Notes: Sorry for the long wait in updating this story. For awhile I couldn't write anything at all... MAJOR writer's block. But things are slowly turning back to normal, so you should see this story finished sooner than later. Two people speaking to Squall now. When the woman is speaking it'll be between // here //. And when the guy is speaking it'll look //~like this~//. Hope things don't get too confusing. Warnings: I cannot write fight scenes.

This will become painfully obvious in this chapter.

Some not very pretty imagery in this one as someone goes on a killing spree

Warnings: Just your general weirdness

Slipping Away

Chapter Seven

By Sniffles

"She's locked herself in her room, she won't come out. Laguna, I'm so worried. She's acting so strangely.." Rinoa finished, sighing deeply. It felt as if a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She looked at Laguna, feeling a little guilty. Sure the weight was off her shoulders, but had she now put it on his?

"Hm.." Laguna had listened to her patiently for the last ten minutes, now he felt a little dizzy from it all. "Well, maybe I could talk to her?"

"Oh.. would you?" Rinoa said softly, hope making it hard to breathe as it pressed against her heart and made her dizzy.

"Yeah.. sure. I'll talk to her." Laguna said with a smile, he got to his feet, "When are you returning?"

"Right now. Please, Laguna. Let's go right now." Rinoa said, also getting to her feet. She reached for him.

He took her hands and tugged her into his embrace. She trembled against him. He nodded, unable to say no. He could never say no to this lovely young lady who looked so much like his first love. He patted her back, "I can spare a few moments. We're still looking for Squall, but there's not much I can do for the search anyway. A few minutes won't hurt."

"Thank you so muc.."

Her words were cut short by a loud explosion. She screamed, clutching Laguna tightly as the floor beneath them shuddered and rocked. "What's happening?!" She cried out.

Laguna just held her. He didn't know, so he had no response.

"So... this.. thing took over my body.. and that's why I feel like shit?" Irvine listened patiently to Kiros' explanation. He was a bit skeptical about it all, but the aching in his head, his disorientation and the itching under his skin made him pull heavily towards believing what he'd just been told. It -felt- right, even if it sounded like a load of bull.


"Squall?" Irvine said, looking at Seifer, "Squall, where is he?!"

"... the alien used your body to kidnap him. Or at least, that's our theory at this moment." Kiros commented when Seifer seemed ill-inclined to answer.

"Seifer... you know where he is, don't you?" Irvine said, stepping towards the blonde. He could remember growing up with Seifer, remember how they had all treated Seifer like a big brother. But Seifer was nothing like he had been back then.

"I have a feeling I know who he's with but I don't know where she has him."


"A sorceress.."

"Another one?" Irvine groaned, "Shit..."

Any further comment he might have made was cut off by a loud boom. The ground shook so hard Irvine was thrown to the floor. Kiros and Seifer had better balance, so managed to stay on their feet. Ward however, had no balance, so fell hard onto the bed. When the shaking stopped they all looked at each other, "What was that?" Irvine was the first to speak.

"She's here." Seifer said softly, frowning deeply. //Could she have turned him so quickly? Was he that weak that she has him already??!// He cursed under his breath, that could be the only answer. Why else would she be here so soon? He pushed past Irvine and ran out the door.

"Not again.." Kiros growled, running after the blonde.

Irvine looked at Ward, "Did I miss something?"

Ward sat up. He shrugged, a look on his face that spoke more eloquently than words ever could; Haven't we all. It was all a huge mess, a mess he didn't even care to pretend to understand.

Squall stared at the child like figure before him. He looked at her, the woman, then back at the child. "What is this?" He whispered, voice a bit husky. It hurt to speak, his throat was so dry. His head ached, his heart was pounding so hard he felt like it would burst from his chest.

"A better you." She responded silkily, running her hand into the child's hair.

The child was a smaller version of himself, the eyes large and blue. But as Squall stared into those eyes, he felt strangely sick. He turned his head, looking away and wincing in pain. Every time he moved the sharpest pain stabbed behind his eyes. "His name is Squall."

I'm Squall. Squall shook his head, a soft whimper escaping his lips as he did. "Why?" He whispered.

"All in time. Squall," she crouched down beside the child, "I want you to stay here and watch him. I want you to learn to be just like him. He's your big brother, understand? So you must become like him."

What is.. this? What is she doing? Squall stared at the child, his brain protesting at what he was seeing. How could this be real?

The child nodded, staring at the woman before turning his gaze to Squall, "Yes, m'lady."

Squall shivered at that voice, closing his eyes.


"What happened?"

"I don't know, sir! We were just talking and suddenly there was a loud bang!"

"I think one of the cars in the garage blew up!"

Seifer pushed the panicking students aside and ran down the hall into the garage. The heat hit him first, then the smell. Dammit. He raised his hand to his face, covering his mouth and nose. He looked around, trying to find the source of the smoke that was clouding his vision. He stumbled forward, not noticing the burning car until he nearly walked into it. He jerked back, staring at it, his eyes squinting to try and block out the stinging smoke. This was no normal explosion. Cars just didn't burst into flame, and when they did it didn't shake an entire complex like Balamb Garden.

Things like that didn't happen.

This must be a warning. Or a clue.

He stepped back, then turned and hurried out of the garage. The hall was clear of smoke, he collapsed against the wall, dropping his hand from his mouth and coughing. He rubbed his eyes, grumbling under his breath unhappily.

"So, what was it?"

He looked up, at Kiros. "I'm not sure yet." He grunted, pushing away from the wall and standing straight.

"Meaning you'll figure it out?" Kiros prodded, he was starting to learn how to read Seifer.

"It's one of two things. If it was the first, we'll know when we're attacked. If it was the second, we'll know when we receive the next one."

"You would die if you gave a straight answer, wouldn't you?"

Seifer smirked and shrugged, "Suppose so. Let's get Laguna."

"For what?" Kiros asked suspiciously.

"We're getting out of here. It's too dangerous to stick around. She'll have a harder time tracking us if we keep on the move, and we'll have a better chance of finding Squall if we start moving around."

"I'm coming."

They both turned to stare at the cowboy standing at the entrance to the hall. His shoulders were heaving as he tried to catch his breath. He looked pale, but there was a determined look in his eyes, and a confident tilt to his chin that made Kiros nod. "All right."

"Okay, I'll go." Laguna nodded, "But we take Rinoa home, that's the first place we go."

Seifer rolled his eyes, "That's hardly the safest place -to- go."

"I promised Rinoa I'd talk to her mother, I don't break my promises." Laguna said sternly, giving Seifer a; I am older than you young man, you will do as I say, look.

Seifer shrugged, turning his back to Laguna and reaching into his pocket to fumble for a cigarette, "What the hell... like I care if you get your sorry ass killed."

"Where is Rinoa?" Kiros asked, ignoring Seifer.

"I had her wait in my room, I thought it'd be safest."

"Let's get her, and head out then." Kiros looked to Irvine, "Do you need to rest more before we leave?"

"No. I'm fine."

"Mother... Laguna is here, to see you." Rinoa knocked softly on her mother's door, trying to knob.

The door was locked. She looked at Laguna, "She might not answer," she warned him in a whisper, "sometimes she won't come out of her room for days."

Laguna smiled, "Julia?" he called out, moving towards the door, "Julia, it's me. Laguna."

The door cracked open. Laguna held his breath as Julia's face appeared, "Okay... Come in."

Laguna stepped towards the door, she opened it just enough so that he could enter, then slammed the door in Rinoa's face. Rinoa stood in the hall, an incredulous look on her face.

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