Chapter 10 - Breathe

By The Wandering Englishman

He didn't want to be here. Squeezing his eyes tightly, he brought his knees to his chest, trying to make himself, and the world disappear. He couldn't do this. It was too much for him. He yelped as the bomb exploded behind him, sending rocks falling around him.

"...COMMANDER!" The deafening scream in his ear sending shivers down his spine. From the plug in his ear he could hear the sickening thud of something heavy and wet hitting the dirt as clear as he could hear the explosion.

The sky ran red.

Squall crawled further into his hole, wishing for his nightmare to be over. Hiding in the shadows was all he could do to hide the shear terror covering his face from the rest of the world. Holding his hands over his ears, he tried to block out the sounds, the smells...

...The screaming.

And then there was silence.

The brunette waited a moment, not wanting to believe his senses.

"Come, Squall." The voice was cold. Lifeless. Was this how he had sounded to everyone else two years ago? He opened his eyes and looked up. Shadows.

"She is waiting for you, Squall."

"Who?" He asked, surprised at how small and weak his voice was.


As he stood, the wind picked up, wafting the smell of fresh death over the already pale commander. It was too much for him; he was going to...

"Hyne, Squall..." Seifer stood up, holding his arms up away from the dark stain on his green shirt. The blonde never knew that the sleeping could still be sick. Looking down at the dark haired boy, Seifer could see that he was shaking violently, a cold sweat covering his brow in a pale sheen.

He watched as the pretty brunettes face twisted further into horror and pain before he dared to reach out a hand, shaking him lightly to wake him up. Cold grey eyes snapped open, looking around without seeing.

"Squall, wake up!" He shouted, trying to hide the panic in his own voice. The shorter man blinked a couple of times before finally recognising his companion. He instantly threw his arms around the broad shoulders, pressing his head into the older boys chest as if looking for shelter.

"It's okay Squall, you're safe now." Seifer cooed as he stroked the younger mans hair in an attempt to calm him.

"Where...?" Squall asked in a whisper, barely audible to Seifer.

"You're in your room, Squall. It's just me and you..."

Just you and me...

Squall snapped his head up, looking around the room.


She's waiting for you, Squall.

The Brunette pulled away from Seifer, clamping his hands over his ears and humming his favourite song, leaving his stunned companion watching him in confusion.

Come Squall...

"Squall? Come on..." Seifer stood, trying to still the young man.

"Shut up! Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!" Squall shouted suddenly before looking at the door.

"Oh, no you don't." The blonde called, but the shorter man was to fast for him; running from the room in just his tracksuit pants, hanging almost revealingly low, and his hands still flush against his ears.

As Seifer finally reached the door, he watched the retreating figure run barefoot down the hallway. He could certainly run fast when he wanted to.

Laguna wiped the green from his shirt and face, looking at the latest of his kills. Patting his gun, he put it back on his shoulder and continued walking towards the secret area he'd been told about.

Pushing through the bushes, Laguna's army-trained hearing noted a strange sound; almost masked by the nearby waterfall. When he approached, the greying man almost collapsed with the sight: Squall sitting under the cascading water, rocking back and forward, his hair plastered to his face in thick black clumps.

And to top it off, he was crying.

Dropping his gun, the president stepped into the river un-noticed by Squall. Walking around to sit beside the SeeD, he wrapped his arms around him, hugging the boy tightly. It wasn't until the brunette opened his eyes that the president realised they had been closed.

"Mr President..." Squall said weakly, looking at the older man blankly.

"Laguna, please." He shot the handsome boy a smile, but it fell when Squall failed to respond.

"Why are you here, Squall? You getting hypothermia isn't going to make your wound heal any quicker."

"It's silent here." The SeeD replied, matter-of-factly. "No voices. Can't hear them."

"Voices? Whose voices?"

Squalls eyes widened before he shook his head violently; his eyes squeezing tight enough together that the young man was seeing white.

"No! No! No more! No more voices..."

'Squall...what's going on with you?' Laguna asked, grabbing Squall's shoulders to still the now frantic youth. The president's grasp slipped when the SeeD stood up, Squall's demeanour completely different from a few moments ago.

Looking down, the scarred youth smiled lightly.

" you realise you're sitting under a waterfall?"

"You were too until a moment ago." The greying man smirked, pointing to the now heavy cotton pants slipping slowly down the boys' legs. Going bright red, the gunblader reached down and pulled the sodden pants back up.

"Squall...are you alright?"

"Of course I am." The SeeD gave the drenched man a confused look before continuing. "Why wouldn't I be?" He smiled and stepped out of the river in search for new clothes and a warm shower, leaving the older man to watch as the boy of his dreams left the training center.

The man fell on the floor with force, the tattooed blonde grinning as he closed the door to the office.

"Found this guy skulking around the dorms. Had this on him." Zell reported, putting the pearl-handled switchblade on the Commander's desk.

Quistis looked up from her paperwork. Removing her glasses and putting down her pen, she looked at the dishevelled figure before her.

"Who are you?" She asked as she moved around her desk and knelt down beside the stranger.

"There's no use asking him, Quissy, he ain't gonna talk."

The elegant woman silenced the young man with a sharp glare before looking back down at the dark-haired man. Lifting his head to look at his face, her stern look instantly fell when she saw his violet eyes. She had seen that look before; the glassy pained look of a SeeD who had seen too much action, too much pain and death.

He was SeeD.

But no SeeD she recognised.

"Tell me your name, SeeD." She ordered, gripping the stubbled chin tighter.

"Quisty, he can't."

Looking up at Zell again, she glared, dropping the intruder's chin.

"What are you talking about, Zell?"

"He cut out his tongue...with the knife. Doctor Kadowaki did the blood test on it. Squall's and his blood were on it."

She looked back down at the kneeling man, cocking her head to the side before lowering her head.

"Put him in a room and put two guards on it."

Quistis stood, returning to her desk and putting her glasses back on. As Zell stepped forward to grab the scruffy man, a loud crunch sounded in the room, causing both blondes to look at the dark-haired man.

He looked at Quistis and smiled lightly as he pulled a piece of paper from his pocket, placing it on the desk. As she watched, the violet in his eyes changed to a clear hazel colour before they went glassy.

Quistis screamed for an Esuna as she stood up, trying to catch the stranger. Green sparks flew around him as the spell hit, but the fading smile was proof enough that the poison had taken effect.

"Zell...Take him to Kadowaki and find out what we're dealing with."

The tattooed youth saluted and picked up the limp soldier, dragging him from the room. Sitting once again, she sighed, opening the note. As she read it, her face continued to drop.

Closing the note, she closed her eyes; a discreet tear falling down her face.

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