Uncertain Memory: In the End
By Elise Maxwell
Nov 24 1999: During the Celebration of Victory
Squall wrapped his arms around the woman whose life he’d saved and let his lips touch upon hers. When the kiss ended, Rinoa pulled Squall closer for a hug then stepped away to again lean on the rail of the balcony, still holding his hand. She gazed at the stars as he stared at their linked hands. He didn’t feel a thing—not when they kissed, not when she hugged him and not even now. Why? Why did he feel so… empty?
Squall turned and gazed at the sea while his so-called girlfriend stared amazed at the glittering stars. She was always amazed by small, shiny things. Then again, so was Seifer…
The brunette blinked. How the hell did he know that? And why? He didn’t remember any specific incident when Seifer stared at anything shiny. In fact, he didn’t remember even being with the blonde much at all before the war, just who Seifer Almasy was. So why did he know that Seifer liked shiny things? Seifer was a jerk… right?
The brunette shook his head and excused himself. Rinoa gave him a peck on the cheek, which he didn’t really feel at all. He strolled into the ballroom a little dazed, lost in his thoughts. Maybe Quistis knew. She seemed to know a lot of things, sometimes even things about Squall that he himself had forgotten. He reminded himself to ask her about that very thing when he found her. But as his eyes scanned the ballroom, he didn’t see her anywhere, or Zell, though he did see Irvine and Selphie necking in one niche in the wall.
Squall gave up and returned to Rinoa. He needed to know. Why was he remembering things that he never knew happened? He had to find Quistis—she would know. Quistis always had the answers to everything. Why did she always have the answers to everything?
Nov 25: the next morning
Squall yawned as he glared at the clock. 1pm. Great. He padded to the door upon which someone was knocking. He tapped the ‘open’ button to reveal Quistis.
“Good afternoon. I hear you stayed up late.” She smirked.
The brunette raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to start flirting with me again now that we’re back?” Her eyes narrowed and Squall had a feeling that it was the wrong thing to ask, but he kept his face blank.
“Meet me at the directory at 21:00,” she told him before promptly turning around and walking away.
He watched her retreat with a frown. It definitely wasn’t the right thing to say.
Thank Hyne Quistis had wanted Squall to meet her. Rinoa had wanted to cuddle and maybe do more than Squall had wanted. They’d just finished watching a movie in his dorm and now he was really regretting what he’d said to Quistis, hoping she wouldn’t send him back to Rinoa too soon. She was just so…
He looked up to see Quistis leaning on the directory all alone. She was just idly watching the check in/out gates, obviously waiting for something. Or perhaps someone…
“Why did you want me to come?” Squall asked, leaning on the directory next to her.
“Got a call from an old friend. I’m waiting,” she replied, still staring ahead.
He frowned. “You wanted me here because one of your friends is visiting? What does it have to do with me?”
“It’s a friend of yours too.”
“You’ll see.” Quistis pointed at the entrance.
Squall turned and squinted. His eyes widened when he realized who it was.
It was him. The blonde who they had so desperately tried to defeat was walking into the garden.
To see Seifer Almasy again was a shock and oddly a relief. But something deep down stabbed with a pain that felt like no other. Why? Why did it hurt?
She looked at him surprised. “Squall?”
The tears burned hot on his cheeks and he turned to her. “Why am I crying?” His voice cracked as he spoke. A gloved hand wiped his cheek and bore the evidence on them when inspected. Why was this happening?
“You don’t remember do you?”
Squall leaned against the wall and sank to the floor. “I’ve been feeling things recently and remembering things that never happened. Dreams maybe. They were so random and I rejected them at first. But now they're becoming more frequent and I thought you would know the answers.”
“Oh dear Hyne,” she bit her lip, “the GF’s… when you… ” She kneeled in front of him as she trailed off.
“Did they take my memories from me? What am I missing Quistis?” He took her shoulders in his hands. “What did they make me forget?”
She hesitated and looked him square in the eyes. “You were together…”
“…Together?” Squall raised an eyebrow confused. “What do you mean?”
He felt like someone had thrown him through time compression again. “No,” he shook his head. He loved Rinoa, he was the hero, and he had to have the perfect life and the perfect fiancé. Why was this all happening? Nononononononono!
“I don’t believe you.” Squall stood wiping the tears from his face. This was crap. Why would he be in love with Seifer? Seifer had tortured him. Seifer was the bad guy. Squall was the hero. The hero always killed the bad guy. So then why was it all so confusing?
“I’m not lying!” Quistis grabbed his arm, but he shook her off and stalked towards the advancing figure. “Squall!” she yelled only to have it fall upon deaf ears.
The two rivals stopped inches from each other and stared into one another’s eyes. The light disappeared from the skylights above as a thunderstorm moved over the area. The flashing lightning seemed appropriate for the scene at hand.
“Squall,” the blonde stated evenly.
“Seifer,” the shorter man struggled to maintain a blank face of ambiguity while sadness was shown openly on the taller man’s face. “You’ll pay for your crimes.”
Shock crossed the blonde’s face. “What?”
“Don’t play dumb with me Almasy. You’ll get what you deserve.”
“What is this—an act?” Seifer looked around. “What’s wrong with you?”
“What do you mean? Nothing’s wrong with me.” Squall’s frown increased as he realized he’d been wearing it for a while.
“Don’t you remember?” The blonde put his hands on Squall’s shoulders. He stared into the cloudy eyes that seemed to have uncertainties about his memory.
“Remember what? That you tortured me? And hurt all of my friends?” The brunette pulled out of his grip.
“Your friends?” Seifer asked incredulously. “They were my friends too!”
“This is bullshit.” Squall snarled but his next statement was cut off as suddenly a pair of arms wrapped around him and froze him in place. Seifer was holding him—hugging him, and it somehow relaxed him. Why? Why did he feel so at home in those arms? Fear overwhelmed him. He didn’t like the fact that it comforted him. He needed a reason why, and there were none for this reaction.
“Let me go,” Squall whispered. His fear intensified when Seifer didn’t listen. “Let me go. Letmego! LETMEGO!” The words raced out of his mouth as he struggled away from the blonde. He stared at a stunned Seifer, not knowing what in the world to do. His mind raced millions of ways at once as his eyes darted around the hallway. The walls were closing in on him—it became hard to breathe. He had to get out.
Squall took off toward the entrance at a dead sprint and heard voices calling for him. He ignored them and kept running. He had to get away. It was too much. He needed to think. He needed to get away and figure out what the hell had happened back there.
His legs finally stopped their sprint over the pavement and his heavily breathing almost drowned out thunder broiling overhead. Squall looked around to see that he’d stopped just short of the gate. He didn’t want to leave, just get away for a while. He faced the sky as sprinkles began to dot the sidewalk and his cheeks. The clouds were so dark—so very appropriate.
“Squall,” a gentle baritone called as it began to rain harder.
He whirled around to see that the blonde had followed him. Anger flowed through him and took over as lightning flashed overhead. “What do you want Almasy?”
“To tell you the truth.”
“I know the truth!” Squall spat. “You betrayed us.”
“I was used!” Seifer yelled surprising the brunette. “That wasn’t me!” Water had begun to soak into his hair and clothing.
“Yes it was.” Squall moved closer, anger taking him over.
“I told Quistis last night! They imprisoned me and used an illusion of me—”
“You lie!” Before Squall knew it, he had punched the blonde and had already staggered back to stare horrified at his actions.
“How could you?” Seifer asked incredulously as he looked up. “I thought you loved me.”
“I hate you for what you did to me,” the words spilled out before he could stop them.
“You love me,” Seifer reiterated darkly, trying to keep his anger in check as his fists balled up.
“I hate you!” Squall screamed into Seifer’s face. He tried to punch the blonde again only to have his hand caught by the other man’s.
"Hate and love are separated by one thin line," he pulled the brunette's face to his, "and we've crossed it," Seifer hissed back. He grabbed the back of the brunette’s neck and crushed his lips against the ones insulting him.
Squall pulled back hastily to break away from the taller man’s grip. He stared wide-eyed at the blonde, breathing hard as the rain soaked into his clothing. His hair stuck to his face as Seifer’s blonde locks began to spike more. It resembled the way the hair on a cat would raise when it was angry. But Seifer wasn’t angry—he was turned on. Squall could feel it—he always knew when it came to the blonde. Squall then realized he was also turned on—by everything Seifer did. From the way he moved to the way he spoke and even did things—he knew this… and yet he didn’t.
As the thoughts bombarded his brain the brunette shook his head. He gave in and muttered, “Oh fuck it!” His hands grabbed both sides of Seifer’s face and pulled him in for a savage kiss. He just didn’t care anymore. The garden, the rain, the world—all he cared about now was Seifer. And with one fleeting sweep, it all came back to him with a vengeance—they had loved one another, had made love to one another, and had even betrayed each other. But one thing still remained—that emotion.
Hot tears mingled with the cool rain on Squall’s face. How could he have forgotten such a heart wrenching love? But their love had been realized in a world of death and killing—no wonder he’d wanted to forget what had happened. In his mind, Seifer had died.
As the kiss ended, Squall stared into the jade eyes he knew so well—the eyes that harbored so much emotion for him—now he knew why. He didn’t deserve a love like that, and especially not from Seifer. He’d forgotten the most important thing in his life. Seifer would never forgive him.
Squall gripped the cuffs of Seifer’s coat as his legs began to fail. He dropped to his knees as full-blown sobs escaped his lips. How could Seifer put up with his insults? Who would love him now?
The same pair of arms wrapped around his torso as they had many times before and he covered his face with a hand. The arms pulled him closer as he started to give up and weep into the open shoulder. Words of comfort and solace were offered just like the first time, only this time—
“I love you.”
The breath caught in Squall’s throat when he heard it. The voice was gentle yet he could feel the passion with which the words were said. He would have given anything to hear him say it again.
“I love you so much, it hurts.”
Squall pulled back to look at Seifer’s pain filled eyes. He could have sworn the blonde was crying too.
“I’m so sorry,” Squall finally swallowed the lump in his throat.
“It wasn’t your fault.” Seifer’s thumb caressed his cheek. “I was… unstable at the time. It was easy for her to take control of me.”
“No.” Squall wiped his already wet nose. “I forgot—I forgot all of it. I still don’t remember…”
“I know,” Seifer said softly, as always. “Look, let's go inside and talk. We’ll just get sick if we stay out here much longer.”
Squall nodded and let the blonde help him up and into the garden. Their friends met them at the gate with warm smiles and blankets.
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