Out of My Control
"... could've at any point sacrificed himself to save hundreds of lives. Instead, he choose to betray those that raised him. It is because of him that our deep hatred began, and with that dance we remind ourselves of the moment he damned his blood for the power that a demon could grant him."
Lying here my eyelids and body in general feel heavy, which lets me stay here awake while unnoticed by the elf and my ever present master, life-breath, and lover. And what a lovely way to wake, with the angry tone of the female elf telling stories that she understands nothing about. But that is because of her pure blood, and she wouldn't want to understand the truths of that time too long ago even if someone explained it to her. Hatred and ignorance is so much simpler.
"Go, Elle. I don't want to hear any more of that shit." Opposite of his harsh tone, a warm thumb gently strokes the back of my hand.
"Seifer, you must understand this. If you let yourself go like he would want you to, you could cause even more havoc--"
There's a quiet huff of irritation as one would show a child before there is a rustle of clothing that signals the elf's departure from the room.
Soon after she leaves, he asks quietly, "How are you feeling?"
Suppose I can't fool this human after all. "Alive."
His hand clenches mine. "Don't joke about that. I nearly killed you."
"No, not 'whatever', you stupid shit. That cursed energy of mine filled your body, that is after I purposely injured you. By all counts, you should be dead right now, and don't you dare say it doesn't matter."
I open my eyes to painful light, focusing on the blonde's worrisome face. "That power can't hurt anyone you don't want it to. You forget, it's under your control. As for injuring me, I wanted you to."
"Why the hell would you want something like that?"
"It wasn't painful. You were careful in taking what you desired."
"So, what, you're just going to let me snack on you whenever I feel like it? Don't be a fool."
"Seifer, there is demon blood within you. It craves certain things, and damn me if I'll let you take it from someone else."
He looks at me curiously, perhaps confused at the unintentional growled tone. "I don't want to hurt you."
"You didn't, and you won't in the future."
He shakes his head, obviously unhappy with my words. "... Is it true? That you're trying to unleash the darker side of me?"
I smile weakly. "You're thinking that I would want to follow the footsteps of the half-elf of millenniums ago?"
"Ellone suggested it. And while I don't want to distrust you... You too easily accept my cursed powers, my killings, and everything else. If there was a gain for you, it would make more sense."
"Let me tell you some of the true story, then."
"No offense, but I think I've heard enough stories for today, Squall."
"It's not a new one. Would you let me correct what the elf had told you?"
With an almost bored sigh, he nods.
"The story starts the same with a hurt and unwanted person of both human and elven blood - Telve. He was discovered by the shade of a demon who wished to physically visit this plane of existence. A deal was made in the form of a bond that the mix would grant the demon access to this world, but the demon would be bound to him such that if Telve was injured, the demon received the same wounds. And if the mix was killed, the basically immortal demon would return to his own plane."
Without speaking, Seifer brushes a finger against my neck, following the memory of the chains that lie there.
"Yes, it's the same. Over time that bonding spell has mutated, though, changing into a curse instead of a simple protection charm over a promise of safety." I clear my throat, already wishing I hadn't decided to explain the past to him. "Anyhow, they traveled together over several decades. Then an argument evolved between them concerning the demon's desire to destroy a human city that had poorly received them. It is that fight the dance retells, though elves have changed the meaning to Telve refusing the demon's request to return to his own dimension. The fight ended at the stalemate when the demon was overwhelmed with desire for the traveling partner who had just proved amazing skill at defending himself. That was their first night of many."
"Wait, how do you know all of this? I mean Ellone knows a lot about the legends of her race, and I can't see why you'd know a different version than her."
"I'll get to that," I assure him. "Again, several decades past with them together, and the demon's hatred grew for those who treated his partner poorly for being of mixed blood. The proud elves angered him the most. Eventually he tricked Telve into leading him to the elven capital, and that is where the demon's domination began.
"I'm certain this 'Ellone' told you of the horrors of that time when the demon enslaved all elves with another curse similar to the chains I now bear. Nearly two centuries he reigned, and at some point the people learned of the bond between the mix and demon, that everything could simply end with the death of Telve. When they realized he was untouchable due to the demon's great power, they begged for the mix to sacrifice himself. What they didn't know was the lie the demon had taken advantage of - while the demon would receive the same injuries as the mix, the demon could still heal rapidly and completely unlike his partner. Telve's hands and feet were cut off to prevent his attempts at suicide and escape, the demon easily able to regenerate the lost body parts."
"What the fuck? I thought you said that they were, well..."
"Like us? Yes, but the demon didn't understand such emotions and became rather insane with his protectiveness. The mix was also imprisoned in their bed chambers except on the rare occasion the demon decided to show off his beauty while hiding the damage he had caused. Slowly over the years filled with guilt and shame, Telve sunk into worse and worse health despite the demon's use of spells and other means. The quiet end of that dark period came when the demon finally realized his grave mistakes and went into hiding with his nearly dead lover, the two spending the last days of their lives together.
"Just before that end, the demon placed a charm onto elven blood such that a child with any mix of that with human blood would have a type of memory of those times. He knew we would be forever blamed for that past, and I think he wanted us to understand that he was the most to blame. A small comfort, but at least it's something."
"... Why tell me this?"
"That demon left offspring in the world, both within the human and elven race. While most had been killed with the end of the dark period, some survived. I believe that you're a descendant."
Green eyes widen as Seifer stands up and steps away from me. "He's... a part of me? Is that what you want to release?"
I laugh lightly. "You really think I want the same life as Telve? And at most you bear perhaps a few drops of demon blood within you. While it helps to imagine that demon's immense power in comparison, there's no reason for you to fear becoming him."
"Then why are you so adamant for me to control those powers? You must want something from it."
"Only your life. Your own powers will devour you from the inside out if you aren't careful."
A shaky hand clutches his shirt as he turns his head from me and speaks quietly. "I'm such a fucking idiot. I let Ellone's words get to me when I should've known better. When I should've trusted what I know."
"Will you let me train you, then?"
He nods slowly once, the fear of his own abilities clear in his stance and expression.
Tired of his distance from me, I lift the sheet from my bare body. "You owe me something. A massage, I believe you call it."
Green eyes shift to me, a pleasing gleam shining out from the haze of uncertainty and guilt. "How can you think of that now?"
In reply I stretch out along the length of mattress, my body still feeling sore and heavy from the events of last night... or perhaps it's been longer. Anyhow, it only takes a few moments before the large man walks up to stand at the bedside, towering above me while a finger strokes lightly against my cheek. I stare into his eyes, his rampant emotions flooding through the link between us. Taking his hand into mine, I press his fingers against my lips in a gentle kiss.
"Squall... Can we hold off on this for now? I need some time to think things through."
Unbothered, I move over in a silent offer of joint rest. He smiles ever so slightly at my persistence for contact before removing his shirt and then filling the empty space of the bed with his mass. He holds me loosely in his arms while his head rests on my chest just above my heart. Trying not to disturb him, I manage to pull the sheet over us both. Seifer takes my hand then, pressing it against his cheek.
"Would you let me cut off your hands if I wanted to?"
"No, I'd give you the fight of your life."
He grins weakly. "Good."
I hold back the comment that I would still love him even after such a maiming, just as I am certain Telve never lost his love for his demon. That is the only reason he could have lived as long as he did, with the vague hope that the only one he found love for would return to his senses. But Seifer could never understand such a desperate love like that.
Unaccustomed to talking in such lengths, a sense of tiredness settles in me. With Seifer's lulling warmth against my naked flesh, it doesn't take long to return to blessed sleep.
"Form a shield around this." At the edge of my finger, I create a sphere of ice about the size of a walnut.
"Fuck, why so small? It's not like I'd need to protect anything that size."
"You need to learn focus."
He grumbles at the annoying truth of the statement, then places his hand near the hovering ball. His eyes squint in concentration, an expression that makes me want to kiss him sometimes. It's just too childlike for me not to want tease him for it. Instead, I move my focus to watch my hand and the sight of black smoke that curls around the piece of ice. Abruptly, the smoke is drawn into the sphere and the air left clear.
Curious, I bring the object up close to examine, surprised at the marble-like appearance of black with blue tinted ice. "Strange. They somehow merged."
"Shit, I'll never get this right."
"It's been barely two weeks. You've already improved greatly."
He scoffs. "And you aren't biased whatsoever."
Recognizing the tiredness in his voice, I lean forward for a brief kiss in a form of reward for a good lesson. Before he can take control of the situation, I pull back and press a hand against his chest. "Go and drink that foul liquid with your friends. You deserve it."
Uncertainty crosses his face. "I don't have to go."
"And you don't have to look over me all the time."
"Fine. I know when I'm not wanted."
After watching him stride off, I go in the opposite direction towards the river. On my way there, I pluck ripened berries from the various bushes until I have a heaping handful. Sitting on a large boulder that overlooks the calm waters, I slowly eat the sweet food in peace. I care greatly for Seifer, but sometimes he can be too loud. Halfway through my meal, though, I straighten at the sound of someone's approach.
"Is there something wrong with the camp's food?"
Confused, I turn at the sound of the human's voice. No, Laguna is his name, as Seifer has reminded me time and time again. Anyhow, he shouldn't be out here. Could he be spying on me for some reason? I can't imagine this man being the one responsible for the recent poisonings of our meals.
"Well? Is there?" he asks at my silence.
He chuckles. "No reason to be formal. And for the record, I don't believe you."
"... ..." I wouldn't expect him to be so observant.
After some time of renewed silence, he shifts his footing nervously. "Listen, I actually came out here to ask you something."
Hesitantly, I nod for him to continue.
"By any chance... was your mother's name Raine?"
I can't contain my shock as I stare at the human. "How...?"
He scratches the back of his neck. "I... well, this isn't easily said... I knew your mother. Intimately, as it were."
I can only watch him as a sickening feeling settles in my stomach.
"We met when I saved her years past from slavery along with Ellone. During the couple of years she lived here, I fell in love with Raine. I thought she shared the feelings, but she left us without warning almost twenty years ago. The night before she disappeared though, she asked me what I would name a son. I told her 'Squall' since a boy would be a chaotic force compared to the gentle rain she was named after." He smiles faintly as if making a joke.
Barely noticing the berries falling from my hand, I move to stand on the ground and face the person that had only been an abstract idea to me.
"So, well, I probably don't need to say it, but I think there's a good chance I'm your father. I mean, what are the chances that a half-elf named Squall exists with a mother named Raine?"
Of course he would exist, the one responsible for my human half, but why do I have to meet him? He's the bastard who has made my life hell, and yet, after these couple weeks in his presence, I can't find it in me to hate this naive man. But that doesn't mean I have to accept him, either.
"Ah, I know it's nothing much of an excuse, but if I had known that she was carrying a child, I would have never let her go. Well, if I could've stopped her. Raine was a clever woman, uh, elf." He attempts to smile again.
"What do you want from me?"
He blinks, looking taken aback. "Want from you? Why, nothing, my boy. Just, if it would please you, I'd like to offer this camp as a real home to you."
"This can't be my home."
Laguna frowns, but doesn't look hurt by my rejection. "Is someone threatening you here?"
I stare, again caught off-guard by the keen observation of the odd man.
"I know you haven't eaten with us in the past week. Are you afraid of poisoning attempts?"
"It's none of your concern."
"This is my camp, so it damn well better be my concern. Son or not, your life shouldn't be threatened here. Do you know who may be responsible?"
A breath of a chuckle escapes me. As if I wouldn't take care of this once I figured out who is trying to kill both me and Seifer. Oddly, the large man doesn't seem affected by the poisonings. I wouldn't be surprised if his demon blood protects him.
"Well, once you learn anything, I'd prefer you come to me first. This may be something that should be handled quietly."
Before I reply, footsteps intrude on our conversation. "What is this that needs to be handled, Laguna?"
The long-haired man smiles. "Kiros. What are you doing out here?"
"I could ask the same of you."
"No matter. You'll never believe what I found out. It appears Squall is the son of Raine. Given the timeline, he may be my son as well."
Dark eyebrows rise in surprise. "Oh? Interesting. I suppose there is a resemblance, but there's no way to be certain."
Laguna turns to face me, his smile broadening. "Perhaps, but I have a good feeling about it. Funny how Fate works to reunite us."
Oddly, the statement warms me. On the rare occasion I had imagined my father, I could never believe that he would be a man so welcoming of me. I can see where Seifer gets his accepting attitude from.
"Well, sorry to interrupt this... 'reunion', but you're needed back in camp."
"Very well. Squall, how about we talk later? Perhaps about your mother, if you're interested."
"I... I would appreciate that." It's one weakness of mine to learn more about Raine, the only person before Seifer to treat me with kindness. Laguna's words have rekindled an old ache from her death well over ten years past. It'd be nice to hear more about her from a person that doesn't think poorly of her for bearing a human's child.
He smiles in reply, then turns towards camp to return at a brisk pace. I move my focus to the darkly skinned elf who strangely doesn't follow the man. He also watches Laguna's exit carefully, only turning to face me once the sounds of boots on ground can't be heard. His eyes appear tired all of the sudden as he causally looks me over.
Without warning, his arm rises to reveal a crossbow in his hand and three darts are fired simultaneously at me. I manage to dodge two of them, but the last buries in my shoulder and I drop to the ground from the unbalanced stance. Glaring up from my position, I try to ignore the burning cold sensation that spreads out from my shoulder.
He smirks bitterly. "I think you know the answer to that."
There's suddenly the sound of rushed footsteps coming towards us, which makes the dark elf spin to face the intruder.
"Kiros? What's the hold... up..." The man looks at me, then glares accusingly at the elf. "What the hell is the meaning of this?"
"Leave, Laguna. You can't understand this."
"How dare you. This... this is my son. What do you think you are doing?"
"He may have your blood, but Seifer is more of a son to you than this traitor. Trust me and leave!"
"I can't do that." The human kneels before me, carefully removing the dart from my shoulder. "It'll be okay."
With a quiet, "Forgive me," the dark elf swings his empty crossbow down to strike against Laguna's head, the human falling to the ground with a pained groan.
"...no..." I manage to whisper, my body feeling numb.
Kiros glares down at me. "Fuck, so you're resistant to this poison as well? No matter. It's better if you live." Dropping the crossbow to the unconscious man's side, the elf bends down to lift me onto his shoulder. "Understand that it's nothing personal. Either you or Seifer must be destroyed. I've just happened to know the boy longer and understand how hard he is to kill."
Somewhere between those words and his first steps, I slip into darkness.
Author's Whining -- Blah. I hate being sick. At least I've managed to get the last two chapters of this out, even though half of it probably shouldn't make much sense. Gomen.