Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me…why must I keep repeating this? It's my personal opinion that the owners of Final Fantasy (Squaresoft) collaborated with all the psychiatrists of the world and came up with these disclaimers.  Now every time we write a story, we are reminded we don't own these fine characters, which makes us sink further into despair.  Who agrees with me? Anyone?  Hmph, whatever.  I see how it is… +glares+. Okay, shall we continue? The song 'Runaway' belongs to Linkin Park.  They are an awesome band, for those of you who don't know.  I'll probably be doing more fics off of these songs, in case you cared. (Which you probably don't +sniffle+)

            I won't be using the lyrics exactly throughout the story, and occasionally will use the lines as dialogue. Heh, you are warned.



            Ultimecia told me of Time Compression, but I never imagined it would be like this.  Graffiti decorations are painted on run down brick walls all around me.  I'm in the slums of a city, everything made darker and more threatening underneath the sky of dust.  I come across a large poster of the sorceress, her serious face and beautiful golden eyes hiding malicious intentions.

            It seems when I was with her I was torn by a constant wave of tension on top of the fragile broken trust she provided me.  Talking seems alien to me, but there's something I need to tell her even if she is a poster.  "You told me you could make me a man, you were the teacher I wanted.  But the lessons you taught me I learned were never true."  There is so much more to say, but I'm too weary.

            A crumpled paper bag drifts past my foot.  I watch its zigzag journey until it has been blown out of sight. Lifting my head I find myself staring at Them.  My old friends and the people I've known, all grotesque parodies of what they were, are surrounding me, hurting me with their angry voices.  It's all your fault! They keep screaming, and another wave of tension has more than filled me up.  I scream at them, 'Stop!'

            And all but one they recede into the shadows behind them.  I'm stuck staring at Squall, what I did to him, what the war has done to him.  One of his eyes is drooping out of its socket. The other is gone, probably eaten out by the crows.  His skin is decayed to the bone in some places, and his clothes are tattered and worn. 

            "Seifer…" it's said quietly, and I'm almost too horror struck to heat his words.  He sticks one of his remaining intact fingers into a large rotting hole in his cheek.  "Is this the other scar you were going to give me?"

            Another scar?  At first I don't understand what he is talking about, but then it becomes clear.  He's referring to the battle we had just before Time Compression.  I remember what I had said to him, said without knowing.  "Squall, all my talk of taking action, those words were never true."

                        Squall hushes me and comes closer.  Lifting his decayed hand he slowly runs his rotting thumb down my cheek.  "So pretty, Seifer."  His one eye seems intent on my face, and I realize the eye is golden.

            I back up in horror and manage hoarsely, "you're not Squall!"

            The fake Squall grins at me and laughs in the sorceress's voice.  "I am not Squall.  But stay with me boy, we Kan still win against this inkonvenience."  The sorceress Squall approaches me again, slowly. "I kan still give you all you wanted.  You kan become a king, an emperor on this forsaken planet.  You kan be great!"  She holds out Squall's hand to me.  "What do you say, boy?"


            The sorceress smiles softly in a knowing way.  "Very well boy, I will give you back."

            And then I can feel myself thrown across time.  When my senses return I am standing in a room surrounded by several people.  Quistis, Selphie, Irvine, Rinoa, Zell, even that long haired president is here.  'Not again,' I whisper, and a door behind me opens.  I turn to watch a whole and healthy Squall stride into the room.  Immediately the others begin muttering to each other, but I don't know what they are saying.  I stand still, my eyes locked with Squalls.  I find nothing in those gray orbs, not pity or anger, only nothing.  I'm surprised to find myself glad that he is unchanged, when I can clearly see the unease and hate in the others faces and positions.

            "I say we lock him up for good!"  Zell's voice is still as loud and excited as ever, not diluted at all during the war.  Squall's gaze slides to the smaller blonde and his only show of disagreement is a twitch of the mouth.

            The longer haired president joins in.  "Now I hardly think that's necessary, what exactly are the charges again?"

            I was once secure, now I find myself in question.

            "Guilty by association…" they point the finger at me again.

            And then all of them with the exception of Squall join in the debate of what to do with me.  The stoic brunette merely changes his line of sight every so often, switching to whoever is speaking.  Once in a while he returns to me and stares hard in thought before moving again.

            The tension builds on my shoulders as they continue to relay my crimes and their voices grow angrier as they argue for their favorite form of punishment.  Visions and sounds clash in my head, and before I know it I'm breaking out of their circle and running for the door.  I hear Quistis behind me, "Stop him Squall!"

            Squall smiles slightly and moves out of my way. I rush out the door and sprint down the hall. I want to run away. Never say goodbye.  All I've been told come to mind and I frown as I exit Garden.  I want to know the truth, instead of wondering why.  I want to know the answers, no more lies. 

            I stop finally slightly out of breath and turn to take one last look at the Garden.  The people there expected me to be a machine, but Squall never cared.  I want to shut the door, and open up my mind.  Something catches my eye, and I spin towards it defensively.  I breathe a sigh of relief when I find it's only Squall, carrying Lionheart's case.

            "Where are the others?"

            He shrugs. "Locked them in." 

            I can't help but smirk at the fearless mans actions. "Thanks."

            Squall says nothing. "So," I start, "you'll probably be one there black list for a while." Shrug.  "So what are you going to do Squall, wait for them to forgive you, marry Rinoa, and have five dozen kids?" He scowls at me.

            "Heh, thought as much.  Want to come with me?"

            He doesn't even answer, just hefts his gunblade and starts walking.  I stare after him for a while with a grin on my face, and then run to catch up.  We walk silently for a while, before he decides to speak.  "Seifer, what are you going to do now?"

            The answer comes to me as soon as he asks it.  The sky is blue; I have my gorgeous rival and my gunblade.  Isn't it obvious?  With a silent thanks to Ultimecia I stare down the open road, smile a small smile, and look down at Squall.  Breathing in a deep breath of fresh air I say honestly, "gonna run away."             

BS: so, what did you think? I was considering building a full story off of this little blurb, but first I want to hear what people think. Also, I love constructive criticism, so just tell me what you think, ok? Thanks much…and do me a favor, if you read a story, review it. Reviewing only takes what, a minute? So just do it :D if you want to…