Chapter 6




(Well, now, that's a tad annoying.)



(I guess I'll have to call maintenance in the morning and have that fixed.)


The latest drop of liquid slid down, tracing a line down the back of Squall's hand. Dazed, he blinked his eyes open.


(Where the hell am I?)

Outside, the wind howled as the windows and roof were battered with what seemed to be one of Deling City's rare, but powerful, ocean rainstorms. (Delin–that's right!)

Squall sat up with a jerk and tried to stand. He was tugged back into a sitting position by the bond on his right arm. It was then that he finally realized his surroundings for what they were. (Plain room, single light. Boring, but warm and dry.)


(Except for the leak in the ceiling that happens to be right next to where I was sleeping.) And he had been sleeping, fairly well to boot. He was certainly in a mysterious and fairly confusing predicament. The last thing Squall could remember was dozing off in a private box seat, watching the Galbadian presidential inauguration. Not exactly something a person of his status should really admit to, but...

The door to his room suddenly opened. ", I think I'll handle him alone for awhile..." A fairly familiar voice drifted in through the doorway. Then, he stepped inside and shut them in together. Alone.

"Seifer!" This time, Squall managed to yank himself up into a crouch.

A bit of emotion, possibly even pity, flashed itself through the cocky blonde's features before he opened his mouth to respond. "Peace, Leon–"

"Where the fuck is Rinoa? And what the hell do you think you're doing? Garden will have your ass–"

"You better calm the hell down. I didn't have to come here. I didn't have to see you. I could have left you locked up until your precious Garden realized something was up and started negotiating for your release." A half-smile came to his face. "Well, I am going to leave you locked up until then, but I decided it was a bit too cruel to leave you out of the loop."

"What loop?" Squall scowled at his long-term adversary.

"You know, for the longest time, I thought that two people couldn't be more different than you and I. But since the whole...thing that people call the third Sorceress War, the funniest thing happened. Some thoughts clicked into place, and guess what? 'We're a lot alike, me and puberty boy,' my brain says to me."

"Sounds like you need a head exam, to me."

"Well, tell me what the hell is up with the Rinoa thing?"

He felt his free hand nervously smooth back his hair. "I love her, you social retard," Squall spit out.

"We're both social retards, don't even go there."


"I loved her too, you know, until I started hearing Edea's voice in my dreams. Thought I had some sort of fucked up Oedipus complex for awhile..."


"Well, maybe I am fucked up. But so are you. But it's not our fault," Seifer said.

"An orphanage and then a mercenary school leads to unusual childhoods," Squall admitted.

"We're not the only ones there, though. No, I'm talking about the sorceress thing."


"Galbadian intelligence says there are three sorceresses wandering the world right now. One of them is Rinoa. One of them inherited Adel's powers after Lunatic Pandora. The way that thing flew around, could have been fucking anyone."

"That's only two."

Seifer smiled. "The third has rather weak powers, but she's had hers the longest. It's Ellone, Squall."


"We, the two of us, have been unreasonably close to several sorceresses in our lives, right?" He paused. "Our experts say that every sorceress has had a knight. They think that the knights have supernatural abilities as well. Also, the nature of the sorceress powers is conflicting. A sorceress wants to gain all the other power that's out there. But until now, the power has been so diluted, there was never a chance for it."

"What does any of this have to do with us? Or Rin. She's not power-hungry."

"And Matron was, I suppose? Nah, it has a hell of a lot to do with us. The last war fucking was us. We just concentrated the power more. You, me, Rinoa, Ellone, and mystery sorceress number 3 are probably the most powerful five people in this world. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but soon enough, we'll come together and explode again. Well all this, nabbing Rinoa, and getting you here, it's all part of a plan to make sure that doesn't happen."

"What are you going to do, Seifer, shoot us all into space? Start a gigantic war with Esthar to capture the president's daughter?"

"I honestly don't know."

"That's not good enough!" Squall struggled against the rope. "Why the hell do you get to decide what's best for us or not? You're the one who lost control for Ultimecia."

"You lost control, too!" He spat at his captive's feet. "Just because it happened to work in the right direction doesn't change the fact that you altered the way you were. For her. Rinoa. Love's magic, man, but even I never really thought you were that fucking stupid."

Squall sank back and leaned against the wall. "This is a nightmare," he muttered.

"We are sealing her up, just not in space. Or permanently. It's just a special sort of room. We're hoping to get Esthar, and Ellone's, aid and cooperation in this whole mission. Caraway's not a bad man, he's just kinda dense. Like you. Locking up a sorceress just delays the inevitable. Look at Adel. No. We want to free everyone from these ties."


"Don't you want a life of your own for once, Squall? From childhood until now, it's all really been about the sorceresses. The succession of witches."

Eyes fixed on the ceiling. No reply.

"Well think about it. I'll come back tomorrow or something. I thought you might want to see her before she's sealed away for a bit. And this whole situation will be a lot more bearable if you just open up your mind and understand."

The locks clicked back into place, and Squall was left alone with his thoughts and the rain pounding against the building. And the leak.


* * * * * *

"I haven't done anything wrong," she whispered.


Rinoa leaned back onto the bare steel wall behind her. (Why won't any of the guards answer me? Usually Galbadian scum can't shut the hell up.) She cocked her head to the side, thinking about the last one who had opened the cell door a hair and slid in a plate of boring, impossible-to-make-into-a-weapon food.

There had been a look on his face, hadn't there? When the brown eyes dared a peek at the girl locked into one of the strongest security cells in the entire world, an unmistakable something had passed through his face. (Maybe he realized that once Garden gets word of this, all their stupid shit will finally be over. Maybe...)

Her thought trailed off, even, though. She just remembered something important; something that never came to her own mind most days. (He couldn't possibly be scared of me, could he? I don't even have enough power to do anything.) She shook her head, dazed. The sleeping powder still had kept some lingering effect over her in the five or so hours since she'd awoke. It was only then she realized there was something on her arm..

She glanced down. There it was, right underneath the black ribbon she constantly wore in respect to her mother. (It looks like...)

It was similar to the Odine bangle, except stronger and firmer, being made to go over a larger part of the arm. That could be an explanation for her thinking being not quite as sharp as usual, couldn't it?

(What in the world is going on? And why won't anyone tell me?)

Rinoa crumpled into a ball in her plain, cold cell. The shuffling of her skirt against the steel floor was the only sound she could hear. If anyone was nearby, it was masked by thick metallic walls. (I'm alone, I've been weakened, and Squall didn't tell anybody where we were going.)

It wasn't until this thought had passed that she began to cry.

* * * * * *

Ellone's voice drifted through the presidential office. First a light laugh, then she resumed her conversation. "I can't believe that we made such a big impression on everyone. I knew we were on television, but I didn't think they were gonna port it through all the underground lines."

Kiros tossed a look of concern at Laguna. (Seems like this guy is being way too flattering.)

The president, however, was too busy stamping his signature on a bunch of fairly irrelevant motions brought up from the Senate. (Yes to Balamb Friendship Day, Yes to encouraging humane slaughtering of leftover Lunar Cry beasts–wait that makes no sense...) Laguna shifted the last one to the side. He'd ask Kiros about that later.

"...well we can't exactly just hand that technology over to everyone. It's very dangerous, if put into the wrong hands. Oh, no, I didn't think you were going to ask me for that, I was just being cautious. Odine's kinda been rubbing off on me." The girl's eyes twinkled at all the flattery and attention she had been receiving. "You really think I can help you on your project? How? I can't help with anything remotely similar to the junction machine, you know..."

"Hey, Laguna." Kiros' voice was a loud whisper.

(Yes to GF Appreciation Carnival during the second week of summer...)
"Laguna!" He elbowed the president.

"What?" Laguna whispered back. "Elle's on the telly. Seems like that guy's kinda interested, eh?"

"He's asking too many questions. And it's 'phone.' She was on the 'telly' yesterday at the press conference."

"You're only hearing one end of the conversation." He glanced up at his old friend. "It's wonderful you're concerned, but Elle's a big girl now. She doesn't need rescuing all the time, especially with all this sorceress nonsense being over."

"I suppose you're right."

Another bright laugh. "That was presumptuous! A private plane? To Dollet. You need my help that badly?" She blushed, as the answer was along the lines of not needing her specifically, just wanting. "You make me an offer that's nearly impossible to refuse." Suddenly she paused and met Kiros' concerned eyes. "There's room for me to bring a friend, right? I don't really want to go through the long flight and stay in a strange place all by myself. Alright. Well I will be seeing you soon, then, I guess."

The phone was barely in the cradle before the lecture began. "You have no idea what you just agreed to, what if–"

"That's why you're coming with me, Kiros." Ellone smiled. "Better get packing. We're leaving in a few hours, and from what I hear, Dollet's weather is a tad different than in Esthar."

Her happy expression just grew as she made her way back to her small apartment. (I guess I really am starting to make a name for myself in the scientific community. And so fast, too. This is great!) She half-skipped the final steps to her bedroom door. Catching a glance of herself in the full length mirror, her grin nearly reached the face-breaking point. (And if I happen to make other types of impressions, all the better, right?)