Author's Note -- Just wanted to do a really short ficcie.  This is a songfic in the sense that this fic is based clearly on the lyrics of 'Rest Stop' by Matchbox 20, but it's the characters speaking/acting out the words, and I'm not going to be quoting the song exactly as I go along.  But overall, I see this song as the way that Rinoa and Squall would breakup even if Seifer weren't in the picture.


Just Three Miles
October 2002


Just three miles from the rest stop, I'm startled awake from a light doze induced by sitting in a car for most of the day.  Dust billows around the car, particles thrown into the air by Rinoa slamming on the brakes of the large vehicle.  After being half strangled by my seatbelt from the sudden stop, I can't even form a curse at her lack in driving skills.  A delicate hand reaches over briefly to turn off the radio, the resulting silence feeling thick and unwanted.

"Squall," she starts, her tone low and serious.  "I'm sorry, but I tried to be what I'm not.  So could you please collect your things."

"... ..."  I don't look at her nor she me, both of us staring through the window glittering from the sun and dirt.

"I don't want to be cold, I don't want to be cruel, but I have to find more than what's happening with you..."  She sighs, "While you were sleeping, well, I was listening to the radio and wondering what you were dreaming when it came to mind that I didn't care."  Hands still gripping the wheel, she bows her head slightly and dark hair hides her face.  "I then thought, hell, if it's over, I had better end it quicker before I lose all my nerve."

"... ..."  With her bringing this out into the open, I realize that the vague connection between us has been dead and gone for a long while, but both of us have been too dense, too stubborn to admit it.

"Are you listening, Squall?  Can you hear me in that world of yours?"  Her words are laced with anger and hidden tears, but she's gotten strong, this girl.  She won't reduce herself to such frailty before me.  That would make it my victory, not hers.

Just three miles from that fucking rest stop with its clogged toilet, and suddenly everything is different.  My life an unknown.  I've never been good with words before, but even now if I had words ready to say, my mouth is too dry to speak.  Somewhere inside of her, Rinoa knows all the words I would say, knowing the lies that they would be.  Worse, she knows every crumpled up promise in this broken down man.  A man not meant to be hers.  I open up the door and slide off the seat to dried earth below.

"Please, Squall.  Tell me that you're listening, that you understand."  Such a good girl, afraid of hurting me.  Guess she doesn't realize yet that there's nothing in Shiva's lover she can hurt, everything encased within layers of thick ice.

Tilting the seat forward, I grab the handle to the case that contains Lion Heart and remove it from the vehicle.  I suppose other things of mine could be in there, but all that matters is this blade.  ...What a stunning revelation that is.  I'm so sorry, Rinoa.

Closing the door, I start to walk back in the direction of the rest stop and its payphone.  There is only the crunching sound of my boots on dirt for several moments until the engine whines from sudden pressure on the accelerator, wheels spinning with a gritty noise before the vehicle speeds off.  Once the dust settles and the sounds of the large vehicle are too quiet for my ears, I stop to look back at the small shape in the wavering distance of the desert.  Running a gloved hand through thick hair, I muse that even the heat of this scenery is unable to damage the ice both protecting and entrapping me.

"Thanks for trying, Rin," I mutter before resuming my trek.  It's just three miles, nothing to sweat over.