Disclaimer: I don't own square….except a lot of shiny round things…what do you mean, they aren't real money?!?!?!?!
Warning: This is a challenge set for me by my best friend/cousin. He asked me if I could write a FFVIII fic with no definitive pairing…this is the result. So in the end, it might be yaoi, it might not be. Just enjoy the reading, right?
This is the last chapter, yay!!! So, I got lots of pm's and emails with thoughts of who the couple could be, and this is the result! I hope that everyone likes the ending to this, I am quite happy with it myself! Thanks to everyone out there who is reading this story!
Elichi????? Where are you??? Please email me! Warning, this chapter has only been slightly beta'd by my fabulously fantastic twin, who has never played FFVIII and is going by some character/story descriptions that she got off the net.
Enough with my rambling, now, on with the ficcage!
I never did talk to him after that, and with the silent treatment, it came as a given that we had broken up. And over the next several years, the Guardian Forces that we relied on so much consumed our memories. Eventually I forgot everything about the relationship, except the three firsts that I had experienced with him. Even his face became only a blur. With that, the tension between us grew each and everyday. We ended up hating one another, our entwined past nothing but a deeply buried fantasy. We didn't remember anything. And after the war, when we all stopped using the Guardian Forces, our memories started to return. Not all at once, but gradually. As I began to remember, I regained my feelings of betrayal, hate, rage…everything that I always had, but I began to regard them in a different light.
The feelings still hurt me, but I knew that we both had been young and stupid. He had been too caught up in pleasure, and I in pain, to know how to deal with each other. Don't get me wrong, I still feel hurt by him, and a little angry because he didn't stop when I asked him to, but I think that I have been able to forgive him, and possibly, maybe, I might be able to love him again. Unfortunately, I still haven't seen him since the war ended. Just my luck that after not remembering him for years, the first time I do remember him and want to see him, I can't.
In the two months since the war, I have discovered a few things about myself. First and foremost, is that I'm not sure that being a SeeD is the right thing for me anymore. Helping to save the world once is enough for me. But until I decide what I do want to do, I'll continue living this life that I am currently in. Also, I have discovered that I wouldn't mind having him back in my life for good, having a real relationship together. And what's more, I don't want to have a relationship with anyone but him.
Lately, I have taken to wandering the beach alone whenever I want to think. It reminds me of those innocent times from my childhood when I would sit out on the shoreline for hours, often watching a full tide go out or come in before anyone would come to find me. Even then, it was normally him who found me, and more often than not, he would join me. But those days are over, never to return. So as I sit here, the moon light playing over the waves, I reflect on the memories that I have, hoping that someday I might be able to feel the comfort of his kisses, the safety of being held in his arms, and the joy of just being able to lay down with him.
And in just one moment, my piece of serenity is shattered, the foot steps of an intruder quickly being picked up by my still overly-sensitized ears. Great. It is probably just some green horned cadet who somehow got roped into coming to find me. Because Hyne forbid that after saving the world, you can disappear for a few minutes of quietness and peace.
"Whoever is there, I'm sorry you had to come all the way out here. I'll be back to Garden soon. Just head back and tell the headmaster that I'll come back when I damn well feel like it.!" I exclaim, exasperated that I can't get a moment of peace and quiet. My eyes never leave the silvery, shiny ocean.
I don't get a response from the cadet while sitting there, and I let out a sigh. This night can't possibly get any better, can it? The messenger is star struck.
"Koneko?" The word is almost lost in the mid-autumn breeze coming off the water. My eyes go wide as I turn around and focus first on his voice, and then on the legs that I see, clad in black leather pants. My mind is racing, as is my heart. Here he is, standing in front of me, and I can't even find the courage to look up at his face. Lovely.
"Ah, um, hi." I whisper, trying to gather my wits about me enough to produce coherent speech. The splashing of the waves against the shore is the only sound for what seems like an eternity, until his voice breaks through my thoughts once more.
"Do you mind if I sit down? You seemed a little bit upset about someone bothering you just there." Oh, how I've missed hearing his voice in a tone other than hate and contempt.
"Sure." Is all I manage to squeak out, before he sits down in the sand beside me. And for the first time in years, I am able to see his face, clear of any anger or resentment. It is like we are back at the orphanage together, just the two of us on the beach. The only sound is the crashing of the waves, with an innocence that has since been lost, hovering over us, our shared past nothing but a hazy dream. I look away quickly, unable to keep my gaze locked on him, and instead stare out at the silvery wave.
"Did you remember anything from before the war, after you came out of Time compression?" he whispers, almost as if he were afraid that speaking any louder would destroy the moment.
I take a deep breath; I knew that this would be his first question.
"You mean about us?" I get a single nod from him as I dig my gloved hand into the sand, feeling the expired heat of the day clinging onto the fine grains deep down. "I never completely forgot. I just didn't remember that you had been all those important firsts. Your face had become a blur. But I never actually forgot about them." I let out a deep sigh; I know that he will be disappointed with my response.
I can hear him shuffling in the sand next to me; I look over towards him, and see that he has moved directly next to me, effectively closing the three foot gap he had originally placed between us.
"That's more than I deserve, Koneko. I treated you like shit that night." His voice is still in a whisper, and I turn quickly to look at him. For the first time in almost five years, I am looking directly into his eyes. The endless pools of colour are focused only on me, daring me to get lost in those depths for all of eternity. But behind all that illustrious colour is something that I did not expect to see. Sorrow.
"I've gotten over it." I whisper, my mouth going off without the consent of my brain.
"But I haven't, Koneko." He replies quickly. "I left you that night bleeding and broken hearted," I make a move to cut him off, but a raised hand stops me. "I told you that I would stop, and all I could think of was getting off! How can you even stand to look at me after that? I didn't even tell you that I was sorry." He turns away from me, hanging his head in shame.
"I couldn't, not for the longest time. I couldn't even stand hearing your name being said. So I threw myself into my studies. And with that, I trained as hard as I could with the GF's. So I gradually forgot." I shrug, finding little reason to continue my hatred towards him.
I hear him let out a quick laugh, no humour in it at all. "You're not suppose to make me feel like I did nothing wrong. You're supposed to be yelling at me. Hyne, I want you to beat me up. You aren't supposed to make me feel that it never happened."
"But it did happen, and it's also in the past. We were young and stupid. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. Time Compression taught me a lot of things, most of all about my own mortality. So we just have to accept these things and move on." I look over at him, staring at his clasped hands, his eyes not making a move to look at me. Another round of silence takes over and once again, he is the one to break it.
"So you want to move on?" he murmurs, and from the tone of his voice, he sounds almost afraid to hear my answer.
"Yes." I reply quickly.
And that is when he abruptly stands up and begins to walk away. Panic floods over me, and I realize that I may have just lost him forever. And after my earlier revelation, I know that I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hadn't at least given him another chance.
"Wait, please." I call out, reaching a hand out and grabbing his wrist. It's not a tight hold, but it effectively stops him in his tracks to look down at me. "You wouldn't let me interrupt you before, so now it is your turn to not interrupt me. So please don't jump to conclusions." I'm not pleading or begging, and he knows that. I could never do that. I am simply requesting this of him. With a heavy sigh, he retakes his seat next to me.
"Alright, Koneko. Go on." He answers me, apologizing in his own way. He will never change, and honestly, I never want him to.
I take a deep breath and then look down at my feet. Somehow, I can no longer meet his eyes. "Yes, I want to move on. I want to move on from mercenary work, from all this drama that comes with this life. I don't want what we had before, I want something more. Something real, something that will last forever. And I want that something with you. That is, if you'll have me." I whisper, and cautious of what his reaction might be, I continue to avert my eyes.
The ever threatening silence is upon us once again, always waiting to engulf us in her loving arms. A shore bird calls out, and it is the only sound I hear as we both sit here analyzing our thoughts. I didn't waste any time in telling him that I want to have a real relationship with him, and I wonder how he will take it. He probably only came back to get on speaking terms again, not for a confession of my feelings. We sit here for an eternity.
"You really want to be with me again?" he asks quietly, looking towards the sky.
I jump slightly at the sound of his voice, but when I hear his words, I nod. "But I hurt you so much before, I couldn't stand to have that happen again."
"Don't worry. It won't happen again, I won't let it happen." I state firmly. "Everything will be consensual. And we will be prepared for that type of situation when it happens again." I finally build up enough nerve to look at him again, only to find him looking directly at me. I feel a slight blush rise to my cheeks, and quickly turn away.
"The question, Koneko, is if you want me back?" A sad look is in his eyes, almost as if he had expected this to be exposed as some sort of cruel joke. If only he knew how serious I am being.
"Of course I do." I barely get the words out of my mouth before I find myself pushed back into the pale sand, the familiar weight of him on top of me, our bodies touching in all the right places, sending chills up my spine- all of them good. I know what is coming, and close my eyes in anticipation. I'm not left waiting long before his lips are on mine. The pressure is light at first, but as soon as my arms reach up and wrap around the back of his neck, he crushes his lips against mine. With no hesitation, I part my lips, desperate to taste that haunting flavour known only to me as him.
My tongue slips out, first tracing his lips, tasting the salt that is coming off the ocean, but that is not what I am looking for. After some cajoling, his thin lips part, finally granting me my return access to the haven once more. And with the single action of his own tongue questing out to meet mine, my senses are once again overwhelmed with the taste of honey and blueberries, mixed with something faintly spicy. But all I care about is tasting him, drinking everything in to give me solid proof that this is really happening.
And before I gather enough proof to satisfy myself, I feel him pull away, leaving me wanton and desperate for more. As I begin to lean forward in an attempt to resume the kiss, a gloved finger is pressed to my lips. I assure you, it wasn't my own.
"Wait a minute, Koneko." He whispers, his hand slowly sliding down my face to cup my cheek, his thumb continuing to caress my moist lips. If not for the serious tone in his voice, I could have easily begun to suck on the leather clad digit. But from the way he sounds, I refrain from doing so.
"Yes, what is it?" I ask, enjoying the feel of his body flush against my own.
He looks directly into my eyes, before his slightly bruised lips part and he begins to speak.
"I just wanted to let you know, Koneko, that I promise, under no circumstances will I allow myself to hurt you like I did the last time. I promise to think of you before thinking of myself, and last of all, I promise that I will never leave you again." As he finishes his little speech, his mouth forms into a smile, and I pull him back down on top of me. Not for a kiss, not for anything more than a forceful embrace.
And I decide right then and there, that I never want to be without him again.
"I love you." I whisper, my mouth moving seemingly on its own accord. But as much as I want to, I can't hate myself for telling him the truth, a truth that has been there all along, but has never been allowed to reach the surface. I watch as the smile on his face extends all the way to his eyes.
"I love you too, Koneko." His returned words give me a warm feeling all over, and I finally feel as if my life is complete. And although I am not content with my job, am uncertain about my future, and unsure of how our relationship will progress, I am happier than I've ever been. But there is one final thing weighing on my shoulders.
"I have a question…" I trail off, still holding him close.
"What is it, Koneko?" he replies.
"Will you ever call me by my given name again?" I break into a small smile, before he leans in and gives me a soft peck on the lips.
"Never again, Koneko. Never again."
Now, before you all try and kill me, LOOK BEHIND YOU!!!! runs and hides behind tree Is it safe to come out now? I hope that no one is too mad at me, but this was the plan from the beginning dodges airborne pitchfork Hey, who threw that? I really just could not really decide on who the pairing was going to be, and when people pointed out all the different things that made it seem like the different pairings, it made sense to me, so I just left it up in the air. So for all of you who wanted a SeiferxQuistis, here you are, and for all of those who were hoping for a SeiferxZell, it's yours, and last but not least, for all the SeiferxSquall fans, this ones for you. And if anyone wanted another pairing, feel free to make it that!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this deranged piece of my insanity, and a special thanks to joker5253 for this wonderful idea, you know that you wish it was you! To elichi, once again you are the bestest beta ever, please email me! And to my fantastically fabulous twin, you are a lifesaver, and no more insominatic nights on msn, kay? Until the next one, please R&R, and later!