What The Rain Knows

By Almasy

"Tell me what the rain knows
O, is this the flood of fortune
That pours itself upon me?
O, see how I drown in this sea..."

Maaya Sakamoto, Tell Me What The Rain Knows

I knew that she was leaving me behind. No matter how many times she'd insisted that she wouldn't abandon me, that I could go too and that it wouldn't be for long, a child's intuition was too sensitive. The greatest ability of a kid's perception is knowing when he's about to be left all on his own. Her words, for the first time in my life, had no effect on me. I ignored her for a while, a child's show of sulking, but when she walked through that door I tore after her. Frantic. I wanted to hold onto her hand and never let go, not let her out into the big, bad world without me hanging onto her heels. It was the one of the darkest days I'd ever seen, sky black with retention of rain, clouds heavy and angry. The rain was thrown down in huge, dangerous droplets and within a couple of minutes, I was soaked to the skin. A t-shirt, was it orange?, clung to my skin and I don't think I even noticed. I just watched them take my sister away to a strange place, a location I knew nothing about other than that it was not where I was. Even at that age, I understood that she wasn't coming back. Maybe some residue of object permanence had stayed with me; whenever someone left me, I always assumed that it was for good. Matron couldn't go outside for over an hour without me thinking she'd left me forever. I was always nervous, always possessive. I figured that if I didn't have any friends, they couldn't go and leave me.

I didn't have a choice about having a sister.

Ellone, as far as I knew, had been with me all of my life. She'd cuddled up to me when I was frightened, held my hand when I was nervous, made me laugh, helped me grow up into my isolated ways and not be afraid of my silence. She'd been my companion when nobody else had wanted to play with me, she'd been my defender when others shunned or ridiculed me. She protected me, loved me and looked out for me. I didn't want to lose her. I had nobody else. Matron was fond of me, but she wasn't Sis. She could read me stories but her voice was adult and harsh, and she couldn't get the voices right. Her cuddles weren't like Ellone's. The others didn't seem to care much about me at all, probably because I never joined in with Seifer's rough and tumble games or Irvine's persistent kiss chase with the girls. I was anonymous to them, someone they were wary of, a stranger amongst the ranks. Ellone was my only friend, and in the black, falling rain, she was leaving me. All she asked of me was that I be strong. Those were the last words I recall her saying.

Be strong for me.

Like a six year old really understands what that means. Yeah, I was strong. I was fucking strong. I pulled in on myself, hid myself from the rest of the world and got on with being strong. I became a SeeD; I helped to save the world. How strong am I? *Look* at the state of me. There are jellyfish out there that are stronger than me. I'm crumbling away inside because I just can't cope anymore; that's how far being strong got me. I spent so much time convincing myself that I'd honoured her request that I didn't even notice how much it was destroying me. I thought that being strong meant putting up with the pain, never letting on to a soul that it was agony, bearing the weight of expectation, duty and honour. I was just trying to be her hero. I thought that was what she'd wanted, and look what she has now. A silly, weak little boy who can't do a single thing without feeling crippled inside, without feeling the cold clutches of fear and worry. I'm drowning within myself. That rain that fell from the sky leaked into me, saturated me with black droplets, drowned me inside. I still carry all of that water, the poison swims in my blood whenever I take a step. It's there now, running through me, making me feel dizzy, groggy and heavy with it. That rain was permanent.

"I'll be strong for you, Sis...I'll be really strong..."

It never stopped raining after that.

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