Author's Note -- Another case of me dabbling in songfics where instead of just showing the lyrics within the story, I'm using the lyrics as dialogue, etc.  This time I'm using the words from 'A Place for My Head' by Linkin Park.  I'm not going to be quoting the song exactly as I go along.

 

A Place to Rest
January 2003

 

Lying flat on the ground with Lion Heart embedded into the earth at my side, I stare up into space and I watch how the moon sits in the sky on this dark night.  It shines bright with the light from the sun, a light not its own.  I vaguely wonder if the old legends are true about the gods and goddesses that worked every part of nature, and if the sun goddess doesn't simply give her light to the god of the moon, but assumes that he is going to owe her one.

I scoff at the random thought of my wandering mind, forcing myself to sit up and stand up from the ground that could never be quite as cold as me.  Gripping the curved hilt of my gunblade, I easily remove it from the earth and place it back into its sheath with a calm ringing sound.  Reluctantly my feet start to lead me back home.  Back to where you are, Rinoa.  A brief glance to the moon makes me think of how you act to me, how you do favors and then rapidly you just turn around and start asking me about the things you want back from me.

I barely notice when my feet start to travel on metal, the moon now blocked from my view.  As I get closer to the dorm wing, I realize how I'm sick of the tension, sick of the hunger, sick of you acting like I owe you something for 'releasing' me from my former self.  Whatever.  As if it did anyone any harm for me to sit with my thoughts, to live my life as I wanted to.  But instead I became some kind of project for you to shape and form into what you desired.  Now you seem surprised to discover that I can't be molded like that.  I just wish you'd find another place to feed your greed while I find a place to rest.

The door opens with a soft hiss and I'm not surprised to find you there, sitting on the thin mattress as if you belonged there, or perhaps you just think that you belong my bed as well.

"Where were you?  We were going to have dinner with the guys tonight before the party, which you also missed."

"... ..."  I wanted to be in another place, that was all.

You shake your head, silky locks shimmering in the moonlight from the window.  "Sometimes I don't get you, my lion.  It's as if you don't want to be with me anymore."

"... ..."  I hate it when you say you don't understand, but you'll see it's not meant to be.  I want to be in the energy, not with the enemy.  And suddenly that's all you are, the enemy to defeat and leave behind.  But despite all my experience in the matter, in people leaving me time and time again, I haven't a clue how to do it myself.  Or perhaps I'm just too afraid to do it to someone else.  Maybe someday I'll be just like you, step on people like you do and run away from the people I thought I knew.

You stand gracefully from the bed and approach me, two impossibly soft hands pressing gently on my face to gain my attention.  Dark eyes look into mine, your unshed tears making me feel ill.  "What happened, Squall?  You were doing so well, talking to me and the others about your thoughts.  And now you seem so cold all of the sudden.  Don't you love me anymore?"  Your voice almost cracks on the words.

"... Whatever."  I thought I knew you, Rinoa.  You used to be calm, used to be strong, used to be generous, but you should've known that you'd wear out your welcome.  And how can you talk about what doesn't exist?  I don't say anything more than what needs to be said, but you're too wrapped up in your fantasy to notice my mouth isn't moving when I supposedly speak these words you hear.  No one knows my thoughts.  No one needs to know.  Not until they earn and prove their right to have me.

"Don't you dare say that.  Not after all we've been through!"  You take a deep breath to calm yourself, leaning forward with your face too close to mine.  "I love you, Squall.  And you love me.  Remember?  I helped to rescue you from that frigid, silent world you used to be trapped in.  Don't worry.  I won't let you go back there."

You press gloss-slicked lips against mine, and I can almost feel you invading me, raping me, destroying me.  You try to take the best me, go away.

I shove you away, hurt and rage clear on your face when you glare at me from the floor of my dorm room.  I'm sick of the tension, sick of the hunger, sick of acting like I owe you this.  "Find another place to feed your greed," I bite out before realizing just how much I needed to say such words out loud.

Her expression quickly changes to one of shock.  "Wh, what do you mean?"

I turn, gripping the hilt of Lion Heart, the only thing I'll need while I find a place to rest.  "Goodbye, Rinoa."

"No, Squall, wait..."

And then I learn the first lesson of leaving someone - one needs only to take a step away.  My stride is long and fast through the halls of Garden.  Only near the entrance do I have to face anyone blocking my path, two blondes and a brunette smiling at my approach.

"Yo, Squall!  You completely missed out tonight."  I eye Zell, seeing the naivety and immaturity of the energetic blonde.  Seeing the way he'd leach onto anyone to appear higher in the ranks of life.  You try to take the best of me, go away.

"Yeah, we even got Quistis singing, and who knew she's a regular diva."  Selphie, so spiritually young and full of life.  Too pure for our tasks in destiny, needing protection from cruel reality.  You try to take the best of me, go away.

"You're exaggerating..."  The sultry blonde blushes, looking nothing like her instructor reputation.  But she still doesn't understand how much of life doesn't fit within the lines of school lessons and rules.  You try to take the best of me, go away.

"Hey," the perky brunette says, words full of worry.  "You don't look so good, Squall.  What's wrong?"

I can't breathe, I need escape.  You try to take the best of me, go away.

"Need to talk something out?  I know I could go for at least one more round of beer if you're interested."

I don't need this, I don't need you.  You try to take the best of me, go away.

Quistis adjusts her glasses.  "Or we could find Rinoa for you."

You try to take the best of me, go away!

And then I'm running.  For the first time in my life I'm physically running away from the things that have caused so much pain along with the better times.  Yet the further I get, the pressure in my head grows.  Moonlight shines down on me during my escape, bathing me in almost understanding sympathy.  So what do you owe your sun goddess?

I stumble into town, cobbled streets empty as I wander without aim.  I see nothing of the city as I continue forward, avoiding the memories of anticipation and laughter, of blood and hate.  Then eventually there's no where to go as I stand at the edge of the pier, looking at the borrowed light of the moon reflecting upon black, smooth waters.

"... Leonhart?"

I turn my head to the sound, momentarily surprised at the vision of another memory.  But then I remember the job Seifer took along with Fujin and Raijin on the fishing boats in town.  He is wearing a stained, white tank top with torn jeans, and I can see the slight difference in muscles now used for labor, not war.  Green eyes always bright whether in night or day are firm on me, the gleam of curiosity and interest unhidden.  Strange how he doesn't make me feel anxious like the rest of them.

He smirks, fisting a hand on his hip.  "And what the hell are you doing in these parts?"

"... ..."  A light breeze sends his scent to me, old feelings renewed of our rivarly and friendship.  Ah, that's right.  He never took from me, only forced me to become better with what I already had inside.  Driving, pushing me to use the best of me.  Maybe giving me the best of him.

"Well, if you ask me, I'd say you look like a guy who needs a place to rest for awhile."

Concealing any emotion, I stare at him for longer than I should, but he doesn't seem bothered by my gaze or silence.  He won't even take an answer from me, waiting for my offer of one.  My lips tighten into a faint smile, and I'm almost surprised that they can still form the unusual shape.

Seifer turns then, walking away from the pier.  "I only have a couch for you to use."

I follow his lead.  "As long as there's a place for my head."

 

{Owari}