Chapter 21 - The Ties That Bind

By The Wandering Englishman

"Master!" The frantic voice called out as she rushed to the teen's side. Kaien smirked, opening his eyes and looking back at the monster that had knocked him off his feet.

"Sorry, Lawson...must have gotten distracted." Standing up and picking up his sword, the dark-haired boy tried to regain his balance, only managing to fall backwards into the waiting servant's arms.

Lowering her master to the ground, the green-eyed woman took a position between her and the wounded roaring creature. She grinned, pulling from the holsters on her back two colts, aiming them both at the monsters head.

As the world spun around him, Kaien winced as two shots rang out from above. With a pained squeal and a sudden thud, the brunette knew that the creature was dead and he could finally relax.

Lawson looked down at Kaien as the pretty boy's eyes rolled back into his head. Since she was first hired by the youth, she knew that he hid something. It kept him awake at nights, and his mind full of constant nightmares. A dark secret from his past that he'd only hinted on that was keeping him on edge and paranoid, afraid that if someone knew...

Such things shouldn't worry someone so young. He couldn't have been more than 16, though his eyes betrayed a maturity that not even she could hope to see.

Picking the sleeping boy up, Lawson looked back toward the palace, watching as the sun started to rise above the cliffs. She knew for certain Kaien would be awake by 10.

He always woke up screaming.

"Where is Commander Carson?" Drew shook the bloodied SeeD, glaring intently at him. The yellow eyes of the SeeD stared back at him in fear before pointing towards the Quad. Dropping the man, he strode off towards the entrance, killing anything that got in his way.


"Seifer, why are you doing this?" The short blonde asked as the scarred man above her forced her to her knees. Seifer smirked, pulling his gunblade from his previous victim who was lying face down in a pool of his own blood.

"He wants revenge, dear Commander." The blonde mocked, stroking his fingers through her short hair. He smiled at her, bending down to kiss her forehead before he stepped back, looking at the woman as she sobbed.

"He who?" She managed, wiping the moisture from her eyes, looking frantically for an escape she knew she wouldn't get.

"Your Queen...your rightful leader." Seifer beamed, lifting the tip of his blade to her delicate neck.

"He's dead, Seifer. Remember?" She spat; suddenly grasping who it was the tall blonde was talking about.

"My dear Quistis." The scarred blonde smirked. "He is alive and free. He comes even as we speak, but so much more than the Squall that you thought that boy killed so long ago."

Quistis swallowed.

"She's free."

"Thanks to Odine. That fool was always working towards this moment."

"But why?" she asked, still trying to grasp the fact that Squall was still alive. She jumped when Seifer flew in close, his mouth millimetres from her ear.

"Because, little Quissy, you and your little friends stole her life...she just wants to take it back. And what better way then through the man who orchestrated it all, hmm?" The deep bass chuckle filled her ears as the gunblade slipped closer to her jugular.

"And she's ordered your death, and the death of those who helped. Starting with you."

As the blade pulled back from her neck, Quistis closed her eyes, tears falling from the corners as she realised that she would never see her husband again. The Sorceress' Knight was playing at her executioner, and she would be the executed.

The blade lifted.

Metal sliced through the air.

Drew screamed, the red blade slicing effortlessly through his wife.

Fresh blood coated the floor and the assassin as he pulled the trigger, exploding the petite form of the SeeD woman.

In an instant, Andrew Carson's world came crumbling down in a shower of red.

"Uncle Kiros, I'm 10 years old." The young brunette pleaded with his godfather, pulling on the dark man's arm. "I wanna go!"

The older man lowered his head, shaking it softly.

"You can't."

"Why not?" The impetuous boy asked, jumping from the grey couch. "Dad was!"

"That's different, Ien, and you know it."


Kiros closed his eyes, swallowing hard as he formulated the answer in his head.

"He was forced to. So was your grandfather for that matter."

"Pa'Guna was SeeD?" The small boy asked, his blue eyes lighting up with curiosity. Kiros chuckled lightly, the painful memories of his former love pulling at his mind. Remembering the look on his face when he was murdered right in front of him...

"No, no Ien...he was in the Army with me and your Uncle Ward. But he was taken by force and made to join." The large brown eyes glared at the 10-year-olds baby blue ones.

"You're just a big meanie!" The boy shouted, throwing his hands down to his waist, charring the floor beneath him. Both looked suddenly scared.

"It's only been two days..." The president shouted, reaching for the drawer in the table beside him. Opening it, he pulled out the syringe filled with the translucent blue liquid, beaconing the child to him.

Ien shook his head, backing away from the needle.

"Ien, need this."

"If I was SeeD, I wouldn't need it anymore. They'd teach me to control it."

Damn this child. Kiros scowled, knowing full well that he had inherited his family's stubbornness, and their intelligence.

"But you're not SeeD yet." Kiros smiled at him, knowing the decision he just had to make. Ien was right: SeeD could teach him control. And he knew that Laguna would turn in his grave if he knew he was about to let his only grandson go into a school whose sole purpose was to train for a war that his son had started 8 years ago.

Holding his arm out, Ien closed his eyes. He hated the sight of needles, ever since he had to take his first one just after his fourth birthday. He whimpered when he felt the sharp pain in his arm before the soothing cool flooded his body.

"There, all done." The lanky man said, placing a healing strip on the young child's arm.

"Sowwy Uncle Kiros. I didn't mean to..." Ien started shaking, sobs wracking his small body. Sighing, The dark man pulled his best friends grandson to him, holding him as the tears flowed freely.

"It's okay, Ien. I know you didn't. Sometimes it's hard to control things you don't understand." He patted the boy's hair, trying to calm him down.

"First thing tomorrow, I'll talk to Sub-Commander Irvine at Esthar Garden." Kiros said, putting the boy back on the couch. "But we'll have to change your name. It's best they don't know who you really are."

"Why?" He asked, wiping his eyes and nose with the back of his jumper.

"Because people can be afraid of the past."

"And me?"

Kiros nodded.

"Especially you."

Squall pulled on his pants, slipping from the large velvet bed. The black haired woman shifted lightly, but made no signs of waking up. Squall smiled, despite himself, and opened the door to the chamber, walking bare-chested into the hallway.

"Leonhart?" The voice asked, startling the young man. Looking down at the chair, he smiled at the blonde.

"Hello, my knight."

Seifer stood, but instantly dropped to his knees, kissing Squall's outstretched hand.

"My Lady."

"Seifer, stand up."

Looking up, Squall could see the confused look on his face. Even in this much of a hurry, the thought of having so much power over his former rival aroused him.

"Squall?" He asked, still on his knees.

"Yeah, it's me. I need you to show me where Laguna is. Can you do that for me?"

"I..." He started, looking down. "He's this way." Standing, he moved off, not waiting to see if Squall was following.

Falling into step behind Seifer, the brunette looked around, taking in his surroundings. At least he'd know how to get back to the sorceress to kill her later.

He needed to make sure Laguna was safe first.

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