Part 1.


He shivered continuously, his body uncontrollable now. It felt like days he had been sitting there but knowing it had merely been hours. He had his arms crossed, his knees pulled up to his chest to conserve heat though by now it was pointless. His leathers were soaked through and he was frozen to the bone. Squall sat in a tiny alcove in the cliff at Trabia. Snow was falling in a heavy blizzard that had been going on since he got there. Snow covered his hair, falling on his fluttering eyelashes and covering his clothes. Just above his right hip was a large gash that had been bleeding steadily, one good thing about the cold was that his circulation had slowed down and stopped the bleeding. The snow heaped around his right side was red with his blood. No doubt search parties were looking for him but it had been hours since he had been separated from Quistis and the others. Maybe they were all lost individually and they had to find everyone one by one.

The mission had been a simple one, what a laugh if it was this one that killed him. A simple survey mission.

Quistis was in charge of the garden now, Squall was asked but he stepped down. He was still the commander but Quistis was the headmistress.

Some of the villagers in Trabia had invited Seed along to navigate and investigate the cliffs. With Trabia garden still being rebuilt they had decided that it would be a good idea to get along with the locals, and help them out where possible.

There had been several groups of them spread out all over the mountains, over the cliffs and around the area. Squall's group had been at the base of one of the mountains.

Squall, Zell and Irvine had been gathering samples and doing structural surveys. Zell had complained continuously about how boring it was and how this wasn't what Seed were supposed to do. Squall had ignored him most of the time until he got too stressed out and told him to shut up or he could go wait in the Ragnorok. The blonde had shuffled his feet and promised to be quiet. Irvine thought it was funny. He said he could see Zell as the child and Squall as the angry parent. The mission was uneventful and he agreed with Zell it was boring. He was just looking forward to being back at garden in the warm when there was shouting from above and gunfire. They all scattered, Irvine drawing his gun and the other two pressing themselves to the mountainside. The shouting had grown louder and several Seeds ran in their direction, down the mountain path and then continued across the snow covered fields. Zell stepped away from the mountains trying to see what they were running from and then- then there was a deafening rumbling sound and the ground shook. He remembered seeing Zell stare upwards, his eyes wide and then he turned and ran, following the others. He shouted at them to run too. Irvine who was nearer to Squall took one step to run and then reached a hand back for Squall. The brunette remembered reaching forward towards the cowboy, their fingers brushed, he almost had a hold and then- It had felt like he was hit by a truck and everything went white and he was falling. He didn't remember a lot after that. When he woke up he was sitting where he was now in a slightly sheltered area. The rocky mountain was behind him and above him, leaving a little alcove that was just his size but the wind and blizzard was coming straight at him. When he first woke up he was bleeding and he had tried to stop the blood flow, removing a glove to press it into his side. Now wishing he hadn't because he could no longer feel his fingers on his left hand. If he survived this, which he was unlikely, he could lose some fingers to frost bite.

He breathed in shallowly. He side didn't hurt anymore and he knew that wasn't a good thing. He knew he was on the way out. That he was slowly dying. It wasn't quite how it had pictured his death. Of course being a Seed he didn't think it would be in bed surrounded by family and friends. But he at least thought it would be fighting something tough and formidable not sitting in the snow freezing to death. He wasn't afraid to die he couldn't do his job well if he was. All Seeds were trained not to fear death, but he was disappointed. He was still only nineteen and he'd miss his friends. The last time he saw Zell he told him he was an idiot. He allowed himself a mental smile, Zell was an idiot, poor example. He thought about all of his friends... Irvine. He would miss the cowboy. He hoped that they would miss him too for a while anyway.

"Wow, you're not looking so good huh?" A voice said to him suddenly.

Squall blinked slowly and managed to look up slightly. Irvine was walking towards him; the cowboy was dressed as he usually was, with the trench coat and the hat. He crouched in front of the brunette, looking down into his face.

"Ouch that's gotta hurt." He smiled, indicated the wound on Squall's side. "Though not for much longer I imagine right?" He seemed cheerfully enough. He turned and looked out into the blizzard. "I bet they're out there searching for you right now, should I tell them not to bother? You're not going to make it anyway right?"

The brunette remained silent. He wasn't sure he remembered how to speak.

"Don't listen to him." Another voice said.

Squall turned his head to the other side to see Rinoa standing there, in the usual blue dress. "They'll all miss you if you died." She came and knelt in front of him and smiled, touching the side of his face. "So you hold on alright?"

He just watched her.

Irvine scoffed in the background, leaning on something that Squall's couldn't make out. "Oh yeah you're fine aren't you? Here you are sitting here freezing, bleeding and talking to yourself like all the other sane people do." He smiled. "They won't miss you, you know. Quistis will be happy because she'll finally be out of your shadow."

"Shut up." Rinoa told him. "That's rubbish." She looked at Squall. "Irvine will miss you, you know he will."

"No I won't."

"Was I talking to you?" She asked, hands on his hips.

The brunette watched them under heavy lids arguing with each other. He had been close with the cowboy. They weren't a couple, really, not yet anyway but they were close. Good friends he supposed. Good girl friends Seifer called them and he had a point because Irvine would put an arm around him or share an arm chair if there weren't enough seats. He probably felt more for the cowboy then he ever let on.

"She's gone." 'Irvine' said to him. "It's just you and me now." He said. "She's given up on you too."

The brunette shut his eyes then blinked them opened quickly again, trying not to shut them.

"You just go to sleep." The fake Irvine told him. He shivered a little. "Brr cold out here isn't it?" He teased.

His eyes closed again, he slowly opened them once more before he shut them again. Just before he shut them he thought he saw... something in the distance coming towards him, a light maybe. But he was too weak to even raise his head let alone speak or announce his presence.