Notes: Sweet, I love the reviews! *whimpers* I'm so glad you all like it! Well, I have a great idea for the ending, god you guys are gonna be so damn surprised! But don't worry, the ending's not for a long time! Well, I can't promise you where it's going to end but it's all good. Anyway, drop me some lines and my fingers will be more motivated to type. *laughs* Just kidding but I thrive on people's opinions.*seriously disappointed in the lack of reviews* *laughs nervously*

Terminal Recovery

Chapter Eleven - Tragedy

By Tori Singer

I'm so hungry. But, I'm lacking the energy to move right now. I know it's late, but my stomach's growling like crazy! I try to ignore it, snuggling into the warmth of the body next to me. I listen to Squall's breathing, it's soft and slow, he must be asleep. I bet he's tired, well he better be, after the busy night we had. I blush softly, pulling the blanket over my bare shoulders.

I like sleeping this close to Squall, it's relaxing and I don't feel quite so scared in this house. I sigh, my stomach rumbling again. I glance over at the wall clock. It's after three in the morning. Well, I suppose it couldn't hurt to go make a sandwich. I ease my way to the edge of the bed as not to disturb my best friend.

I yawn and scratch my head, sleepily walking toward the door. I leave Squall's room, making my way down the stairs. I can hear some coyotes howling somewhere outside. The shadows played on the wall, giving everything a serene yet mysterious look. I shiver a bit when I enter the kitchen, already unnerved at being alone in the dark. I open the refrigerator, feeling better when the bright light shown out the door. I blink, the light hurting my eyes.

I reach in, fumbling around with my blurred vision. I find the ham and cheese, placing them on the table. I take out two pieces of bread from the counter before getting a knife out of the drawer. Soon, I had a nice sandwich of ham, cheese, lettuce and mayonaise. It tasted delicious to my starving mouth. I put the ham and everything back into the refrigerator, turning back to the table. The piece of sandwich in my mouth lodges in my throat.

"Zell, what are you doing up?" I cough, forcing the sandwich down. I just look at Joey, who's floating above the table. I lean against the counter, wanting to ask him some questions while he was here.

"Joey, who is Mikey?" I ask, wanting to clear this up once and for all. He smiles sadly at me and shakes his head.

"He was the bestest friend I ever had. He was always there for me." I frown, listening to him speak. He crosses his legs under him indian style, grinning at me.

"We used to play games all the time when I was lonely. I met him when my mother was still alive." My eyebrows shot up.

"What happened to your mom?" I ask, taking a bite of my sandwich. He sniffs, frowning at me.

"Well, she was really sick. I was ten at the time. We lived here then, just the two of us. There wasn't many kids in this small town. Well, when I was little, there was one little girl. She was really nice. Her name was Ellone. I was four or so I think. I don't remember her very well, but she wasn't here very long."

I feel a shiver in my body, the story of this town was so intertwined it wasn't even funny. The thought that it was actually Squall's birthplace made it seem even more surreal. I let him talk, not wanting to scare him. Ha, where did that thought come from? How ironic...

"I was really lonely, no one was there to talk to. Mom was in bed a lot, she was dying." I'm surprised at the ease in his tone. Well, I guess he's had a lot of time to get over it.

"But, I met Mikey one day! He was so nice! He played with me a lot. I wasn't so lonely anymore. Then, my mom died and no one was there to take care of me..." I felt a twinge of pity in my heart, I knew how that felt when my parents died and I was sent to the orphanage.

"My brother was in foster care at the time. They said that my mom couldn't take care of both of us so they had taken him away....Oh, I'm so sorry Zell, but I have to go." My body tenses at his words.

"How come?" I ask, but he wasn't looking at me. He sighed and smiled at me.

"It was fun talking to you, Zell. But, Mikey is coming, I have to go, you should go too, and fast." He told me before disappearing. I stare at the empty space where he'd been. I felt the hairs on my body stand on end. I suddenly felt frightened. I could feel an oppressed aura in the room. I edged toward the doorway, wanting so badly to get back upstairs into the warmth of my bed.

I took off running when I heard a growl behind me. All thought flew out the window as fear kicked in. I flew through the living room, hearing a clicking noise behind me. I stopped when I got to the stairs. I looked behind me. I wish I wouldn't have. There, standing in the kitchen, was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. It was a teddy bear, but it had claws and long, dripping teeth. I was rooted to the spot, unable to do anything as it lumbered toward me.

"Squall...?" I whisper, my voice not working properly. Goosebumps broke out on my skin, causing me to shudder in fear as the 'bear' growled at me. It entered the living room, not even ten feet from me. I tried to move my legs, but I was frozen. I've faced so many monsters before, but this......this was a demon. I took a step backwards, bumping into the stairrail. I never took my eyes off the thing as I inched my way around the railing and stepped onto the first stair.

"Squall." I whisper louder, my heart beating rapidly. Why the hell did I come down here? Man, I should've known better.... My heart stops when I hear footsteps on the stairs above me. I didn't even look.

"Squall go back upstairs." I state, my eyes shimmering in fear. This 'demon' was the most frightening thing I'd ever witnessed.

"What?" I hear my friend ask, walking down toward me. Another howl lets loose in the living room and I dart up the stairs. I grab Squall's shoulder on the way up.

"Just run!" I yell, pulling him along with me as I reach the top of the stairs. I could hear screaming downstairs, along with heavy footsteps. Would that thing follow us up? I didn't know and I panted in fear, running to Squall's bedroom. I dragged my friend in with me, who had yet to say anything. I slammed the door and looked at Squall. He looked confused and irritated.

"What's going on?" He asks me when I start pushing the dresser toward the door. I grunt, it's heavier than I thought.

"I'll explain once we block the door. Now help me!" I yell, pushing on the furniture. He finally comes over, helping me shove the large dresser against the door. I heard something lumbering up the stairs. I pushed harder, my heart about to commit suicide. I could hear the heavy steps right outside the door. Finally, we get the dresser lodged against the door just as a loud banging started.

I pant, shakily backing away from the door. Squall looked freaked out, trying to figure out what was happening.

"W-what do we do now?" I ask softly, bumping into the bed. Ferocious growling and scratching sounded on the other side of the door. Squall turns to me before looking at the window.

"Maybe we can escape through there!" He says, running over to it. I watch him try to open the window. He huffed when it wouldn't budge.

"It won't freakin' open!" He hollers, sealing our fate. I grab the nightstand next to the bed. I throw it at the window, screaming when it bounces off harmlessly. What the fuck?!

"Now what!?" I holler, hearing the door cracking. I didn't know what the hell to do, running my hands through my hair furiously. I stopped when a puff of air comes out of my mouth. I breathe again, shaking when my breath comes out as steam. I wrapped my arms around myself, suddenly feeling cold. Squall was doing the same.

"The hell?" I chatter, my body shaking. The temperature of the room dropped significantly. I stared at Squall for an answer, one he couldn't give me. I gasp as I look at the window. Ice started making it's way up the glass, in a twisted design.

"S-Sq-Squall?" I squeak, feeling helpless as I feel my body grow numb. I feel him wrap his arms around me.

"Are we gonna d-die?" I shakily ask, my teeth chattering uncontrollably.

"I dunno." He slurs, his body shaking against mine. We sink to the floor, trying to use our body heat to stay alive. I hear the dresser being pushed back, the door cracking dangerously. I listen to the savage sounds outside the room. I close my eyes, laying my head against Squall's bare chest. I didn't know how cold it was in there, but I could feel my body shutting down from the dangerous temperature drop.

"Squall." I stutter. This was it, we were going to die. He just holds me, understanding. When all seemed lost, I feel a warm feeling in my chest. Just then, a melody sounded throughout the room. I shook fiercly against Squall, listening to the sounds of Elvis flood through the room. I hear a loud, long snarl come from the hallway before all is silent.

'Love me tender, love me true. For my darling I love you, and I always...will...'

The room warmed slowly, but I still shook. The weight of the situation took it's toll.

"J-Joey?" I whisper, listening to the sad melody. Squall places a hand on the back of my head, holding me against his chest. The song slowly faded away, and we were left on the floor in the now warm room.

"What just happened?" I hear Squall whisper above me. I really didn't know, I just don't know anymore. I pull away from him, looking up into his face. I felt so relieved, I really thought that we were gonna...die. I look down at my lap, not knowing if I wanted to move yet or not. Squall decides for me; he stands, still holding me against him.

"Zell, what the hell was that?" He finally asks, pulling away from me. I feel cold when his body wasn't pressed to mine. I thought about what he said before shrugging.

"I really don't know what it was but......I was so scared of it and I don't know why. I mean, we're SeeDs Squall, I'm trained for this kind of shit but yet....there was a hatred in that thing that just threw all my training out the window." I felt a little ashamed, acting so irresponsibly. Squall doesn't say anything, just walks to the now thawed window.

"It looks like it's gone now, though." Squall tells me, staring out the window. I glance at the door, there was no sounds coming from it. I was still very reluctant to open that door.

"Maybe we should wait..." I voice my discomfort. He looks at me.

"Zell, I've decided. I don't care what you say, we are NOT staying in this house another night, you hear me?" I sigh, debating his statement. I finally nod, this was far too dangerous. I didn't want to die and I surely didn't want Squall in this dangerous place any longer.

"We should've left a long time ago." I agree with him, turning toward the door. A cold ball formed in the pit of my stomach. I did not want to open that door. It is gone, right? Squall walks over and starts to move the dresser. I make no move to help.

"Squall, maybe we shouldn't open it yet." I felt very uneasy, but Squall didn't listen.

"Zell, I'm leaving this house, now. And you are coming too. Now help me move this." I reluctantly walk over, shaking a bit when I got close to the door. I couldn't help but feel frightened still. We push the dresser back to it's place against the wall. Squall walks over to the door slowly.

"Squall, please don't." I beg one more time as he grabs the doorknob. He seems to hesitate before turning to me.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not gonna stay holed up in this room like a frightened rabbit." I gulp as he swings open the door. I scream, falling back onto my bum. Squall looks to the doorway in front of him before stepping back. A blue mist hovered outside of the door, not doing anything.

"The hell?" I hear Squall mutter. I get to my feet, getting a bad feeling about it.

"Squall, get back!" I try to beg him, but he was transfixed in the doorway, staring down the blue mist. Suddenly it shrieks, passing through Squall before disappearing. I scream as Squall turns to me, no emotion on his face. His eyes.....his eyes!

"Squall!" I shout, running over to him. He never moves, doesn't even look at me. His eyes....they had no pupils! What the hell happened to him?!

"Squall, say something!" I beg, grabbing the front of his shirt. He still doesn't move, nor does he look at me. It was like....he was soulless.

"Oh my god....oh my god..." I mumble to myself over and over. Squall just stood there, staring off into space with his lifeless eyes.....

I still don't know what the hell to do. I've run it over in my mind over and over but still, I haven't the vaguest idea as to what to do. I rub my eyes, sitting at the kitchen table. Squall was standing against the wall, he still didn't talk or anything. He was very obedient, I would tell him to walk and he would. His eyes were still weird, though. I tried to call the garden, but our phoneline's been disconnected...or cut.

"What the hell.....Squall I wish you were here, you'd know what to do." I look over at him but he just stared soullessly out the window. I sigh, I felt so lonely and helpless. Who would know how to help? I mean, the garden is full of highly intelligent SeeDs, but would any of them know about getting a soul back? If that's even the case. What if....what if Squall stays like this forever.

"No way...." I growl, standing shakily. This was just too much. Tears dripped down my cheeks, reminding me of my helplessness. I couldn't save him, I just stood there. I can't save him!

"I can't save you!" I holler at the lifeless figure at the window. I...don't know how to save you.... I don't know how, I don't know if I can, I don't know who will help me.

"I don't know!" I grab my head with my hands, trying to calm down. I ran over the people I knew in my mind. Garden couldn't help this time, they just didn't deal with this kind of thing. What about Galbadia? Nah, nobody in Deling's gonna know anything.... How about....hmmm, what about Esthar? They were an advanced people....and Odine! He could help, couldn't he? I don't know....but, I could always find out...

"Squall, what do you think of visiting your father in Esthar?" I ask him, knowing I wouldn't get an answer. He doesn't even acknowledge that I'm in the room. I feel my chest constrict in pain, knowing that his soul was being kept prisoner somewhere...

"Come on, we are going to Esthar." I tell him, leaving the room. I hear him follow me, his steps no longer holding the same pride as they used to. They sounded dull and empty, like my heart. I went up the stairs and headed to my room. I heard Squall following me, like a puppy following it's master.

I grab my duffel bag out from under my bed. I quickly start throwing my clothes in it, followed by my comb and my other belongings. Squall just stood behind me, waiting to follow me again. I sigh before tossing the red book inside, along with the golden key. I'd read it another time. For now, I just wanted out of this house. I pick up the bag, leaving the room. My heart sinks when his hollow foosteps sounds behind me.

I started packing Squall's stuff, forcing back tears. If only I'd known, if only I would have done something... If only we had never come here.... I shake my head before handing a bag to Squall. He takes it without question, staring past me into nothingness. I sigh and head out the door, my head bowed in shame and depression.

I take one long look around the house before walking out the door. I didn't bother locking it, I'm sure Xu won't be coming back here anyway, after 'we' tell her what happened. I look at Squall. I know that it's a long shot, but I have a good feeling about going to Esthar. I walk down the driveway, Squall blindly following. He was normally quiet but this was ridiculous and creepy. I shudder as I listen to his footsteps.

I make my way to the town, knowing that the only train didn't come for a few days. We would have to hitch our way to Timber and then catch the train to Esthar, over the big bridge. I didn't like that bridge, it was suspended over the large ocean, giving it a disturbing feel. I decided to stop by the store and give my goodbyes to Katy.

The door dings as I walk inside. She looks up from the counter and grins.

"Hey Zell!" He greets me. I couldn't bring myself to smile at her. Squall walks in after me, the same blank expression on his face. Katy smiles at me and then looks at Squall. She quickly frowns and brings a hand to her mouth. She looks at me with wide eyes.

"His soul has been stolen!" She blurts. I step back, shocked.

"How..?" I stare at her. She glares at nothing in particular.

"I warned Squall to get out of that house, but I take it you guys didn't listen. Now his soul has been stolen...just like all the others....." I'm taken aback. What was she talking about?

"What are you saying?" I ask her, walking up to the counter. She smiles sadly at me.

"I've been in this town all my life, I've seen many people come and go in that house. But it's always the same, they leave the town with the same blank expression..." She frowns sadly, looking at Squall with sympathy. We hear the door bell ding again.

"Now, Katy, don't lie to them." I whirl around, watching as Matt and David enter the store. David stared at Squall with a pitiful look on his face. Katy huffed.

"I just didn't want to frighten him!" She looked away at my confused look. Matt sighed and crossed his arms.

"I was hoping it wouldn't come to this." He kept confusing me with his words. Matt walked over and leaned against the counter.

"I guess David and I can tell you what we know." I set my bags down, but Squall never moves.

"Yeah?" My throat felt scratchy from my grief. Matt leans back, clearing his throat.

"You see, there is a demon that lives in that house. I do not know how long it has been there, but it's always there. It feeds off the souls of the living, but it's picky. It will only take certain souls. The soul has to have a lot of spirit, but other than that, I do not know exactly why he only takes certain ones."

I look at the floor, taking in what he said. So, Squall has something in his soul that the demon wanted? I looked up at Matt when he continued.

"When Joey first came to me about Mikey, I thought he was just kidding around, y'know? Like he was just joking with me for attention. But I was so wrong...." He trailed off, lost in thought. David touched his shoulder and smiled reassuringly. Matt cleared his throat again.

"Joey.....had his soul stolen by the demon. He became just as you see Squall now." I look over at the blank look on my friend. I swallowed thickly.

"David and myself.....we had our first encounter with Mikey. He kept saying something about love and strength, that he needed these things to survive. He laughed at us, saying that Joey's love would turn against us someday. We didn't listen to him, we only concentrated on getting Joey back. He was lifeless for five or six days, we were running out of options. We didn't know what to do so...." He looked away, his body trembling a little. David looked at us before speaking.

"One day, Joey changed. His eyes turned a bright red and he became extremely violent. We had no choice but to......kill him." My eyes widened. I brought a hand to my mouth. So that's what happened..... I look over at Squall, who didn't move. I suddenly felt very afraid.

"Will.....will Squall?" I didn't finish, the thought tearing me up inside. David didn't answer, only nodded.

"Many people does this when they come here. I've seen so many die at the hands of that monster..." David told us, watching Squall intently. I walked to my friend's side, unable to comprehend what might happen to him.

"So.....there's no way to save him?" I ask meakly.

"I haven't found a way at all. None of us have..." Matt tells me, making my heart sink to my shoes. I ball my hand into a fist, unable to think about it. This could not happen! I wouldn't LET it happen! I whirl around to face them.

"I will not let him die! I'm going to Esthar and if you are my friends you will come with me!" I pant, my chest heaving with my ragged breathing. They look at me in shock before frowning in sympathy.

"There is no way to save him, Zell." I hear Katy's soft voice. I refuse to take this.

"No! I'm not going to give up on him like you apparentally gave up on Joey!" I blurt out, immediantly regretting it. Matt glares at my before punching my lip. I'm thrown back, bringing a hand to my face.

"I loved him!" He screams at me.

"Don't you think I was scared?! Don't you think I tried everything to save him?!" He pleads with me, but I don't listen.

"Well, you can make up for your mistakes by helping me. Why not go to Esthar with me? Help me, Matt, David. Help me save my love...." I beg, hoping they'd reconsider. Matt stared at me, obviously thinking about my offer. David touched his arm and smiled at him sadly.

"Let' it Matt, for Joey's sake if nothing else." He leaned against Matt, letting him wrap an arm around his shoulder. Matt sighed and grinned at me.

"I can't believe I'm gonna go to Esthar..." I smile in relief, looking over at my love, who just looked like he was made of stone. I hope that Odine can help us.

"Um, how many days did you say went by before Joey went crazy?" I asked, picking up my bags. Matt walked out the door, followed by David.

"Oh, it was about six days, I think. I wasn't really keeping track." I followed them to their house, Squall trailing behind like a lost little boy. I just hoped we could get there before then....

"Squall..." I mumble as I walk up their driveway.


End of chapter 11.



Notes: Hmm, I even surprised myself with this chapter. I never thought about it until' a certain point in the writing. I just...changed my whole ending to something else. Oh well, I sincerely hope everybody is satisfied with this, I know I'm proud of it. Please review! Please?! It only takes a couple of seconds!


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