The story is original. The characters portrayed are not. They are the property of Square-enix

Tape begins

So, you're the advocate, huh? Take a seat. Don't worry, I won't kill you. I'm properly restrained. See?

I see you've started the recorder already. Good. So, for the sake of protocol, so we know who's who and what's what….

Current date is August 31, time is 10:45 am. Currently speaking is Commander Squall Leonhart. SeeD rank A, designation Commander, ID number 41269. Current age at the time of this recording is forty-seven.

Yes. I'm aware I still look twenty-five. It's a sorceress-knight thing. More on that later.

Present at this interview are Advocate-General Saren, with Headmaster Quistis Trepe and acting Commander Nida observing. The purpose of this interview is to record my recollection of the events that took place at 1400 hours on August 25th for reasons of clarity. For .…closure. It is not to enter in a plea for my defense, I cannot stress that enough. I know what I did, whether you believe it or not.

So, what actually happened that day? Well, the short version of the story is, we deployed out to the Centra Crater to deal with a rather nasty situation between Esthar and Galbadia. We were acting on Esthar's behalf per a long-standing agreement we had with them, secured by their previous President, Laguna Loire. I was commanding the operation, while Rinoa and our daughters were in charge of the infirmary and taking care of the casualties. They were in a secure location, well away from the fighting. They should have been safe. I should have been able to keep them safe, hold the line and keep them from being overrun.

I failed.

The infirmary was attacked. My wife and my daughters were killed. And I went insane.

And no. I'm not entering an insanity plea. "Not guilty by reason of insanity" is a cop out. Yes, I lost my mind. NO, I don't want exoneration because of it. I just want to enter this into record and have my sentence carried out. That's all.

Could I have a glass of water please? Thank you. Are my…sons okay? I didn't hurt them too badly, did I? Good.

I'm actually proud of them. Everyone else ran. But it still took the both of them to subdue me. I'm glad they're going to be okay.

So, why did I go insane? That's a good question. In all of the chronicles, all of the recorded histories and all of the studies done later on about sorceresses, by Odine and others, they all agree that a sorceress without a knight is unstable. Dangerous. Ultimecia and Adel are two compelling arguments supporting that. Neither had a knight. Further extrapolation can lead one to conclude that a sorceress with a knight, if she's bonded completely with him or her, will either die or go insane if her knight dies or is killed.

But very few studies were ever done, and very little was recorded about the true nature of that bond. In the oldest histories, the knight was simply the bodyguard or armsman to his sorceress. His entire function was to protect her from harm, and to die in her service was simply part of his job. The sorceress did not fall in love with her knight, though, as a function of the bond, he may fall in love with her and therefore be more willing to give his life for her. But it was the love of servant to master.

Because of this inequality of rank and station, they did not marry. So the true nature of that bond went unexplored for millennia.

Time passed. Things changed. A sorceress and a knight of equal rank and strength did marry. Their names are lost to time now, but one thing is telling about their story: when the knight was killed, his wife, the sorceress, died immediately. More recently, when Cid Kramer died of a heart attack a few years ago, Edea died within minutes of his passing. I think it surprised her that their bond was still so strong despite what happened with Ultimecia. Anyway, that led Rinoa and I to believe that something similar would happen if I should be killed.

We took what precautions we could, with me going as far as to bring Rinoa with me whenever I went on a mission. It was in an effort to make sure that wouldn't happen, or if it did, she would at least be with me and would be able to die with me. When we had kids of course, that had to change but my rank was sufficient by then that I rarely had to go out on assignment any more.

But in all of this study, speculation, and supposition of what would happen to a sorceress, to Rinoa, should her knight die; no one gave any thought to what would happen to the knight if his sorceress were killed.

The bond between sorceress and knight, at least the way it was with Rinoa and I, is….was…. a soul-deep sharing of our innermost selves. We shared thoughts, emotions, even tactile sensations. At its deepest level, we were one. A single entity in two bodies.

Creeps you out a little, does it? We were still ourselves. Still individuals. We both had strong enough personalities that neither could overwhelm the other, so there was a balance in power between the two of us. It made us very effective as a team, and when we fought, we really were quite devastating. We complemented each other. I was her strength, and she was my heart.

I'm sorry. I need a tissue. My wife of nearly thirty years is dead. Of course I'm going to fucking weep for her. Give me a minute.

Imagine if you will, if you can, having half of your soul, and all of your heart ripped away in an instant. I tried, Gods I tried to get there in time but I was too late, even as I heard Rinoa's final scream as she died, I was still trying desperately to reach her. She died protecting our daughters, or trying to….I heard her…tell me good bye. Then I…felt her die. I thought my own heart would stop as well. And…. I don't know what happened after that. Everything went dark. And there was nothing, nothing but pain and rage.

I came to myself with my sons pinning me down in the center of a scene of absolute carnage. I've been told that I appeared to be in such a state that I couldn't tell friend from foe. Everyone within reach of my gunblade died. All I remember is emptiness and pain.

Emptiness where she used to be. Pain like an open wound; a severed appendage. Darkness where she was my light.

We all worried that Rinoa would go mad if I was killed. If she didn't simply die, like Edea did. Nobody considered that the same concern might hold true for me as well.

So, yes. I went insane. And no. I don't want to plead out for it. I was interviewed for hours by three different psychiatrists, and they'll all tell you that I am most assuredly in my right mind now.

I just wanted to get this entered into record and say to all of the families of the soldiers, infirmary workers and SeeDs that I killed, that I'm sorry. I'm not making any excuses, but I am sorry.

And yes. I am adamant. No plea, no trial or tribunal. I'm not refuting the facts, and I am most definitely NOT trying to preserve my life. I want to be executed for this. And yes, I want a firing squad.

Why? Because that's the way I want to go out, that's why. I want to die like a warrior. And yes, I did ask my best friend and brother, Irvine, if he'd do the job. I told him I wanted two shots. Head, and heart. I know he'll do it for me. And I know he won't miss.

All that I ask is that when it's done please bury me next to my wife and daughters. I didn't get to say good-bye to them, but at least I can rest next to them.

Don't look at me like that Quistis, and spare me your pity. You can't possibly have a fucking clue what I'm feeling right now. It won't get better. Time won't heal this. My entire life is shattered, do you understand? I'm done. Just do what I ask and fucking kill me already. Finish the job. Don't you dare make me beg for this.

I'm tired. And it hurts to breathe.

Tape ends.

Author's note: This story has literally been rattling around in my brain for MONTHS. I just kept putting off writing it for various reasons, mostly because I had several other story and art projects in progress already. So I stuck it on the back burner intending to come back to it when things settled down a bit and I finished one of my stories or something like that. The Muse had other ideas.

anyway, I've always wanted to do a one-shot from Squall's POV, in the first person. I HAD done a story like it in the first person before but never posted it because quite frankly, I didn't care for the way it turned out (it's on my website though). And THIS idea sprang from the simple question: What would happen to Squall, to the Knight, if he failed to protect his sorceress, his WIFE? What would the result be?

So, I approached this story from the idea that Squall is being interviewed about the events that occurred and providing his recollection of them, and this is a recorded tape of that interview.