Disclaimer: The Characters belong to Square Soft. This is not for Profit.

Thank you all so much for the great reviews. I almost felt guilty switching the voice to Squall, who is much harder to write. ::Bows to XIneko and the rest of you who write Squall so well::


Chapter Five

By Race Ulfson

When he pulled me back, I was furious.

I had finally succeeded in killing myself, and the Pheonix grabbed me and brought me back to a world of hurt. Cure after Cure whispered over me and the old sensation of flesh mending, organs healing, small bones knitting worked through my awareness.

I thought we must be in battle, they must need me up. It must be bad, I thought, and I tried to remember what we were fighting... but I couldn't.

I reached for Shiva, but she was unjunctioned. I was alone.

Not completely alone, because the bastard who saved my life cast Esuana, instantly removing all traces of alcohol and other lovely pain numbing drugs from my system. I was alone, sober, and in great pain.

I wasn't afraid. When you want to die, there's not much you're afraid of.

Besides, I'd figured out who he was.

I woke up in the Infirmary. Or maybe the Hospital. I tried to get a status report at first. I thought it was still during the Ultimecia Thing, that we were in combat. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't up. Curagas aren't that great on broken bones, but you can move. I've done it before. You ignor the pain now, and push ahead to the goal. That's all you can do, keep focused on the goal.

Soon, they tell you, soon, the goal will be accomplished and this will be over.

They lie a lot.

The Doctor had a genial, reassuring bedside manner. To me that meant he either was keeping something from me, or he didn't have a clue. The result being, his status reports sucked.

I found out I was in Galbadia and that ended all my communications with Dr. Howarewedoing. I was still mixed up about what time it was - which when so to speak - and I didn't want to take any chances that would give away military secrets or get Laguna Loire institutionalized.

They were stingy with the painkillers - didn't want me to get addicted, the Nurse explained. I almost laughed. If she and the Doctor had any idea how much I already had to take just to get through a 10 hour working day, she would have run me an IV straight to the Pharmacey.

Strike that.

It's irrelevant.

As if I don't get enough of that from Zell. Little hints about starting early. Him always grabbing my coffee cup and offering to get me a refill so he can sniff the mug and see if I've slipped anything extra in there.

And the friendly talk from my father about how my drinking hobby has passed into a habit and is well on its way to a problem.

I have discipline. I never drink on duty. I don't drink socially. I only drink when I'm alone.

I hate being alone.

They took the Guardian Forces away from us. There was much shocked public outcry about the effects GF's had on us. Personal opinion, the world couldn't handle teenagers who could summon gods. The GF's are all supposed to be safely kept under lock and key at the various Gardens.

But I kept Shiva.

The whole memory loss thing was blown way out of proportion, anyway. How much of your childhood do you remember? I remember when mine ended well enough. I can hardly wait to forget that.

With Shiva, soon I'll have passed all of that and it will be gone, forgotten, painlessly.

Keep focused on the goal.

To keep my mind off the indignities of Hospital life, I searched for Shiva. Found her, finally, called her back and rejunctioned. She was angry with me, because I had cast her out just before I ...

The Guardians take damage when we do, you know. I didn't want to ...


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