Summary: All Rinoa ever wanted to do was to runaway from her highly esteemed royal life. All Squall wanted to do was avoid who he really was. Both of them share the urge to escape. Yet their journey wasn't how they thought it would be. (Squinoa)
Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy. Square soft does. Please don't sue.
Chapter 16: Wicked Games
The word 'free' doesn't exist. No one is free.. nor ever will be.
The fireball of mango light rose slowly, blinding his sight as he looked across the horizon. Blinding... in more ways than one. She nestled closer to him under the evergreen tree as she felt him move underneath her. He felt a sinking feeling in his stomach as he looked beyond the horizon. Life is never easy. Peace is never found by accident. Rewards are given only through great hardship. He sensed something was wrong, he didn't know how right he was.
This puzzle isn't solved yet…he thought as allowed his head to rest upon the trunk of the tree. He thought of the possibility that his reunion with Rinoa might be a blessing but he dismissed it.
No, he whispered to himself as if someone was watching him.He closed his eyes momentarily, listening to the breeze dancing across the lake and wash upon his feet. He looked down to a silvery object that caught his eye, as he observed the pendant he once held close to him worn as a woman's bracelet. Then he glanced up to see two beautiful brown orbs shining towards him, making his worries subside. She gave a weak, sleepy smile as she lifted herself. Almost cat-like, she stretched her arms in the lukewarm sunlight taking in all that nature offered. She extended her arm out to him as he raised an eyebrow and hesitantly accepted. With all of her strength, she dragged the tired man from the ground and towards her. She poked his chest playfully, biting her tongue as he looked at her, clearly not amused. He deviously swept her off her feet and began to walk forward past the reeds.
"Don't you even dare, Leonhart!" she laughed as she could hear the sound of ripples beneath her. Her heart raced as pure adrenaline ran through her veins, fear of the body of water underneath, fear of the icy sensation and fear of the mischievous thoughts that lurked in his mind.
"And if I do?" he asked in a husky tone that sent vibrations through her body. "What are you going to do, Heartilly?"
Rinoa pouted as he approached her, his lips grazed against hers, teasing her sweetly. She pushed forward as their noses touched; her soft hand cupped his cheek as she kissed him gently. He pushed back gracefully to deepen the kiss as her midnight tresses were swept with the honey ribbons of sunlight that weaved in the lake. A muffled scream was heard as she felt her toes brisk past the edge of water. He departed from the embrace and gave her a rare wicked smile as he dropped his arms allowing gravity to guide his angel safely to ground.
"AHHH! You're horrible!" She yelled as she stood up from the shallow bank. She grabbed his tie and dragged him down with her. Caught by surprise, Squall absently forgot to shut his mouth as he emerged with his mouth half filled with water. Rinoa burst out laughing as he shook his head at her, flicking the droplets from his now drenched mop on to her. She raised her arm up to ward the droplets away, but to no avail. He pulled her towards him as he locked his arms around her in the middle of the lake. "You ruined my dress."
But that remark seemed to have fallen onto deaf ears as Squall attention was drawn to the tightly bound dress that clung to Rinoa's body like a second skin. He blushed as he looked back Rinoa in the eyes, "You ruined my hair. I'd say we're about even." She laughed as she wiped away the dirt from his face.
Rinoa gave a small nod of acknowledgment as she tucked his now matted drown locks behind his ears.
"No, really," she sensed the seriousness in his tone, "I haven't laughed like that in ages."
"Well I can say the same thing to y-"
A Galbadian officer charged towards them as he tread on the water, causing the lake to splash and stir the sediments like tea leaves in a cup. With his rifle, the officer batted his arm to call in reinforcements, "Princess Caraway! We've found her!"
Rinoa dropped her hands slowly away from Squall as she asked, "W-What's going on?"
The officer batted towards the left for the other reinforcements as he slowly moved forward to the princess, "Princess, we feared the worst when we didn't find you in your room. Please, come with us, for your own safety."
She slowly walked out of the lake with Squall by her side, "I don't understand, my safety?" As she gave a look to the officer as if he had said something preposterous, "I'm in no harm." The officer shook his head as another group of officers surrounded the lake with some of their guns facing away from Rinoa to guard her; the others pointed towards Squall. "And why are you pointing those stupid things at him?"
"Princess, King Laguna has been taken hostage from last night's ball. We are taking no chances. Please come with us quickly so we can report to Prince Almasy."
Rinoa rolled her eyes, "Seifer's in charge? Pfft. Like he can manage," she looked towards Squall, "Come on, let's go sort this out." However as Squall stepped towards Rinoa he could feel a revolver pushed towards his back, "What on earth is going on!?"
The leading officer approached Squall with a technical rectangular device, "We'll see about that. Sir, if we could scan your card thanks." Squall gave Rinoa a sharp glance in disappointment.
Squall swallowed hard. Damn it. "I'm sorry officer," Squall lied, "I seem to have misplaced it," as he patted down his drenched coat to give further effect. The officer looked at him suspiciously as he grabbed Squall's hand and forcefully tapped it on the screen. The screen swiped his hand and started tracing his fingerprints however the screen, instead of giving a response, flashed in red.
"ERROR. NO RECORD," Was heard from the machine.
The officer pushed Squall to the ground as Rinoa yelled in anger, "What the hell do you think you're doing?!" His face was merged with the soil as three officers ensured that his handcuffs were placed on with accuracy. One of the officers lifted him up as the dirt was left on his face and jacket.
The officer dragged Squall towards him and then, passed him, like an object, to another officer with the revolver, "We aren't taking any chances Princess. For all we know, this could be the perpetrator."
"Wait! I know him! I was with him the whole time! He's not who you're looking for!" Rinoa yelled, however it was futile as they separated the couple. I lost him before, not again! What's going on!?
The main officer saluted the gun-wielding officer, "Take your team to the interrogation cell. I'll take Princess Caraway back to the palace." The other officer saluted back as he dragged Squall with him. The reluctant prince looked back at the princess as she whispered something to him barely audible to the human ear. However, the prince wasn't any ordinary person. As Rinoa and Squall departed, Squall collect his thoughts, and held on to her words like it was his lifeline.
"I need you."
A clink sound could be heard between the blonde couple as they drained their champagne glasses. The woman gave her partner a peck on the cheek as they celebrated in their achievement. He smirked and glanced at her with a knowing look of mischief. She giggled as she held the bottle and started to pour into their glasses however her partner stopped her as he hugged her from behind and bound her arms.
"No more?" she asked teasingly as he kissed her neck making her skin tingle. She closed her eyes as he took off her coat and slowly moved towards the bed. He lifted her up and kissed her roughly, then she opened her eyes and stared into his icy blue pools to reveal a hidden agenda. She looked at him curiously, as he seemed to have something else on his mind.
"My dear Quistis. May I?" he asked as he lifted duct tape from his pocket. She laughed devilishly as she gave him a nod of acknowledgment and dismissed her initial curiosity. He ripped the tape with his teeth in a manly fashion and tied it around Quistis's hands to the top of the bed and ripped another and placed it over her mouth. She looked at him curiously at his newfound technique as he began to roll up his sleeves.
The atmosphere changed as he looked at her smugly. "You've always been so loyal," he whispered huskily down her neck as he brushed a pointed metal object near her throat. "It's such a shame that it has to end here." He lifted up the metal object to Quistis's eyes as she screamed in horror.
The dagger was pointed towards her eyes and he taunted her as she screamed to the best of her ability however the tape that sutured her lips muted them. She twisted and tried to turn, kicking up and down to get the tyrant off of her. Beads of sweat rolled down her face merging with her tears of fear. She breathed in heavily as her chest pounded up and down making her senses ballistic.
The heart pumps faster, pupils dilate, muscles spasm, adrenaline intensifies...this human response is known as 'fight or flight.' The body is capable to extraordinary things under these circumstances. The body empties out its wastes to lighten the being to escape from danger. Muscles hold on stronger for more powerful attacks. Adrenaline quickens responses to dodge attacks. All of this is capable in a single human being. All of this is capable in everyone.
Quistis stretched her arms to try and loosen the tape however her attempts were futile. Her lover climbed towards her and began to trace her arm with the dagger down to her face as he slit it across her cheek making her scream louder. "Oh Quistis," the tyrant said as he wiped his thumb on her wound then pulled her hair to face him closer, "You're gorgeous. Look at those features," he pointed with the tip of this instrument, "Perfect. Just perfect." He smirked as he gave her a last kiss on the duct tape making her squirm.
There was a knock on the door, "Prince Seifer, the police are here to see you about King Laguna's ransom."
Seifer looked away for a moment and casual responded, "Yes. Thank you. I'll be with you in a moment."
Realising the intense mess that would be created in his plan, he astringently retracted his dagger and hid it away. He returned to his lover who was still breathing deeply with tears streaming down her eyes.
"Quistis. You of all people should know it's a dog-eat-dog world. False face must hide what false heart doth know. Shakespeare was always good with words." He lifted the pillow below her and stroked her face, "I am sorry, but I have no purpose for you anymore, and once I get Rinoa, my dream will be fulfilled." He pressed the pillow against her face as she continued to struggle beneath and scream. However, her struggles became less energetic, and her screams, although muffled, died out. And finally it all stopped.
He gave a small sigh of relief as he stripped the pillow from her face to see her opaque eyes as he shut them, then stripped all of her clothing off, leaving her in her bed with a bed sheet over. He unruffled his sleeves and cleaned his dagger as he departed from the room, locking the door behind him.
"I think he's awake, ya know," a big stranger said as the king opened his eyes. "He's awake!"
Laguna looked around groggily in the lit room. He tugged his arms to feel them tied together behind him and looked down to his feet to see them untied. He stood up slowly and approached the big man without precaution, "Where are we?" he asked in a casual manner.
"We're in Galbadia Garden sire." The big man said as he sat on the couch on the other side of the small room. "Sorry if we were a bit rough on you before. It's policy, ya know."
"SILENCE," the woman in the corner shushed.
The king didn't feel threatened at all with his captives. He actually even considered having coffee with them. He looked over to the bigger man, "Wow that's a cool tattoo," he commented.
The big man rubbed the back of his head, "Ah, got that in Balamb, only my hometown can do such a good job." He lifted up his other sleeve, "This one I got in Galbadia, and it's not so great. They use different water or something, ya know."
Laguna gave a nod as he looked towards the woman with silver hair.
"So, how was your day?"
The woman gave a small smile as she leaned over in her seated position. "Busy."
Laguna laughed. "I can imagine. So, what do we plan to do today?"
The bigger man stood up and yawned. "Just watch you until Seifer comes back. He usually does the dirty work; we just try to make you comfortable, ya know. By the way, I'm Raijin and that lovely lady over there is Fujin. Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too." Laguna looked over to Fujin. "So Seifer orchestrated all this huh?"
Laguna looked at her curiously. "What happened to your eye?"
A melancholic look swept on Fujin's face. "VIOLENCE."
Raijin coughed. "What she wanted to say is 'parental violence.' We're all orphans and not all-foster families are good. Fujin was one of the unlucky ones, ya know."
Laguna looked over to Fujin with kind eyes, "I'm very sorry." She gave a nod, not really fazed. "So, besides Seifer kidnapping me with you lovely guys, do you know what he's up to?"
"POWER," Fujin said.
Raijin agreed. "We don't know what happened to him. We're his posse, ya know, but he's just so determined to conquer lately. We're his friends and always will be, but we need someone to knock some sense back into him. It's like he's possessed, ya know."
"AFFIRMATIVE" Fujin said sadly.
Laguna gave them a wry smile as he looked around the cold room. Even though his captors were friendly, he knew that an attempt to escape would be useless. All he could was complying, if he valued his life. I have to live…
The other orphans could be heard running around outside, laughing and yelling as her eyes fluttered open.
"Are you sure you're all right?" Matron asked maternally. Ellone waved her off as she sat up in her bed. A wave of nausea washed over her head as she held her head up with her hand.
"I'm okay," she replied as she returned an empty glass, once filled with water. She looked outside nostalgically to the green grass and the fresh flowers that she adored so much. "I'm just glad Odine didn't take me away from this." She pushed her blanket back and faced matron, "Matron, I have some bad news to tell you."
Edea looked at her curiously. "What is it dear?"
Ellone looked down to her hands recalling back to her episode. "I saw a woman die when I looked into the future. S-She was murdered…" Ellone eyes welded up as she started shaking. "I knew her... She was one of us Matron. She was here and what makes it even worse is that this is only the beginning. It's almost like she's an omen."
The sorceress looked at Ellone with sympathetic eyes. "My poor Elle." She wrapped her arms around the girl in a motherly way and stroked her hair. "I know that this might sound harsh, but you know what must happen now." Ellone gave a sad nod. "I had no idea that your power could break that barrier that I created, but even so, Odine can still track you. I know a place that you'll be safe, but you must never leave that place. If you do, even I cannot protect you." Elle gave a sharp nod.
Matron stood up and clapped her hands as a red mist seemed to be spraying through her palms. She waved it across Ellone, which seemed to have no effect on her. "It's just momentary shield. I can't create anything stronger than that due to my age." Ellone thanked her and looked sadly through the open door.
"Matron," she called one last time, "I know that Ayame may be your daughter, but… watch her carefully. You and I both know what happened last time...I think it might be happening again." Matron widened her eyes. "Yes… exactly that." And with that Ellone walked away with an address given by matron in her hand as she disappeared
Matron sat down at her coffee table and was lost her thoughts. Why didn't I see the signs…were I just ignorant as she is my own child? She pounded her fist on the table frustrated at herself. Damn you Adel. Get out of my child!
Ellone arrive in the middle of Trabia up in mountainous areas where her new home would be. She walked up to the building to see the intricate patterns and the intellect in the architectural planning in the construction of her new home. A bald monk with a saffron-coloured robe with brown beads around his neck opened the door for her as she presented the note to him. "Come in sister. You'll be safe here." She felt the warmth and the alluring homely feel from this place however was melancholic as she thanked the monk.
She gave a final look outside as she said goodbye to her freedom.
Squall was pushed into a locked interrogation cell with a steely table as an old familiar woman sat across him, assisting him to sit. "My, my, and here we are again," said the old woman with clanky jewellery and weathered hands. He looked at her objectively, trying to recall when and where they had met before. "Let me give you a hint," she said as she lowered her voice, "my dear prince."
Squall's eyes widened as she looked at the hag more carefully. "Why are you here?"
She laughed. "It seems that I have capabilities that can assist SeeD. Don't worry, Squall; they can't hear us. I just give them a progress a report afterwards. Whether to detain you further or set you free."
"Then just let me go! You know that I wouldn't be stupid enough to kidnap the king. Hell, I don't even want to be around him." The fortuneteller gave him a small smile.
"You and I know that. I may have a commitment to SeeD but I have higher orders to oblige and all you need to know is that everything will work out. And don't worry about my car – I have insurance." Squall looked at her curiously as she tapped on the door twice. A SeeD approached the door as she pointed towards Squall announcing, "He's highly suspicious. He has no name. He refuses to give any information and my powers are too weak for a soul search." She turned to Squall with a smile on her face, "Arrest him."
"WHAT?!" Squall yelled as two officers shackled his legs and handcuffed his hands. "I don't have bloody Laguna!"
One of the SeeD's rolled his eyes. "That's what they all say. Madam Jiyuu is never wrong," He said as he pushed Squall into a caged cell with another man inside.
Squall looked around the cell recognising the man in the cell with his boyish cowboy hat. "Irvine?"
The sharpshooter laughed. "They got you too huh?"
Squall sighed as he sat at the opposite corner staring in the dark dank room that smelt like sewage. No words were said between them, as they both knew the answer. They failed. Only a small window was present with the view of the icy mountains behind. We're in the top of Galbadia...near Trabia. He looked into his hands as his thoughts were with Rinoa. I don't know what's going on anymore. I just don't get it. I have to get out of here. Screw the rules. I have to protect Rinoa... she's still in danger.
"Leon," the sharpshooter called. "Look, I know you're frustrated right now, but could you lower your magic, your hands are starting to light up." Squall looked at him questioningly, but then looked at his palms, and indeed they were resonating some sort of light. "If I didn't know better, I'd almost call you a sorcerer."
And with that Squall gave him an approving smile. "Stand back." Irvine raised his palms as he ran to the back of the cell with hesitation. "I've never tried this before, so it might be a bit loud."
Squall closed his eyes and focused his palms towards the back wall. He shut his eyes as images of Rinoa flowed through his mind, then powerful images of helpless children and animals ran across. By escaping, he could protect everyone. It was his destiny. Destiny or not, I need to get out of here. He felt a warm sensation run through his fingers as a small bolt seemed to pulsate out of the base of his palm. The wall started to crumble slightly however it was nowhere near enough. He started to concentrate harder as he connected with his emotions that he suppressed years ago. Anger, fear, pride...all seemed to merge into one emotion that made Squall infuriated. Irvine stared in shock as he watch the wall suddenly shake as if it had a pulse, but what was even more amazing was that Squall's magic seemed to grow at an alarming rate. The wall crackled down causing a terrible crash as Squall released his magic from himself to what lingered outside the wall. He opened his eyes to see that he demolished the wall completely and everything that was infront of it with a hundred-metre radius. Whoops.
He stepped out of the cell observing the carnage that he produced, and thankfully only destroyed the wall and charred the asphalt road and one car. That's what she meant.
"Come on, Leon, I can hear the guards coming! Look over there! I think it's like a cabin or something. Let's go!" Irvine said quickly as they both ran into the forest with the officers close behind them.
"What do you mean they escaped?! It's a para-magic proof cell. How on earth did those two men get out?" exclaimed the head SeeD leader to the officers in charge of their cell. "Look at the ash marks on the side of this wall. Are you sure you checked that the magic field was still on? Look at this! No way that this would have happened if the field was on! What am I going to tell the headmaster? What am I going to tell Prince Seifer?!"
The two officers stared down on the floor. "Sorry sir. We were sure that the magic field was on. Sorry."
The SeeD leader looked over the cell carefully curiously over the rubble…it was different to the paramagic that he had seen before. "It's alright men, I think you were right. Who were the people held captive in this cell?"
"Irvine Kinneas and a Leon Hart," one of the officers answered.
"What is their status?"
One of the guards flipped a file open, searching through with his finger as he announced to his superior, "Irvine Kinneas is under arrest for suspicious behaviour last night during King Laguna's disappearance. Leon Hart is also accused of the same act and not having an ID record on the system."
The SeeD leader gave an understanding nod. "Very well, place their photos and information all over Interpol and the media. With the damage they did to this wall, who knows what these men are capable of."
"Yes sir!" The officers saluted.
Rinoa sat in her room as she waited impatiently for Squall's return. She looked towards her bedside table to see her half-emptied jar of pills that she thought she emptied. Must have forgotten that bottle. She was about to empty the bottle when a knock was heard on her door. "Yes?"
The blonde man walked in the room, allowing himself inside her room as he sat next to her with a sympathetic look. "It's crazy isn't it? How people like King Laguna could be captured. It could have been you."
She gave him a sleepy nod. She didn't want to talk to him, she was worried about Squall. Just when she thought that everything was perfect, something like this came along and destroyed it. She sighed to herself as she looked up at Seifer. "It's been a long day, if you don't mind, I'd like to get some rest."
She didn't really want to sleep, she just didn't want to think, because everything she looked at somehow connected back to Squall. And the worry was killing her. SeeD were renowned for their interrogation tactics and how they use extreme conventions to achieve information. She feared that for Squall, she feared that he may be hurt, she feared that she never would be able to see him again, she feared that she would lose him again.
Seifer smiled, "Sure. I'll see myself out." Rinoa closed her eyes are she turned over burying her head deeper into the pillow. However Seifer stayed until she was in a deep sleep as he opened up her anti-depressant pills and tipped them into a different bottle, replacing them with his own. The tightened the bottles cap and wiped his hands clean, tucking Rinoa in.
"Don't worry Rinoa. We will be together, it's meant to be," he whispered as closed the door behind him.
A/N: Whoever said I was dead... You're wrong obviously. Please thank 'the greatest' Rikke Leonhart, my faithful beta-reader. She can really move mountains. (Yes another bad metaphor) If you are confused over the plot, do ask, I'll reply… and don't be shy; seriously… my inbox is lonely… I have no friends. XD