Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Final Fantasy series. They belong to Squaresoft.
Let Me Make It Alright
Chapter 46: "One Moment In Time"
By Angry Angel
Time is a strange phenomenon.
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve and too short for those who rejoice. Time creates life, and with time, this life crumples away into the shadows of nothingness. Time tears wounds into the bodies of men, and yet, with time, those wounds will heal again.
In this ever flowing river of time, one step may not seem of much importance. It may take a second, hardly more, hardly less. During one day, a man takes about 4,900 gaits, maybe more, maybe less.
One day counts twenty four hours...
4,900 steps per day...
... And yet, sometimes, one step and one second can make all the difference in the world.
The difference between love and hate.
The difference between life and death.
Whether or not Squall Leonhart was aware of the significance of that one, fearless step that he took in the flaring darkness of his very own Armageddon could or could not be questioned.
Did it matter?
The only thing capable of changing anything for better or for worse was the very act that Squall committed by walking open eyed into the deadly tip of a sword that had been raised to his chest, neither inclining his gaze nor his faith in a moment that had doubtlessly been drawn out of time and out of existence.
Two men - parted by one step, one sword and almost nineteen years of blind ignorance.
And yet, one brunette SeeD commander took that step, daring both his life and his trust into the basic goodness of the man that he cared for. He could have been called foolish, na´ve in his belief perhaps, but as he felt the tip of that man's blade pushing into his skin, he neither faltered nor edged away.
His mind was set.
..::: "I trust you." :::..
And his faith did not forsake him.
Like a knife, slashing through ancient cob webs of peril, were the words that he had spoken bare of any trace of fear or doubt. They were light in the darkness, breaking the spell that evil had held upon Squall's friend with nothing more than the reality of a love long suppressed.
The moment that Squall had raised his voice and set forth his foot, everything else had faded from Seifer's consciousness, including the virulent snarl of the sorceress that had so effortlessly kept him under her control.
His eyes shattered wide at the sight of Squall walking into his sword, and without hesitating but a second, Seifer yanked his arm backwards, withdrawing the fatal threat imposed upon the brunette SeeD that, finally, he remembered he loved so desperately.
He had acted quickly, and he didn't even acknowledge the pain caused by the force of the abrupt motion as his shoulder was almost torn out of its socket; frozen to a statue, he was staring straight ahead into the bottomless darkness, only partly seeing how Squall stood the distance of a breath apart from him.
Squall finally lowered his head and let out a relieved sigh as he noted the reincarnated healthy glow in Seifer's jade green eyes.
"Seifer," the brunette whispered, "You're back."
Indeed relieved to his very core, Squall allowed himself to lean his forehead against the broadness of Seifer's shoulder, trying to keep his body from shaking while his bare hands were clenching at his sides.
He had succeeded. Seifer had withdrawn. He had returned.
He had finally returned, to him.
Only slowly and fighting the spinning carousel that was his mind, the blonde in front of him could admit to himself what had just happened. His sword. The sorceress. He had almost killed the one that he loved and had never wanted to inflict any harm upon. He didn't know why, and he didn't really know what exactly had been happening, all that he remembered was a gentle voice that had spoken to him, a voice that he knew and that had drowned out the evil inside his head.
The brunette's words wouldn't phase into his mind clearly anymore, but he recalled the very essence of them - Love, trust and understanding.
'Hyne, what have I done...?'
Squall had trusted him, and he had almost speared the boy with the length of Hyperion.
Gasping, the blonde let go of his sword, allowing it to drop to the ground heavily and with a sound that could have pierced his eardrums. Abandoning his weapon did not help much in abandoning his knowledge of what had almost happened, though.
"Squall," he croaked hoarsely. "Why... why did you..."
At his collar bone, the brunette drew his lips into a smile.
"I believed in you."
Hissing through his teeth, Seifer grasped the boy by his upper arms, edging their bodies apart almost panically. His gaze roamed Squall's face for a trace of its typical coldness, for something that he couldn't even put his finger on... but it wasn't there. Squall's eyes shone in the blue of a waveless ocean, twinkling as if a handful of stars had dropped into the darkness of those waters and filled them with life.
He was still smiling.
"Are you crazy!?"
Seifer had trouble spitting out the words, his hands shaking Squall's body in an open display of his roughed up emotions.
"I almost killed you!"
The younger man only shrugged softly at that remark, his languid smile almost transforming into a bold smirk.
"No, you didn't."
"What?! How... you don't know that! I could have-"
"No, Seifer," Squall interrupted calmly. "Trust me."
He was still grasping Squall slightly below his shoulders, but he had stopped rocking the lean body back and forth. The lucid green of his eyes was boring into the fathomless blue of Squall's, yet again searching for a sign that that the brunette was only toying with him and his vulnerable mind. Squall's face was sincere though, almost shy and innocent in its ethereal beauty.
Seifer felt his knees go weak.
"I don't understand."
"I know," the younger replied evenly. "It's my fault. I should have told you long ago, not when some manic sorceress possesses your mind. I-"
"Shit, Squall! What's with your arm?!"
Not until then had Seifer grown aware of the sticky wetness in the hollow of his right palm, which had still been curved around Squall's left biceps. After removing it in a flash of a shock, he found what he had already been expecting fearfully.
A gaping flesh wound had been etched deeply into the brunette's left arm, and really, Seifer should have noticed the crimson liquid covering almost half of Squall's sleeve long ago. Surely, he had been preoccupied and lost in his friend's azure gaze, but he scolded himself all the same.
The brunette only heeded his injury with a half-glance, and he would have shrugged yet again hadn't Seifer's hands been firming his muscles in place like a full metal vice.
"Nothing?! You're bleeding!" Seifer yelped in unnecessary hysteria.
Worse than that apprehension, though, was the fact that this wound, though minor it might have been, had obviously been inflicted by the edge of his Hyperion. A curt look at his blood-tainted blade resting on the ground beside his foot only confirmed Seifer's assumption.
"That was me," the blonde muttered with ghastly disbelief. "I hurt you."
"Seifer," his opposite groaned, "It's nothing. You didn't hurt me. It was the sorceress."
"No. No, it was me. I let her take me over, it's my fucking fault, I-"
"Seifer, will you shut up? Calm down. It's just a cut."
Unfortunately, Squall's words could not manage to lessen Seifer's guilt. The blonde had injured Squall on countless occasions throughout their childhood and beyond, but this was nothing like it. He had sworn to himself to protect the brunette, to guard him and his life by all means necessary, and he had downright failed. Even worse than that, he had allowed the witch to assimilate his mind and use his body to harm his friend and love.
What a deadbeat.
"How could I let this happen," he growled hopelessly, shaking his head and clenching his eyelids shut as if to chase away the memories and the disgust towards himself that was coiling his stomach. "I can't believe I did this. I can't believe I let her..."
Suddenly, he was halted in his self-hatred by the feeling of a chilly palm folding against the side of his jaw. Snapping his eyes open in surprise, he glued his stare to Squall's face and the gentle reproach that he could read there. The touch of the brunette's skin was icy, revealing his inner imbalance and stress, but his smile was smouldering warm like an open fire.
"You didn't let her. She's a sorceress, remember? She can take over minds that are in doubt in the matter of a second if she wishes," Squall explained evenly. "And you know what, it was my fault that you were doubtful in the first place. I should have told you how I felt. Not just today, I should have told you long ago. She was messing with my mind earlier, too, I could feel it. But she chose you as her ultimate victim, because she hates me and because she wanted to see me harm the only person I care for. Too bad for her that her plan backfired."
Before Seifer could have started into another tirade of regret and chastisement, Squall cocked his head aside and slanted his face wryly. The gesture in itself was so adorable that Seifer had to crush his mouth close and revert to staring in blissful awe.
"Shh," the younger vocalized the thoughts that were written in the fine lines of his face. "It's not your fault. Don't blame yourself."
"Squall... I never wanted to hurt you," the blonde sighed in defeat.
"I know, Seifer," Squall whispered gently. "I never doubted that. Not even for a second."
The moment could have been magical, perhaps, hadn't it been for the unpleasantly high pitched shriek that then pierced the windless air. Both gunbladers winced at the sound, and they turned their heads to the left of them.
Of course. How could they have forgotten?
Ultimecia, the cause of most of their problems, was still quite alive and present, witnessing the failure of her own spell work and the long awaited reunion of the timid lovers and sandbox rivals.
How abhorrently sweet.
Indeed, though disgusted she had been, watching the two young men had provided for some sort of odd and unknown fascination. The lovebirds had been quite caught up in their own little world of petty feelings and woes, too busy to even acknowledge her ominous presence. She had observed the scene quietly, but with every passing second, her anger had grown. This petulant SeeD had dared to cross her plans yet again, and sorceresses are not easily amused by such open display of rebellion.
Particularly not a sorceress that carried deep aspirations for world and time domination.
She had worked hard for this one, too hard to be allowing two diminutive boys to interfere with her brilliant conspiration. For almost twelve months, she had been trapped in a world that was much similar to the current environment of her choice that was surrounding them. Trapped inside a sword with her guardian, always under the watchful eyes of this snappy little SeeD commander. Sure, messing with his head had provided some form of amusement, but it had been rather mild in nature.
Overall, she had to admit, she hadn't done much more than lure the brunette into horrendous nightmares and steadily sucking up his strength. Every now and then, she had enjoyed to meddle in Squall's relationship to that girl Rinoa, the one that had possessed the powers of the witch Edea at some point, but Squall had been so obsessed with that nasty failure of a certain sorceress knight that Ultimecia's powers had hardly been needed to destroy said relationship. Indeed, she had pushed the brunette to mutter Seifer's name in his sleep and in the company of Rinoa, and she had thoroughly savored the reflection of utter terror in the annoying girl's face, but overall, the experience of "living" with Squall Leonhart had been a rather bland one.
Hence, she had waited, bidding her time and waiting for the perfect day to gather her regained powers and finish what should have been accomplished almost a year ago - The domination of all life on this pitiful planet as well as the eradication of anyone that had ever been admitted into the ranks of SeeD.
Professedly, she had been a little concerned when Seifer Almasy had actually dared to enter the scene of her perfectly set up play. The powers of her SeeD puppet had already withered away to such an extent that Squall had no longer meant any harm to her return, and with LionHeart lost in the training grounds, neither had anybody else. That was, until Seifer had showed up.
Ah, and yes, LionHeart, the vessel. Why ever that sword had shone so blue at Seifer's first appearance was a riddle, even to her. Her foul mood at being faced with Seifer's involvement surely should have influenced the color to take on a rather nocturnal shade of black.
Oh, Ultimeca was quite aware of the sword changing colors synchronous to her emotions. She hadn't actually thought anyone capable of deciphering said phenomenon, though, and there wasn't much she could have done to prevent it in the first place. She had tried to manually alter the indigo tint of LionHeart to mask her presence, yet her attempts had proved futile.
Well, what did it matter.
Everything had worked out rather splendidly.
This was the spot she had chosen for the final act of her play, where SeeD would face sorceress before the last curtain call. And even if she hadn't accomplished to twist the sorceress knight against his precious little SeeD friend once more, her trumps were yet far from spent.
Squall Leonhart was going to die, and the useless form of Seifer Almasy would fade into oblivion right along with him.
Side by side, they would enter death in all that sickening glory that was their trivial little boyhood love.
Na´ve until the end...
How very sweet indeed.
=To be continued!=
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