark eyes focused intently on mine.  What was that Squall had mentioned about this pup being smarter than an animal should be?  It seems truly worried for me, though it probably just still thinks I'm a source of food.  Nh, my head hurts too much to bother thinking about this.  At my unintentional groan, the beastie shifts even closer against me.

"If you think you're a replacement for Squall, think again mutt," I mutter.

The pup woofs in reply.


It's difficult waking up from sleep, and then there is a panicked moment when my eyelids refuse to open by command.  I try to move my arm to forcibly open my eyes, but my numbed body doesn't respond either.  A gentle hand suddenly strokes through my short hair, the simple move soothing me almost immediately.

"Shhh, it's okay.  I gave you a powerful painkiller for when I set your bones.  It must have just started to wear off."

I grunt out something that sounds barely like "How'd you guess?".

"The tracer is still within you and informed me about your rapid heartbeats."

I had forgotten about that damn thing.  Of course it'd signal to Squall when I woke up without any other outward sign.

"This is all my fault," he says quietly.

A low growl leaves me, the only way to show my anger that he'd dare start this conversation while I'm unable to argue with the absurd comments he'll make.  His fault my ass.  As if he could do anything while... passed out, or whatever that was.  The fact I had already imagine everything they did to punish me for abusing the confused god proves that there was nothing Squall could've done aside from destroying the High Goddess outright, and I'm not too certain that it is even possible, let alone an option.

"I never imagined her hatred going so deep.  There's no logical reason for most of what she has done, and she truly believes it is all for the best.  That she's somehow taming humankind to be civilized.  How can this kind of suffering lead to any good?"

Trying once again to open my eyes, I succeed only to achieve a blurry view of the world.  "Now what?"

"We wait for you to heal."

I frown, disappointment taking me by surprise.  Of course Squall can't magically fix everything that's been done over the past history of this world, and fuck, I didn't even realize the hope was within me that he could achieve the impossible.  But, no, he shouldn't be expected to become the savior to the race that enslaved him.

"While Rinoa had shut me down, she implanted new controls on me.  I can't do anything against her as I am.  Once you're healed, I'll instruct you in how to remove those additions."

"If she... controls..." my voice is not much better than a croak.

"I created several backups of my memories.  Seven to be exact.  She discovered four of them and tried to alter a couple as false memories.  Rather amusing.  You should see all the ways you apparently raped me."

I manage a breathy chuckle, wishing I could ask him to save those memories for future plans.

"As is, Rinoa controls only basic functions such as restricting my ability to harm her or to refuse a direct order.  She doesn't know about me retaining any of my personality."

"Certain?"

"She wouldn't leave you to me if she had any clue."  The blur moves and coldness brushes along my heated flesh.  "Her reign can't be allowed to continue.  I'll protect you no matter the consequences."

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Whining -- One more part left of this ficcie.  Ugh.  Don't expect some kind of firework demise to Rinoa no matter how much she may deserve it.  And yes, she is OOC in this story, but she's been rather tainted with hatred and power galore for a very long time so of course she isn't going to remain the girl she was. ^_-