Chapter 25 - One Step Forward...

By The Wandering Englishman

"You're late, Squall." The sickly sweet voice of the sorceress cooed across the elaborate dining table as the SeeD entered the hall. He looked at the table, blinking to adjust to the dim candle-lit table.

"Come, sit." She smiled, her face almost glowing in the flickering light as the chair closest to him slid out to greet him. "Dinner will be ready shortly."

As he sat tentatively, Squall gazed over the grinning woman.

"What are you planning, Sorceress?"

She looked up, smirking.

"Squall, what makes you think I'm planning anything?" She asked, picking up a bottle of wine from the table. "Drink?"

Squall merely nodded, the concentration on his face fading as the woman poured the wine into his glass. As she twisted the bottle, all the blood drained from the young man's face.

The leather-clad man stood up, backing away from the glass, eyes focused and wide on the bottle.

"What's wrong, Squall?" The Sorceress asked, mockingly licking her lips.


"A '63 Merlot. You surprise me, I never pegged you as a wine connoisseur..."

Squall swallowed dryly, backing up against the wall, shaking his head. Suddenly bored with the SeeD, the sorceress stood and turned to the shrouded door behind her.

"Bring him when he wakes."


"Rinoa, why are you doing this?" Squall panted as the ice spear was removed from his stomach, and the stop spell was cast on the wound. The dark-haired woman looked over the SeeD, admiring the myriad wounds and scars she had already given her former lover.

"Because I want to." She answered simply, drawing her finger through the blood pooling at one of the earlier wounds, eliciting a pained whimper from the naked man on the table below her.

"What happened to you, Rin? You were fine...Odine said you were..." The slap was hard, but not unexpected.

"Odine is a fool. He always was..." The mock-angel boomed, frozen electricity cracking around them both. Squall closed his eyes as the charged air stung at his eyes, the pressure in his head growing.

And then there was nothing. No light, no pressure and no pain. For a moment, the SeeD thought he was dreaming; or perhaps the sorceress was playing games with him, as she had been for the last three weeks.

But when he opened his eyes, all he saw was the energy bars of his cell and the empty world around him.

"About time you woke up." An unfamiliar male voice said, his black boots crunching in the dirt around the cell. Squall coked his head, sitting up slowly. As he looked at the man, he raised an eyebrow. He couldn't have been any more than 18, though the visible scars on his pale flesh indicated he could well be much younger.

"What's the last thing you remember?" He asked, causing the SeeD to look up into the bright purple eyes of the youth.

"Rinoa...pressing into..." He raised a hand to the scar on his chest. When had that healed?

"Ahh...I didn't think it'd cause such a large gap in your memory. But then, there wasn't much study into that kind of transfer..."

Squall stood up, careful not to lean on the glowing bars.

"Transfer?" He asked, having a better look at his surroundings. "Where's Rinoa?"

"Ahh...I wasn't sure if you'd remember that either."

"Remember what? What in Hades is going on?"

"Rinoa's dead."

Squall stood there silently for a moment.

"You killed her three days ago. You held her with the only spell you could cast without your hands..."

"...Stop..." he mumbled, careful not to interrupt the young man.

"While she was held, you managed to roll off the table and grab your gunblade. You gave her a chance to repent, but when she wouldn't you took off her head." The youth said coldly.

"I don't remember..."

"Well, that was the other thing. I would have stopped it, but I got my days wrong. "

Squall's brow's knitted together in confusion, not entirely understanding what the other man was saying.

"Hmm...doesn't surprise me. I wouldn't know what's going on either, if I were you..." He smiled, stepping in closer to the cage, the light from the bars giving his face a more ethereal look.

"You know when a sorceress dies, their power has to go into another body...unconsciousness follows and so forth..."

"Every SeeD knows that."

"Well, what every SeeD doesn't know is that when there's no woman around, they will infest a male. Odine did a study about it around four years ago, just after..." he smirked, lowering his eyes. " don't need to know about that."

"So what are you saying?"

The youth paused a moment before grinning.

"Congratulations, Squall. You're the first male Sorceress."

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