Disclaimer: Plain and simple. FFVIII belongs to Squaresoft, which I am not a part of.

Author's Notes: I was reading my reviews that you wonderful people have given me (I thank you repeatedly for your support), and one caught my attention. Not necessarily negative, but it made me think. You may have seen it, If not, it seems that someone has requested me to stop writing Squall/Seifer stories. It got me thinking because pretty much ever story I've written has Squall and Seifer somehow tied together in some sense. Squall and Seifer are my favourite characters and I have yet to board my horizon outside of them because my passion for them is still going on strong.

However, I've come to ask a question. Do I write too much Squall and Seifer stories? Would you prefer me to try something else? Or continue the way I am going till this flame (more like bonfire as large as the sun) disintegrates?

Just wondering.

Anyhow, here's the next chapter! R&R! : )


Part 5

By Drakon Sword

(Seifer's POV)


Well . . . that went well.

I'm not sure how long it has been. How long I have been talking. Explaining the events of the sorceress' wars. My side of the story. What I could remember, and what I knew of Ultimecia's plans. How I was switched from Edea to Adel, but mainly controlled by the great lesbian freak herself, Ultimecia.

I felt inclined to explain that I knew nothing of the sorceress knight thing. That Rinoa and I had created when we were together, that I didn't realize that there was truth to out little game. Rinoa I guess felt that she should tell me her side of the game. That she knew of the tales of sorceress knights. It was partially why she became a sorceress.

I didn't react, but was slightly pissed off as she explained that her mother had read her fairytales as a child. One was about a sorceress, and her knight. The story itself was actually called the 'Sorceress Knight', and she had no idea that they was truth to it. She just got the romantic notion in her head, and it went from there. I just was able to play a part in her little fantasy as a teenager. Squall also did for a time, but now she had grown out of that, and wanted romance as a woman, not for anything else.

I think Squall was disappointed, and angry at Rinoa for what he heard, but said nothing. Quistis had filled in the tense silence that fell over the room by explaining to me about Edea, Matron, being a sorceress and her knight being our headmaster, Cid.

I knew some of this, but very little. I knew that Edea was Matron, but I didn't know she was a sorceress, let alone that she was the wife of Cid. That didn't get out, and Ultimecia seemed to feel that I didn't need to know (bitch). Ultimecia liked to play on the fact, a weakness, that Edea was Matron, and manipulated me with the knowledge of that.

It was hard for me to relive all the pain, guilt, and regret, though know that I showed none of it. Hiding my true emotion and intentions. I've talked to Fujin and Raijin about all this before. They knew that I wasn't Seifer anymore. They knew that Ultimecia was controlling me, but refused to leave my side. All the while trying to convince me to leave, but by the time they saw it, Ultimecia had already dug her claws into me. I was too deep in as were her claws. There was no returning at that point.

I often wondered why Ultimecia chose me to be her knight. What made me different from others? However, I know now. I was vulnerable in ways that I thought I was invincible. Everything I thought made me strong, and immune to weakness that caused me to be her knight, was what made me fall.

You see, my arrogance, pride, confidence, and hotheadedness caused me to be weak against her manipulation. She knew exactly what to say to get what she wanted from me. I was also innocent to fully what she wanted, how she used my me and my memories to try and find Sis, Ellone. I was feeling low from my failing the SeeD exam, Rinoa and Squall's encounter, and was just plain weak because of my anger against society. I wanted strength. I wanted to prove I was more than everyone thought I was. I wanted people to see me, admire me, and be in charge.

I guess I wanted power, but when I had it (with Ultimecia's watchful eye) I didn't want it anymore. Ultimecia knew exactly how to play with my dreams, desires, weaknesses, and strengths to get what she wanted.

I told them how I remembered some events with clarity, mostly when I was with Ultimecia by myself, or when I was in my body, but not in control of it. Watching my body move, my voice yell at the soldiers, commanding to do unthinkable things, but were what the our gracious leader (fuck that!) the sorceress wanted. It was like a dream state. I could watch, but not interact with what was going on.

That was when Squall murmured that he knew that it wasn't me. He saw me, but knew it wasn't truly the Seifer Almasy he knew. I was basically clarifying what he knew in his heart. He didn't say it in those words, but he meant the same thing. I couldn't help, but smirk at that. Something tightened inside of me at the thought of his undoubtable trust in me. I felt the same for him.

I also explained that I would wake up in my room, and thinking it was a dream, but find that everything else pointed to otherwise. I was so confused, but Ultimecia was always there to reassure me. Pull at the right strings, so I was back completely under her control. I don't doubt she used a lot of her magic for that too, but it didn't matter. I was in over my head in water with sharks surrounding me. I was fucked no matter what I did.

I watch them now. They all have thoughtful looks on their faces as this sinks in, and they brood over what I have said. I guess Squall is rubbing off on them, or maybe we have matured more than we all know. I always teased Squall about his inner monologues, but he was thinking before he reacted, something that is gained with experience, age, and maturity. Maybe he was ahead of us in that sense.

Rinoa is much more relaxed. Her colour long returned, and she is looking at me with sympathy and care. She isn't afraid of me anymore. I think Rinoa knows that I don't want we had back, that I didn't come back for her. She's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she knows that what we had was fun, and I won't forget as she won't. It is past. I still care for her because she is the first person to awaken the happiness within me. I was happy with her. Content even. I learned much from her, for being a romantic, optimistic, somewhat immature girl. I think we have reached an understanding without having to talk about it.

Zell still seems uneasy around me. I don't think we will ever be close friends (no broken hearts here!), but I think he is somewhat sympathetic. It will never change between us, but I do respect him in some strange sense. Zell has been my classmate for years, and I know him, but we will never be close. He will always be Chicken-wuss to me.

Zell has longed relaxed. He is leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees. I don't think he has sat this quiet, unmoving for this long. He hasn't said much to what I said. Though I noticed that he did many times, but never voiced his thoughts. Partially because of Squall's glares, I believe.

That's something else that has caught my attention. I know that Squall is the Commander, but he has more power than I think he knows. Especially, over this little group. I know he cares for them, and they do him, but I think if he yelled at them to jump, they would ask how high.

He is still very much their leader. His ideas, opinions, and respect mean a lot to them. They don't question him, will other than Quistis, but she has always had his uppermost respect because of the instructor-student relationship they had. As mush as he is in control, he still treats Quistis as if she was in charge, or right beside him. The both have the a great respect for each other, but Quistis, other than myself, is probably the only one that will question him. He probably hates it, but is happy that he has someone to ground him. Too much power will corrupt anyone.

Including our little icicle, Squall Leonhart.

Irvine and Selphie haven't really moved. Both are still calm as ever. Irvine is leaning back against the couch with his arms wrapped around Selphie. Selphie is leaning against his chest, and resting her head on his shoulder. They look very cute together. Opposites, but seem very good for the other.

Both are not at all judgmental. Selphie has spoken a few times. I noticed her anger at the destruction of Trabia Garden, and I expected some retaliation to that, but received none. She was angry, but only starting ranting about Ultimecia being the ultimate bitch. I had to agree.

Irvine, himself, has said the least of everyone. Maybe a few comments, or questions, but mostly nothing. He just sits, listens, and calms Selphie down when she gets to aggravated. He isn't quick to judge. I receive no pity from him, but no anger either. He is just naturel. I don't think he blames me, but doesn't excuse it either.

He certainly is an interesting character.

Quistis has probably spoken the most, next to Rinoa. Formal questions about tactics, or various plans that I knew. Her questions weren't usually personal. She was more interested in what I knew by being on that side. I think she wanted to know more of Ultimecia's origin. I'm not sure, but I think it's more than curiosity.

Now there's Squall. He has said very little, but he never says much. However, whatever he does say has been terse, and cold. I'm not sure that all the anger I sense from him, is directed at me. I don't doubt that some of it is, but not all of it.

He has said very little, and hasn't really moved. Small shifts, and the occasional comment, but for the most part has blended into the wall. Or at least as well as he can, which is pretty good considering the wall is grey and so is his shirt. I have to introduce him to great wide world of colour! However, Squall has that aura that really can't be ignored. He stands out in a crowd, no matter how quiet or dull he is.

"This changes a lot to know your side of the story." Irvine commented as Selphie got off his lap to stretch. It was around 4 in the afternoon. I had been talking for at least . . . 5 hours!

"I'm not looking for an excuse or sympathy. I simply offering a reason. I can take care of myself. I just thought you guys deserved to know." I said, simply. Still feeling that need to boost my ego. Let them know that I can take care of myself, and didn't tell them this for protection. It was all for selfish reasons. I wanted them to damn Ultimecia with more hatred, as much as I carried for her or at least a sum near to it, and I guess I wanted to be forgiven in some small way. I guess I am insecure in some ways.

I also wanted Squall back.

Not back the way we were, but I wanted to be with him again. In a large way, or small, it didn't matter. He made me whole, and I need him in ways that I can't fully comprehend, let alone understand. I know he feels the same. We need each other, and it hurts to be apart, but we don't know why. It isn't physical pain, more emotional, and mental. Actually, I tend to believe that it is spiritual.

As strange as that may sound.

"You're part of the gang, Seifer! I mean, we aren't complete without you! Besides, Squall was miserable without ya!" Selphie grinned, punching Squall lightly in the arm and winked at Seifer as she sauntered away. Selphie knew more than she let on, it seemed.

I blinked a few times at Selphie as she went to disturbed Irvine. She maybe a ball of sunshine, but she ain't stupid. She can read Squall as well as anyone can. It seems the gang is learning.

As for Squall, he seems to thinking the same thing. He shows no fault other than the silver tint that has entered his eyes. Predominate confusion and surprise, like he didn't suspect he was the obvious about his unhappiness of my disappearance. His eyes were practically silver when he saw me. It takes a lot to surprise the icicle Squall, but when you do, it's a rare treat that you crave and work to get again.

"Well, I think we'll see ya later folks! Seems the little lady is hungry and I'm not about to refuse her food." Irvine said, tapping his hat back as he stood. Selphie sighed dryly, and then promptly grabbed his arm to drag him out the door, both tossing their 'see ya later's as the left.

They are quite a pair.

"I believe I will make my exit also." Quistis informed us as she got out of her chair. Absently brushing her navy skirt of invisible dust, and to straighten wrinkles. "Thank you Seifer for this. I believe it puts our minds at ease for many things." Quistis smiled, making her way to the door.

"Your welcome, but it was more for me then for anyone else." I answered, and she cocked an eyebrow with a small knowing smile on her lips.

"I know." She answered before the door swished shut behind her.

Okay. I know she knows. She has always known. Quistis has always been the one to push us together. I think she knew what we could be and become if it wasn't for the rivalry, and tired to push it in the direction.

However, she ended up falling in love with one before anything could come between us. Or at least favoured herself in love. Women are funny about that.

I stood up at this point. My nice round derriere seems to be on the verge of becoming flat. I straightened my black trench coat, the one that I brought to replace my worn and torn silver one with crimson cross swords. However, before I could say a word, I found myself wrapped in a pair of smooth, pale skinned arms.

The ones of a lovely sorceress, and ex-girlfriend.

"I'm so sorry, Seifer. I blamed you for so many things during the war, but now I know they weren't your fault. I feel so bad that I assumed you were the big bad guy. Do you forgive me?" Rinoa asked as she gripped me tightly. I couldn't help, but smile fondly. Rinoa would always be the warm, sensitive, compassionate person I was once with. The war hadn't changed those qualitites of her, for which I am thankful for. They seemed to just make her grow up, and leave the fairytales behind. Again, I am thankful for that.

"It's all right, Rinny. It was a time of war. In times of war many things are what they seem. War is often surrounded with deception, distrust, and manipulation. I don't hold it against you." I answered, giving a smile of reassurance which she takes gratefully.

"You'll always be my first knight." She whispered in my ear she gives me a platonic kiss on my cheek. I know, and she knows that it is nothing more than that. We were lovers, and we will never forget that. Especially since I was her first.

We both know that what we had, cannot be had again. Just like she has with Squall, it was for a short time, but it's over now. I love her, but like a close friend, or sister. Kind of like what Quistis and Squall share. They were never sexually involved, but they grew up together close and we much alike with their efficiency and leadership skills. Probably two of the best soldiers because of their respect, skills, and habit of not asking questions.

At least when it didn't come to each other. They always questioned the other.

"Let's go Rinoa." Zell said, tightly for over at the door. Zell was angry, and red again. I believe he feels threatened and jealous of me. Actually, I can smell the jealously wafting off of him. He indeed is. Don't worry, Zell. I don't have plans to take Rinoa away from you. I had her once, but she cares for you now.

Zell has gotten better at controlling his anger it seems. I know he doesn't like me, and we will never be close. I kinda of hope that it won't always be like this. Maybe no more fighting, anger, and teasing . . . ?

No way in hell! He's too fun to tease!

Rinoa hears the tone, and favours me with one last smile before she skips off the Zell, who takes her hand instantly. He doesn't look at me again as the walk out the door. Rinoa, however, gives me a small wave before the door shuts.

I smirk at Rinoa antics, and still feel the softness that I feel for her innocense, but I then remember that I'm not alone. Actually, I with the one that I came to see.

I turn to look at him, and he hasn't moved. His eyes are on me, and he says nothing. I'm not sure what to say, and his eyes are pricing into me like arrows. Though I notice that Zell wasn't the only one jealous.

"'Rinny'?" Squall finally asks, arching an eyebrow as he says it. I stare at him quizzically as I realize what he means. I called Rinoa by her nickname that I had given her during our time together. She would call me her 'knight' and I would call her 'Rinny'. The nicknames were endearments between us. Now they were just a joke, or something of fondness.

A memory.

"Nickname." I answered, shrugging. I didn't offer anymore information because I wasn't sure how he would react. Though it seemed he expected more because he waited, watching me for, what seemed like, an eternity before moving.

"Zell didn't like it." Squall said, stating that Zell was jealous. He saw it too, it seemed, and also felt it. Maybe his jealously wasn't over the loss of Rinoa, like I first assumed.

Then again, I maybe I shouldn't assume. Sounds like that riddle that I was taught at a young age. Don't assume because you will make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'. Kinda cute, eh? I liked it, and I'll never forgot it.

"He has nothing to be jealous of. I love Rinoa as a friend, or sister. Nothing more." I said, shaking my head. Squall looked at me doubtfully. "It's like what you share with Quistis. A closeness and love that cannot be sexual. Even if it was at one point or not." I continued, and Squall pursued his lips in distaste, but seemed satisfied with that, for the subject was dropped.

There were a few more moments of silence as we both seemed to avoid the task at hand. I knew he had many questions, not all that I had answers to, but he was afraid to ask. I had many things to tell him, to explain, but I was afraid to tell him and his reaction.

Both of us were fearful of the consequences of breeching the space between us.

"Why?" The word floated over to me from his place near the wall. I looked at him, questioningly. I needed more specifics. Why I'm here? Why is he here? Why I took a shit today? Why I - "Why did it take this long for you to come back, and tell us this? Why did you avoid me for so long?" Squall continued, sounding more hurt than he looked. He looked pissed and was pissed, but that's beside the point.

"I had things to get over, and things to understand. I couldn't just brush off what had happened to me and everyone so quickly, Squall." I protested, and it was the truth. However, after I did figure it out, I hide in the shadows, afraid and a coward. "Besides, how would I know how you would react? You would either kill me on the spot, or ignore me! I felt that for the time it was best that I hide in my corner of the world as you continued to live in yours." I finished, sitting in the leather couch. The soft whomp, as Squall shifted a little uneasily against the wall.

"I won't have done that." Squall informed me, sounding shy, yet his voice still tinged with anger. I looked at him, but he refused to look back at me. Finding something out the window far more interesting.

"Again, Leonhart. How was I supposed to know?" I asked, sounding agitated, which I was. I know he wouldn't have done that because of what was broadcasted, and what he had said to the world, but I don't like to be reminded of my cowardice. Also, I didn't know if he was with Rinoa, or some other lover or not. I knew later of his breakup with Rinoa from Fujin and Raijin, but I didn't know if he was single or not. I also wasn't aware of how the others would react to my sudden appearance.

They took it quite well, I believe. Though how was I supposed to know?

"I'm sorry that I had no way to inform you, you asshole! You made it quite clear that you didn't want to see me, I believe! So I stopped trying! I gave up!" Squall snarled, pushing himself off the wall. I looked at him, surprised by this sudden outburst.

"I wasn't asking for you to contact me. I was simply stating the fact that I need to work things out before I went to see you, or anyone else. I needed to think." I answered. I did need to think. So much that I held dear and cared for, weren't really what I should. I had to re-evaluate life. My life.

All because I had seen a past life.

"Oh! But you could go see Fujin and Raijin, but not me!" Squall growled walking towards the door. He had a habit of running away from emotional situation. "You know, I thought I meant more to you! I thought I was somebody important in your life. I suppose I was wrong." Squall spat, sounding disgusted by his own words. Like they were something sour in his mouth.

"No. That's not true." I said, shaking my head.

"Ya right, Seifer. Save me the bullshit." Squall muttered, angrily. I looked at him, and noticed his hands were clenched into fists as he glared at me. I looked him into his eyes, so he could see that I wasn't lying.

They say eyes were windows to the soul.

"Did it ever occur to you, that you did mean that much to me?" I asked, my voice strangely hushed, but clear. His eyes narrowed, asking my meaning. "Did it occur to you, that I didn't come to see you because I was afraid of your rejection? Afraid of what I was to find? Afraid of myself?" I continued, and Squall looked away. I could see his knuckles go white as he clenched his fists tighter. "I'm sorry Squall, but it took me this long to find the courage to see you. And even that needed to be kicked in the butt by Fujin, who is frustrated with both of us to no end." I chuckled, humourlessly.

Squall said nothing as his fist worked. Curling, and then uncurling his fingers. I watched, and waited as the moments passed by. No words were spoken. I found that I could hardly breathe. I could almost hear the rejection slipping off his lips, and hated myself for it.

He then moved, not towards me, but away. To the door.

"Where are you going?" I asked, my voice barely a whisper, but clear and he heard it.

"Out. I need to think." He said, while hitting the button to open the door. It did with its normal swish, and then shut behind him.

I then flopped onto the couch again, letting out a loud, long sigh as my deft fingers drifted to my temples to relieve the headache that was beginning to pound at me head. I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't think this hard.

I wasn't cut out for this shit.

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