Spirit of Water

By Nix Winter

Disclaimers: I don't own SEifer and Squall. I'm bloody glad they inspire me. I love that pairing because of the first rp I did with them. Anyway. And this is nothing like that rp. But oh well...

Notes: I do own the story and the setting... they're set in the world of my last finished novel, Tokala. And I was thinking of Seifer and Squall when I wrote it, so ... I just wanted to share it here.

Seifer stopped by the sea one night, violin on his back, daggers at his hips. A traveling Songbird, walking the roads of Equilobos in search of memories that he could not find. With hair as blond as wheat in the late summer sun, eyes as blue as a spring sky, and a voice that had gone to wherever his memories had gone, he had a face he found beautiful, but did not recognize when he looked in the mirror. Not even the Temple or the High Songbird would tell him from whence he'd come, nor to where he was bound. So when his feet stopped on the road and the ocean called to him, he stopped, he listened as only a Songbird truly can.

The water lapped against rocks below the road, deep blue, too deep to see through to secrets it might hold. Foam sprayed and splattered, and he stood there. Rocks broke the water with a rhythm like the heart beat of something larger than just one lost Songbird. Lunatay hung surrounded by the stars, the smaller Mayonaka trailing in her shadow. Seifer knelt down on the stones of the road, wondered why this water called to him so.

Time and weather had worn the stairs away on the path to the small beach below. Thumbs under the straps of his backpack, he shifted it's weight, balancing himself on smooth stone steps as he sounded out the rhythm and time of a song he knew deep as his blood, but could not sing. A small swarm of fire bugs appeared, lighting the path a little, and following him downwards.

Before he left the Temple, the High Songbird had told him story, said it was for a new song he was trying to write. It was about a Songbird who had fallen in love with a water spirit, the spirit of a mountain lake by a town that had died in the time of One Moon. Because of their love, life flourished in that area. The Songbird forsook the manor he'd been accustomed to wintering in and stayed in a small cabin by the lake. In time, even on his summer pilgrimages, he wore a vile of the lake's water.

Love and harmony grew within him and everywhere he sang healed faster more quickly from the time of One Moon. He became a very powerful Songbird and brought happiness to many people. Ten winters passed in this balance. The spring of the eleventh year saw rains like no one could remember. The lake filled. The damn bulged. The Songbird sang the ran away from his lake, from the body of the spirit he loved. Other Songbirds, drawn by the power around him, swore they saw another, a beautiful man with hair the color of rain, a man of the water who wiped away rain from the Songbird's face.

When the damn broke, the Songbird sang to hold the water, to hold the being of his beloved and energy poured from him as if his very soul would take root in the water. The lake's spirit kissed him then, lips to lips, fingers in that blond hair, dark in the unbending rains. Some said the spirit of the lake released the spell in that kiss, that he broke the spell lest his love should die as well. Pent up water, suddenly released of damn and spell broke through the river, leveling forest and unbending the body of the river in its path. The fury of the flood covered the scream that replaced the Songbird's sung spell.

Temple Songbirds rebuilt the damn. The Lake Songbird spoke and sang no more. He sat at the shore, watching the water that had no spirit. Seifer had felt no emotion as the High Songbird told him this tale. Songbirds, High or common, all tell tales of magic and love. For all Seifer knew, the Lake Songbird had lived hundreds of years ago, or not at all.

It was the pull he felt to this water that made him wonder, that tugged emotion from him. His pack he left at the stone landing, near the pit meant for a fire. His boots he left there too and his socks. To the edge of the water he found himself, distant and lost, as if even his most recent memories would go the way of his voice. Water washed gently over his bare feet, sinking him into the wet sand and he knelt. His hand trembled as he reached for the clear water, lit by moonlight and magic fire bugs. Cool water met his palm, and electric shot through him.

The memories he'd been half expecting didn't come, and he knew then, that they never would. Who he'd been was gone. He closed his eyes and he saw gray eyes smiling back at him, and a smile, small and quiet. This smile he knew, a smile hidden behind a scowl more often than not. And suddenly there was a name. Squall.

Voice unused for so long, it squeaked unintelligibly when he called, "Squall!"

Standing he yelled with a voice that had not spoken a single word in years, "Squall!"

"Took you long enough," a familiar voice said.

Seifer jumped back, eyes blinking. Squall stood on the water, disorderly gray hair now sea foam green, but the eyes were the same, storm cloud gray. "I've waited for you here, Seifer."

"Have you waited long," Seifer asked, not completely sure he recognized even the sound of his voice. Wonderingly, he reached to touch the soft lips of the spirit he loved. "I've lost who I am."

Squall's hand covered Seifer's, holding it as he kissed. "I have your memories, as I had your voice."

Surf rushed around them, breaking against Squall's legs, then washing over Seifer's. Like a dream where nothing feels quite real, Seifer didn't really believe. "Why didn't you come home? If you knew who I was, why didn't you find me? Did you not really love me?"

"How can you doubt?" Squall's voice deepened like the hardest hours of surf, "How can you doubt my love for you? You give your love so naturally. It reaches from you and calls to me, and yet you doubt that love will return to you. You don't know who you are."

Sobbing, grief lost with his memories shaking him, Seifer dropped to his knees. Squall wrapped him in solid arms, warm as any mortal. Squall arms crossed behind him, held him. Silk made of water soaked up his tears as his lover rocked him, caressed his hair. "I love you, Seifer. I love you. I love you."

The same words, whispered as the tide rose around them, until the water was hitting at their waists. "I will stay, here in the water with you," Seifer whispered.

Squall laughed. "You don't breath well in water. We tried that already."

"We did? I don't remember. Why didn't my memories come back?" Getting to their feet was more awkward than poetry and love is supposed to be. Seifer slipped, Squall caught him, and they both went down in the water, but it was receding and the wet sand cradled them with the fuzzy softness that love gives everything.

They sat there, side by side, shoulder to shoulder. "Maybe."

"Maybe what?"

"Maybe your memories didn't come back because you're someone new now. Maybe you need new memories."

"New memories. I got my voice back though." Seifer shyly held out his hand, not at all sure that the beautiful man next to him would put his hand in the same place.

Squall laid his hand over Seifer's, closed his fingers. "A person needs there voice. And I didn't need two. We'll make new memories. I'm glad you're home."

Seifer took a deep breath, closed his fingers around Squall's, slowly let the breath out. Home. "I'm glad I'm home too."