The screams echoed through the dark air, the shrill cries for mercy in the last breaths of his victim. She struggled, and the blood oozed out of her collarbone wound with each pump of her barely beating heart. Each yell was curdled with the liquid rising in her throat, and he just smiled down at her. Smiled at her tiny form writhing in his arms, straining for any life she could possibly wrench from her dying body.
"Sleep, princess. Sleep." He whispered as she took her last ragged breath.
Xu sighed heavily, letting her entire body's weariness overwhelm her. She had been so fatigued lately, for some reason she was tired as hell. She searched the back of her mind for her junctions, and cast an Esuna on herself to ease her drooping eyelids. It didn't help much, but took the edge off enough for her to thumb through the papers on her desk. With Squall as Headmaster, she was appointed as a sort of 'Number Two' to the Garden. There were various bills, nothing unusual, but when she came to the bottom of the pile, something caught her eye. It was a blank piece of paper with a yellow post it stuck to the top.
'Xu,' It read. 'This note was at my door this morning. I'm not sure what it means, maybe there is something hidden there. Please send to analysis and get back to me. It may be a prank, but I don't want to take any chances. Thanks, Squall'
"Hm." Xu made the quaint noise with a minute curiosity wafting her senses. She ran her fingers over the paper, trying to find any sign of raised typing. She carefully removed the post it, crumpling it up and tossing it into her wastepaper basket. She held the document up against the light, but nothing came up. It was thin, but clean of any lettering. She glanced at her clock. 1:37. She fought the urge to laugh. When she was a Junior Classmen, she had to concentrate on sleeping, sometimes even use a sleep spell to help herself along. And now here she was, fighting it in the wee hours of the morning. The irony struck her as humourous, when she needed to stay awake she couldn't. At nineteen, Xu felt as if she were at least a hundred. But she couldn't complain, it was her own choice to admit herself to Garden.
Finally she decided to take the blank note down to analysis in the morning on her way to Timber. There was some business there with the Timber Owls that little Miss Heartilly needed to have attended to. She couldn't go herself because she was off in Deling visiting her father. The two had created a more stable relationship together, based on the memory of beautiful Julia Caraway. The only thing was, whenever Rinoa wanted something done, Squall always sent Xu out to do it. Unfortunate, but necessary to her career.
"(Now for some sleep...)"
"Raijin, Fujin. It's been fun." The words replayed in Fujin's head for the tenth time that night. She clutched her blanket futilely; the freezing room was enough to chill her through the thickest comforter. A shiver ran down her spine as Seifer's face once again flickered through her mind. His delicate looking features that were so strong beneath. Her harsh nature towards him had always resulted in an argument, but in truth, she never wanted to disagree with him. She wanted in all her being to just agree, and have everything be okay. They were a posse, the three of them. Raijin had split to live in Deling City, pursuing a woman he had met and trying to create a stable life for them. Yet Fujin couldn't pry herself away from Balamb Town, it was so beautiful and calm, a good place to keep her nerves down. She kept the air conditioning at such a constant level that she could turn her apartment into a meat locker, in hopes to numb her pain a little. Since Time Compression, she had felt so lost. Especially without Seifer or Raijin to wreak havoc with.
"Raijin, Fujin. It's been fun." That phrase again. It haunted Fujin. How she wished she had stayed with him. After all this time spent away, she realized how much she loved him. And in her anxious attempts to hide it, she had made an enemy of him. And in the end, deserted him. Seifer meant so much to her, and she ignored it, for reasons only Hyne knew why.
"STUPID." She cursed herself, uttering against her so-called meaningless existence once again. It was all she could do to go through life, without friends, without family. She didn't want to do it anymore, it was becoming too much. But Fujin had a feeling that something would happen for her. Something soon. She had no idea what, but it felt good. So she decided to stick around for a little while longer and investigate this feeling deep into the pit of her stomach.
"Hyne, Xu." Quistis' brow furrowed into a line of worry. "You look like shit." She took a hesitant bite of her bagel as she drove, side glancing the tired secretary.
"Really?" Xu sounded disinterested, and weary as hell. "Go figure."
"Something on your mind?" Quistis picked around her words carefully, her best friend had grown rather distant over the past little while.
"Oh the usual. Everything." Xu forced out a laugh, but Quistis didn't even crack a smile.
"Why don't you tell him it's too much for you?" She was referring to Squall, and Xu knew it. "You look so tired, and it's obviously overloading your schedule."
"Ah, it's not that, Quisty." Xu shook her head slowly, and paused as if ridding herself of some unwanted thought. "I just... I've been stressed lately. I can't exactly pinpoint what it is, but I have had a hard time just living, you know?" Quistis nodded, but Xu knew she had absolutely no thread of understanding whatsoever.
"You need to take some time off." Quistis suggested. "I'll talk to Squall for you, maybe you can head up north for a little while? Trabia might be a nice getaway..." Xu let her mind wander as Quistis rattled off about the Bika region. She blocked out the soft voice easily, as she had done so many times before with various people. She hadn't ever been so distant, especially when she had been in such high authority with Headmaster Cid. She had been such a good employee, always on time, always ahead of the game. What had happened to her?
They reached Balamb Town and Quistis dropped Xu off at the train station, giving a sympathetic farewell. She knew that Quistis was only trying to be a friend, and how frustrating it must be that she received no acknowledgement for her efforts. But Xu couldn't help it. It was just the way she was, and out of her control.
"DELING. ONE." She heard a familiar voice strictly bark at the woman behind the train ticket counter. Fujin wasn't looking much better than she was. Xu was next in line, and Fujin began to leave when she saw the familiar face beside her.
"One for Timber, please." Xu said, and flashed her Garden ID that earned her a free slip of paper for the Balamb Train.
"TOGETHER. SIT." Fujin suggested, and Xu nodded quaintly, not too eager to oblige, but not wanting to seem impolite. She also knew that Fujin didn't talk much, so if she wanted to catch some sleep, it would be possible. They took their seats on the left side of the train and waited patiently for it to start up.
"What brings you to Deling?" Xu questioned nonchalantly.
"RAIJIN." The one word answer almost made Xu laugh. She cracked a smile at least, which was something she hadn't done in a long time. The memories of the Disciplinary Committee were all quite entertaining ones.
"Fujin, do you remember the time you nearly gave me a black eye for punishing Seifer after the Dollet mission?" She inquired, and Fujin looked at her, studying her features with her one operating eye.
"AFFIRMATIVE." She nodded, and Xu saw for the first time, real fatigue in her expression. It wasn't unlike her own.
"What have you been up to lately?" She chanced another question, and the grey haired woman crossed her arms in nervous thought.
"LIVING. BARELY." Fujin spat out, biting her lip for being so open with the Garden uniform sitting beside her. The two of them hadn't spoken in nearly a year, but she sensed some sort of understanding between them. And in fact, their lives weren't that different from each other.
"Same here, unfortunately." Xu gave the reply, but neither of them had much else to say. The train lurched to life and they retreated to their own minds. They were minutely curious to the other's faring, but didn't want to press.
The train ride to Timber was approximately forty five minutes, and Xu slipped past Fujin on her way off of the magnificent piece of machinery.
"Nice talking to you, Fujin." Xu saluted briefly before stepping away, smooth strides that left more than a few people staring after her. The warm Timber air hit her harshly as she walked out of the air conditioned train station, but she adjusted quickly and pulled the blank note from her pocket. Eyes scanning the small shops, she finally found the one she was looking for, a shoe store. The owner, Mr. Oliveri Kaisa, was also an undercover analyst for the Gardens. Xu approached the back desk with an important stride, and placed the paper gently on the hardwood surface.
"How may I help ya?" The man bellowed.
"Sir, Headmaster Squall received this a little while ago." Xu pushed the paper across the table towards him, and he put his glasses on the tip of his nose to examine it closely. "It appears to be blank, but he'd like to know if there's anything hidden there." She waited patiently for a moment before Oliveri gave her a reassuring toothy grin.
"Come back into my office, Miss, and I'll take a look at it." He motioned. "I think I know just what was done to this little chunk of timber." He chuckled at his own pun to the town. Xu followed him back into a dark room with a red light in the corner. She had been there a few times before to decipher codes and such, thus she was used to the atmosphere. It was stiflingly hot, and it didn't seem to faze Oliveri at all. He muttered to himself a little, and dipped the paper into a brown syrupy substance. He then picked it out with a spatula device, and laid it down on a conveyer belt. With the push of a few buttons, the paper was hauled through countless machines, and finally, ended up on a platter to dry. When the mechanism was through, Oliveri picked up the paper and held it up to the reddish light.
"What does it say?" Xu was nearly dying of heat, and her over exhaustion wasn't helping much. Her words came out in barely a gasp, and thankfully, Oliveri made things quick.
"Well Ma'am, I believe it's in Latin." He scratched his head. "Ardente veritate urite mala mundi ardente veritate incendite tenebras mundi." As he spoke the words, Xu received a shiver down her spine. She peered over his shoulder and saw that the words were almost glowing, and seemingly hand written.
"Are you able to translate?" She hoped.
"Uh..." Oliveri stammered for a moment, and then finalized. "Brilliant truth burn the heavens of evil burning truth set ablaze the heavens of darkness." The words in plain English gave Xu an even harsher shiver, and she snatched the paper from him. The message completely disappeared, and he turned to her in expectancy.
"Do you have a portable light like that?" She asked, shaken from an unseen force within her. After little haggling, Oliveri sold her a small red light for about thirty gil, and added on an extra ten for his services. With a husky thank you, Xu walked out, pulling out her Garden cell phone. It was untraceable, the highest in cellular technology. She quickly dialed Squall's office number, and he picked up after three rings.
"Hello?" He formally introduced, sounding alert.
"Squall, that message you received... it's rather peculiar." Xu said as she briskly walked down the street towards the Timber Owl's headquarters.
"What do you mean, peculiar?" Squall scratched his head in worry.
"It was in Latin... and well, the message itself isn't the nicest thing one would say." She stopped at the yellow train parked conveniently before her, and crossed her arms. "Something about burning truth and dark heavens."
"Great Hyne." Squall managed to choke out, and then something clicked in his brain. "Can you read it to me?"
"No, I need to get somewhere dark. I bought this red light that you need to read it with." Xu bit her lip at the silence on the other end.
"Well, when you get back, come see me. I want to take a look at it." Squall finally said. "Thanks a lot, I appreciate it, Xu."
"No problem." She clicked off her phone and replaced it to it's rightful spot in her breast pocket. Now for the Timber Owls.
"Raijin, Fujin. It's been fun." Fujin snapped awake when the end of the line bell drilled into her eardrums. She stood shakily, quivering out of sleep and the face that haunted her. She made her way off of the train, stepping out into the dark station within the dark town of Deling. In truth, she hadn't come to the city to see Raijin. She didn't want to interfere with his new beginnings or get in his way. She had simply wanted to look around, find some type of link that may lead her to the one she realized she had to search for.
Seifer kept Fujin's mind on the fritz, he irked her dreams, preoccupied her life. She had to find him, it was more than simply needing him. She was afraid it had turned into a subconscious obsession that had no mercy on her heart and soul.
He had always loved to sit at the Galbadia Hotel in his spare time, and in the beginning when they were back at Balamb, he had visited often. Fujin lightly strode into the lobby, letting her feet carry her down by the stage where young Julia Caraway had once played the piano. Fujin took a seat at a vacant table, and a clean-cut man sat a tall thin glass of champagne in front of her with a pert bow. Without any expression, she sipped it lightly, wondering what type of entertainment would play her senses for the night. Her mind wandered momentarily until a thin black haired woman wearing a long purple dress came meandering out onto the stage. She had light ivory skin, almost as pale as Fujin herself. She took the microphone in a steady hand, and held it to her lips. There was no background music, just her clear voice ringing across the airwaves. The room fell silent as her tone picked up.
"Arise from your sleep, my children, your cradles shall no longer exist, arise from your sleep, children of fate, abandon your cradles." The woman's face had almost a nostalgic look on it, and Fujin was deeply unsettled at the words that came out of her mouth. "Arise, discover the garden of Truth. Brilliant truth, burn the heavens of evil, burning truth, set ablaze the heavens of darkness." Fujin nearly jumped out of her skin, and the hairs on the back of her neck prickled up. Those words, that tune... "Prevail children, fated day." She stood up abruptly, nearly knocking the table over. Her chair clattered to the carpet and everyone in the room seemed to snap out of the trance they had been in listening to the beautiful woman sing. Even the singer herself stared as Fujin bolted up the stairs in an insane frenzy to get away from the scene. She didn't look back, only fled, trying to calm her racing nerves. That song had cried out during the darkest times of Fujin's life, during the parades, during the moments where she had to watch Seifer swoon over that hateful sorceress. Only it was in Latin, a language unbeknownst to her vocabulary. So those were the words... they were terrifying. What did that young woman have to do with that song? Maybe it was just coincidence, because nobody else seemed alarmed by it. But Fujin reasoned with herself.
"(Something isn't right here.)" She finally stopped when she realized that she had traveled far without seeing where she was going. She saw General Caraway's house off to her right, and looked up at its looming figure.
"Whew." Xu breathed out heavily as she unlocked her room at the Timber Inn. After a long discussion following argument with the Timber Owls, Xu realized she'd need some sleep before heading back to Balamb in the morning. After locking the door behind her, she quickly headed to the bathroom to have a long awaited shower. After the engrossing heat of Mr. Oliveri's office she had sweated buckets, thus inclining her for a shower.
The water was heaven and she was reluctant to step out into the chill air again. She found a towel, and wrapped it's white length around her thin body before scooping up her neatly folded SeeD uniform and heading back to the bedroom.
Xu nearly had a heart attack when she saw the silhouette in the balcony window. The moon was bright in the sky, and she could make out the shape of a billowing trench coat and a glint on the top of the man's head. As the wind fluttered through the open sliding door, it blew back his coat and she made out the perfect muscular ripples on his chest, and a gasp stung her throat as he turned to look at her in the darkness.
"It's been a long time, Xu."
Fujin fell to the sidewalk, her throat clenching up and her heart pounding wildly. An icy shiver tore through her spine and she thought that it might rattle right out of her back.
"Get out of me." She hissed, feeling the essence inside of her slip around, leaving trails of hatred and anxiety on her heart. "GET OUT OF ME!" She screamed louder, completely oblivious to the people staring at her on the sidewalk. She couldn't move, but then, she could barely think. She squeezed her eyes shut and it began to rain, pelting ice cold droplets on her exposed skin like angry bullets. Everyone made a mad dash for the nearest shelter, but Fujin stayed on her hands and knees, fighting the tears that threatened her. Something was terribly wrong; something had happened that would alter her life forever. Something was inside of her, something dangerous and beautiful at the same time. She couldn't explain the feelings at all, but it squeezed her heart painfully. "Please... please get out of me..."
Fithos lusec wecos vinosec
Fithos lusec wecos vinosec
Fithos lusec wecos vinosec
Excitate vos e somno, liberi mei
Cunae non sunt
Excitate vos e somno, liberi fatali
Somnus non eat.
Inventite hortum veritatis
Urite mala mundi
Incendite tenebras mundi
Fithos lusec wecos vinosec
Fithos lusec wecos vinosec
Fithos lusec wecos vinosec
Fithos lusec wecos vinosec
"Squall, I don't get it." Zell whined, and Selphie smacked her forehead on the table, pretending to snore. Quistis poked her disapprovingly and she sat back up groggily. Irvine peered at Selphie over the book he was flipping through disinterestedly, noting a few hairs that were out of place on her pretty little head.
"I don't either." Squall snapped harshly. He let out a sigh, rubbing his forehead with one hand and cursing his lack of patience. "I know, it's late... but this is serious. If only Xu had returned tonight..."
"Well she didn't." Quistis pushed back her chair and stood up abruptly, catching everyone's sleepy attention. "And Xu really does need some down time, so she'll come back when she's ready. In the meantime, I think everyone needs some rest. That goes for you too, Squall. We can go over this in the morning." She laid a light hand on his shoulder to ease the scowl depicted across his face. He had been wanting to do some research on the latin phrase that Xu had told him was on the sheet of paper. It wasn't going well, however. Selphie practically leapt to the doorway, the first one to the hallway. She slowed to a walking pace and let out a deep sigh, glad to be away from the ice cold eyes of Squall Leonhart. She tried to be cheerful with him, but it was hard when he was so stone hearted. She didn't know how Rinoa could put up with him. Was he ever romantic with her?
Finally reaching her dorm, Selphie locked the door and slipped out of her favourite cute yellow dress, tossing it into the laundry hamper situated beside her closet. Snuggling into her blankets, she wrapped her arms fondly around the pillows and shut her eyes. Irvine's face wafted into her thoughts, as it always did before she slept. His pleasant eyes, and sweet nature- suddenly her phone rang, jolting Selphie wide awake.
"Ah, damn!" She cursed, sighing with fatigue and annoyance. "Hello?" She furrowed her brow, waiting for a reply.
"Wwwwhhhooo is this?" A shaky voice at the other end asked. There was noise in the background, sounded like rain. The line crackled a little bit, and Selphie struggled with her memory to match a voice to a face.
"Fujin!" She cried, fully alert in the darkness. She fumbled for a moment, finally finding her lamp and flicking it on to bathe her room in a happy glow. "What's going on?"
"Ssssomething's happening to me... SQUALL. NOW... Gggget outttt offfff meee..." Fujin stammered, her words jumbled together. Selphie felt fear wrench at her as she threw on a robe, flinging open her door to run down the hall full speed. She ran right into Irvine, who nearly fell backwards onto the carpet in shock. Selphie stopped for a moment to try and collect herself. Irvine tried to find words to ask her what was wrong, but that utter frightened look on her face disheartened him and he couldn't think straight. She bolted off to Squall's office, barging in and causing him to stand up abruptly. Everyone had gone, and he was still thumbing through books on the desk.
"Squall! Something's wrong with Fujin! She-" Selphie's voice failed her and she tossed her cordless phone to him, sitting down on the floor, dazed.
"Fujin?" Squall asked hesitantly, a line of worry across his slender forehead.
"HELP. BODY." Fujin tried to explain. "SOMETHING. SOUL. HEART. PAIN."
"Fuu, you're rambling." Squall calmly tried to settle her. "Slow down, and try to tell me what's wrong." She took a deep breath.
"There's a living thing inside of me and it's eating away at my heart..." She tried, and it was the best she could do. She didn't even know why she called Garden, maybe they'd know something, anything that might do her justice. Squall read the display on the phone, he saw Fujin was calling from a payphone in Deling.
"Listen, Fujin." He kept his voice steady. "I want you to go to the General's house. Rinoa is there, and you can come back to Balamb with her tomorrow afternoon." He paused, waiting for her response.
"HELP NOW." She quietly replied.
"I can't help you without seeing you." Squall reasoned. There was a short pause and he heard her breaths grow heavy.
"You can't kill me, Squall." Fujin's voice came out in a low snarl. "I'll live on forever, Lion Heart... you can't kill me..." She then began to laugh. A loud, confident laugh that ripped through Squall like fire. He could actually feel his skin melting from his bones, and Selphie shuddered at the expression covering his strong features.
"Squall? Squall, are you okay?" She asked innocently, but he had her completely blocked out.
"What are you doing?" He absently questioned, but Fujin just kept laughing, the evil sensation wafting over him. Then the laughter stopped as soon as it had begun.
"What's happening to me?" Fujin meekly stated before the line went dead.
"Fujin? Fujin!" Squall felt panic rise in his chest. "FUJIN!" He threw the phone down onto the floor harshly, hearing it crack dangerously close to where Selphie was situated. She couldn't say a word, and Squall was too shaken to even think at the moment. Yet something felt... familiar. Some type of insane deja vu that had quickly came over him in a wave. It was almost nauseating.
"Yes, Rinoa." Squall clenched and unclenched his fists. "She's out there somewhere... I'm worried about her. And Xu hasn't come back yet. She's always bright and early..." His wary tone scared him, the sound of his own voice unsteady in worry and fear. Selphie had left a little while ago to get Quistis, and now the two of them were perched at the end of Squall's table, listening intently.
"Don't worry sweetie, Daddy sent out a search for her. She'll be fine." Rinoa assured him, and then sighed. "Calm down Squall, you should get some rest. I love you." She paused.
"Love you too." Squall murmured, and hung up the phone.
"I'm sure everything will be okay." Quistis began in her Instructor like manner.
"But Xu..." Squall trailed off in his own introverted like fashion.
"Xu will come back when she feels right about it. That woman has been working day and night to keep everything in order, she needs a little bit of a rest. Trust me Squall, everything will be okay." She repeated, and turned on her heel. Selphie looked from the disheveled Headmaster to the righteous Instructor, and then shook her head, exiting to go back to her room once again.
"I just don't get it, Quis." Squall sat down in a huff, letting his cold exterior melt away. "The things she said... she just... it was like the war all over again." He lowered his gaze, and Quistis blinked at him.
"Squall, Ultimecia is dead." She hesitantly said, and strode over, putting a quaint hand on his shoulder. "She's not coming back."
"You're right." Squall stood up abruptly. "I'm going to sleep." Quistis managed a triumphant smile and they exited the office together.
"Wh, where am I?" Fujin almost laughed at the sound of her pathetic voice in the darkness that shrouded her.
"You know, you really are beautiful." A familiar flowing voice lulled her mind, put her in a peaceful state where she could not move or see, only listen and feel. "It's a shame you were cursed with the eye."
"... Eye..." Fujin managed to hiss, hatred splurging out along with the word. She didn't remember losing her eye, but the injury had outcast her as long as she could remember.
"It's alright to feel lonely, Fujin." The voice went on. "You've never been able to channel your energy quite right. But now, my sweet Fujin, you'll never be alone. Never. You're beautiful, and you will never have to be alone." Fujin's eyes opened and a shape took form before her eyes, a dark purple mass that seemed to materialize out of thin air. If that's where she was in the first place. Her breath caught in her throat as she recognized the woman from the hotel, the one whom she heard sing that fated song.
"Why did I hear you?" Fujin croaked.
"You chose to hear me."
"No... I never chose anything..." Fujin shook her head.
"From the day you were born, you chose to hear me. You chose to accept me, to be united with me." The woman's expression grew sympathetic. "And yet, you haven't even considered who I am." She made a sound of disapproval.
"Why didn't anyone else hear you?" Fujin's breathing grew heavy as she struggled to move, to try and gain some sense of understanding from this smothering place.
"Because they don't have the power to choose." The woman threw back her head and laughed. That laugh, that haunting laugh that Fujin had cackled to Squall not long ago. "You're so beautiful, Fujin. You will see, you will see so very soon." The woman began to disappear, and the silver haired woman was finally allowed out of her hold. She lunged forward, but caught nothing but air. Then suddenly she was falling, falling through the dank universe she was caught in.
Suddenly Fujin sat up, and realized she was still in the phone booth, sitting in the fetal position. Her surroundings looked strange, something was wrong with the scenery around her. She stood, and exited the booth, looking about her with wonder and awe. Things looked so much more alive, so lush and near to her senses.
"What's happening to me?" Looking to the floor of the booth, Fujin saw her eye patch strewn across the pavement.
"Daddy it's okay." Rinoa rolled her eyes and offered her father a warm hug, which he gracefully accepted. "I'm just going for a walk. I'll be back soon, okay? Just need to relax."
"Why can't you relax here?" The General's stern eyes were soft, as they had become over the past while she had been visiting. He felt his fatherly touch returning, and he reached out to protect Rinoa at every chance he got. She was a jewel to him, all he had left of his beautiful wife Julia.
"I won't be long." She smiled cutely and then hurried out into the damp night air, letting out a huge sigh. She finally let her frown show through as she thought about Squall. He had been so distressed, she had never heard him sound so uncontrolled before. It wasn't Fujin, she knew, it must be something that she wasn't aware of. Fujin and Squall had never been close at all. Something strange was going on, but she couldn't pinpoint it.
Rinoa saluted a passing soldier of her father's, and he returned it, nodding in respect. Continuing down the busy road, she came to a stop at the Galbadia Hotel. So many years ago had her mother played the piano at that very hotel, slept between the satin sheets of the suite designed for well known people. Rinoa wished she had that talent, that fame. Suddenly something caught her eye to the left of the doorway and she stepped towards the glass, seeing yellow tape strung along the lobby. Curiosity irked her, and she pushed open the door, stepping inside where a nervous secretary was answering questions.
"Miss Heartilly." One of the General's youngest soldiers, Colton, moved in front of her. "I think you should go home."
"What happened?" Rinoa raised an eyebrow, staring up at his masculine features.
"You should go home." When she didn't move, he sighed lightly. "There's been a murder, Ma'am." He gently put a hand on her shoulders, and his brow furrowed as a look of pure fear washed over Rinoa's face. Her first thought was Fujin, and she tried to get past him. "I can't let you go in there!"
"Who is it?" She clenched her jaw, panic rising in her chest. "Who was killed?"
"She's identified as Xu Reines from Balamb, Miss Heartilly." Colton kept his voice steady, knowing well that Rinoa would be acquainted with the deceased.
"WHAT?!" Rinoa shrieked, eyes growing wide with confusion. "What's Xu doing here? She's supposed to be in Timber!" She bolted to the front desk and picked up the secretary's phone, dialing Squall's number rapidly. Colton was right by her side, wanting to say something but not knowing what words to utter.
"Hello?" Squall's voice was alert, not groggy as she had expected it to be.
"Squall... I... Xu was murdered." Rinoa blurted, cringing at the expression she imagined would fall over his sweet face. "Here, in Deling."
"Wha... why was she in Deling... Xu..." Squall stammered, his thoughts all jumbling together to form something unexplainable in his mind. His eyes squeezed shut, trying to block everything from existence as he struggled to think straight.
"Actually," Colton began, trying to help Rinoa in any possible way. "The police think her body was moved here." She couldn't stop the tears as everything finally sank in. She put the phone down, allowing Colton to wrap his arms around her in a comforting fashion.
"What's going on?" She sobbed into his chest, and heard a small click as Squall's end of the line went off. He was likely contacting the Timber Hotel to ask about Xu.
"Miss? I couldn't help overhearing... you knew the victim?" A police officer tapped Rinoa on the shoulder, and she wiped her tears as best she could to help.
"Yes. I work... worked with her." She let out a deep breath, and Colton gave her arm a reassuring squeeze.
"Can you tell me anything about the past few days?" The police officer's expression was blank, showing no emotion at all.
"She was running an errand for me in Timber, with some friends I have there... my old resistance..." Rinoa clenched her throat, holding back anything that threatened to surface once again. The questions continued, nothing that she couldn't answer to the best of her ability. Finally Colton escorted her out of the building, and she began walking in the opposite direction he was heading.
"Miss Heartilly!" He jogged to catch up to her long strides, and then tried to turn her around to face him. Finally her eyes burned into his with fear, anger, and sadness all mixed together to form a glare that he almost couldn't handle.
"I need to be alone right now, Colton." She tried to keep her voice steady, and held her chin high.
"Your father likely doesn't want you out alone with what just happened." Colton argued, pursing his lips. "We're supposed to look out for you."
"Well then tell him you never saw me." Rinoa spat, hurrying away. When he tried to protest, she just repeated a yelled version of what she had previously said. Finally Colton backed off, and she ran down a side street, taking cover in an alleyway. There, she sank to her knees, letting her sorrows fall freely in rivers from her big innocent eyes. "What is all this?" She cried, pounding her fist into the pavement in anguish. "What is happening?" Sensing a presence nearby, she turned her head and brushed her raven locks from her vision as a silhouette of a well built male entered the alley.
"It will all be answered." Then, everything went black.
Squall paced back and forth, looking out over the water that Balamb smoothly floated over. The beautiful blue sea that he had always loved so much. But it wasn't the same without Rinoa to watch with him. He wished she was back there with him, to console him and help him find out what was going on. Things had gotten so strange, he just didn't know what to do anymore. Xu was dead, he had recieved some sort of message that he wouldn't be able to see anymore. Something was happening to Fujin that scared the living hell out of him. Nothing made sense at all, but somehow it all fit together. It just felt like pieces of a puzzle that fit together in a weird dark sort of way.
"Squall!" Quistis cried from his office. "Squall are you up there?" Her voice was frantic, and Squall dreaded the sound. He quickly activated the lift, and lowered himself to her distressed face.
"What's going on?" He asked tiredly. The agitation on her face showed him no mercy as she parted her perfectly painted lips to speak.
"Rinoa... she's missing." Quistis sounded hesitant, as if she were afraid to tell Squall such news. It hit him like wildfire, and she took a step back. His eyes burned with an anger she had never seen concealed in his raging heart.
"That's it." He hissed, clenching his jaw, his fists, anything that could make his body tense as a board. "(I won't sit back anymore.) I'm going to Deling. (It's not everyone else's responsibility, it's mine.) I have to find Rinoa, and Fujin, and get to the bottom of everything. (I can't hide behind anyone anymore. This is my job, my love.) Prepare the Ragnarok." He walked briskly out of the office, leaving Quistis staring open mouthed at him, surprised at his sudden change of direction. She had expected him to break down, maybe even show a little emotion. But it was worse than she had thought. He showed the wrong emotion. And now, all hell was going to break loose in Deling City.
"You don't understand me?" Fujin rasped, slamming her fist down onto the counter. She ran her fingers over the blades of her weapon lovingly, as if a mother to a child. "I need you to refine this. Now."
"Miss, I don't have access to the items needed for this, no matter how much you pay me." The clerk broke out in a cold sweat, his heart pounding so terribly he was sure she could hear it. Maybe even see his ribs pulsating with each heave.
Fujin narrowed her eyes, a look of sheer annoyance framing her features. Her attitude had increased, and so had her tolerance. If she hadn't any control at all, she would have killed the man right on the spot. Yet she needed him, needed him to remodel her baby into the fierce weapon that she needed it to be. She knew the place, the underground black market of weapon refining, and this store was a direct link to that. The clerk was playing dumb, not wanting to reveal himself in case she was with the authorities, but she knew his game. And she wanted in on it.
"Excuse me." She leaned forward, lowering her voice to a whisper. "One, I don't care how much you deny it, I know you can turn my pinwheel into a devastating piece of metal. Two, I know you have links to special illegal items needed to do so. And three... who the hell said I was paying YOU?!"
Rinoa rolled her neck, letting consciousness take her to the real world again. Her head had a light throb, not from being hit but from a powerful sleep spell that had been cast by an equally powerful man. Fear overtook her, and she wished to the heavens that she had gone straight home with Colton. She could just imagine the things that could be done to her, after what had happened to Xu...
"Don't be so tense, I'm not going to kill you." A familiar voice said, firm as a rock. Rinoa clenched up even more at the sound, and squeezed her eyes shut, hoping to awaken from a horrid dream. She struggled a little, finally noticing that her hands were bound above her head to a pipe, while she sat with her legs folded on the cement floor. She had no idea where she was, but wanted out. Especially with that man, that evil man that had shrouded her mind that summer ago.
"Why are you here?" Rinoa asked, trying to keep her voice steady and clear. He laughed at her effort, throwing his head back in that arrogant way of his.
"I need you, dear Rinoa." The way he emphasized the word dear made her cringe. She had heard that line too many times.
"Did you kill Xu?" She inquired deeply, forcing herself not to look at him. One glance into those steel quicksilver eyes would cause her to melt once again, regardless of the fact that he had her tied to an overhead pipe. He had ever ceased to captivate her, those lucious features... that belonged to a murderer. "(He must have done it. God Rinoa, stop it. Stop torturing yourself.)"
"Yes." He bluntly replied, and Rinoa let out a sob. "Don't cry. I'm not going to kill you." He repeated, but she couldn't stop. The tears weren't from that, however. It was beccause something had suddenly clicked in her brain of what was happening to her. He was going to use her for something terrible, she could feel it in the pit of her stomach. It wasn't good, it wasn't good at all. How she ached for Squall. She wanted him to embrace her, to kiss it all away.
"Please, Seifer... please just let me be..."
"(Finally...)" Fujin thought as the nervous clerk brought her around into his office in the back. Pulling a few books from a high shelf, he yanked on a hidden chain and the floor opened a hidden staircase right before her feet. He led her down winding stairways, through passages, as if in a maze. She tried to keep a mental note of where they were headed, but it was impossible. Nothing unfamiliar could find it's way out, unless it had a photographical memory.
The clerk had eventually given in to her when she threatened him enough. Her brutal strength had shown through, she let him see the power lying within her feminine physique. Sure, up close Fujin didn't look like much, but ultimately, she was the stronger person. The clerk saw that once she had argued and motioned enough, and led her down to the hugest stock of black market refining items she had ever seen. There were things everywhere, insane dangerous illegal things that Fujin had only dreamed of.
"Wh, what do you want?" The clerk bit his lip, nervous as hell that he may be found out. The woman was so strange, he couldn't tell whether she really wanted things or wanted to bust him. She was so dangerous, acted as if he was a futile creature in her presence. And, in a way, she was.
"I want fire... and electricity..." Fujin pointed at a few elementals, while also looking at an Ultima-Induced blade. "Hmm..." She rubbed her temple, peering around at the vast selection. She knew certain combinations, but her knowledge only went so far. "I want all the elements, I think. And some Ultima for my limit break..." She continued, piecing together something that the clerk had never even dreamed of creating before. The weapon might very well have been the most dangerous equipped blades to ever be. Ultimate weapons had been created before, but usually ended up confiscated, destroyed, or under military control. Fujin had something within her, something burning with desire to destroy, and she wanted the best of the best. And because he feared her so much, he gave her exactly what she wanted.
"Squall, you don't even know how to FLY the Ragnarok!" Selphie protested, but Squall kept his arm outstretched. The worried look on the thin girl's face gave a little comfort to his aching heart, but not enough to give in and let her come with him.
"I can learn." Was his simple reply, and Selphie was forced to oblige.
"You know, you're going to get yourself killed one of these days." She slapped the ignition keys into his hand and crossed her arms, cocking her head to the left.
"Not in this lifetime." Squall turned on his heel, and stalked up the ramp into the monstrous ship. He remembered a little bit of the flight instructions from the time he and Rinoa had been in the cockpit together. It wasn't that hard, and the worst that could happen would be that he'd crash the damn thing. In that case, he'd just take Garden to Deling. It might not be as fast, but it would beat waiting for the train. He sighed heavily, wondering what had become of him. A year ago, he would never have gone running away from his duties to look for a woman, let alone a woman like Rinoa. He had let himself get wrapped up in her charms, and the walls of ice around his heart melted. He cared for the girl thoroughly, but at what cost? He hoped that Quistis would be as good as Xu was at her new job. Quistis was the only other person he figured he could trust with the position, although the former instructor wouldn't be as inclined to run errands for Miss Heartilly.
Squall started up the engine, letting the ramp close up, and let out a deep breath. He could do it. He could fix everything, find Rinoa and Fujin, have a funeral for Xu, and forget about the Sorceresses for once. He needed down time, as Quistis had said. Xu needed down time too, and he saw what happened to her.
"(Alright, let's see what we're made of.)" Squall lifted off, shooting up into the sky full speed, pressing him back against the seat.
"(I'll get you, I promise.)" Seifer leaned his head back against the wall of the windowsill he was perched on, staring out at the desolate alley he had so suddenly taken Rinoa from. He wasn't even planning on taking her that early, but she just popped up, and it was too good a chance to miss. He took a long drag of his cigarette, crystal eyes glinting in the moonlight. Things weren't happening as smoothly as he'd have liked. Being obliged to travel to Deling right away, he had to bring Xu's body with him to make sure that the transformation had become complete. After her mark disappeared, he knew that the fated essence had left her completely. Dumping her in the hotel wasn't the least conspicuous thing he could have done, but it would drag the attention away from Rinoa for a time. It would be smart to leave Deling with her, but the newest contaminant was in the City. He had to find her, and quickly. "(Why can't I feel you? Usually I can sense where you are at one exact moment. I know you're here, but it's jumbled.)"
Seifer heard a soft moan, and saw Rinoa moving in her sleep. Her raven hair shifted and revealed her troubled expression. She didn't look to be having a very pleasant dream.
"Squall..." She murmured, and Seifer furrowed his brow. He stared at her, eyes running over her distressed features and down to her mature figure that had been his that summer so long ago. Now it was for the 'valiant hero'.
"It's always Leonhart." He hissed, quietly jumping down and crossing the secluded room to her. He knelt, and stared at her head on. "This time, it won't be about Squall. (It's about me.) You used to love me, Rinoa. And though you don't now, you'll still have to pass her into me." He reached out, stroking her cheek. "You're the virgin sorceress."
Fujin had named it Abolisher. A fitting name for what she was going to do with it. No, not Fujin. The soul leveling up inside of her. The evil etched upon her very being that was slowly controlling her, and it was hard to keep battling it. And now it had created an ultimate weapon, something that would devastate the hearts of many. It's many elemental blades whooshed through the air, as if cutting existence itself. After spending many hours with the store clerk, it was finally done. With her last shred of Fujin, she had paid him a hefty amount of gil for it, and walked out of the store with dread in her heart. It was the only part of her still pure.
'Sweet Fuu, don't frown so. This will be for the good of humanity...' The voice of that evil woman echoed in the silver haired warrior's head. 'Abolisher suits you well, you know.'
"Don't speak to me." Fujin shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut and leaning against a tree standing near the General's house.
'Take a good look at the sky, Fujin.' The voice wafted, with no hint of amusement left. 'It's the last time it will be this colour. Next time you rest your eyes on it, the sunset shades will turn a blood red. An omen of the coming darkness, the torture that shall befall the human race.'
"Why do you want this?" Fujin's lip quivered, in a way she had always called weak. It disgusted her, the show of her inner softness that she would never admit to having.
'I don't, Fuu.' The mocking tone was back in the splitting voice. 'You do. Don't you ever wonder why you seek the Knight? You think it's lust, but it is far deeper than that. Your fate draws you to him... because you will kill him.' Fujin stepped back, nearly slipping and falling down behind the tree. The words cut into her deeply, and she shook her head.
"I... I'd never kill Seifer." She rubbed her temples harshly, allowing Abolisher to sound a clear thunk in the grass. Her own voice sounded far away, and it frightened her.
'Yes, you will.' The voice began to laugh, and Fujin shook her head, trying to rid herself of the voice. She wanted to scream, cry, and hurt someone all at the same time, but did none. She fell to her knees, and finally let sobs overtake her. In all her hopelessness, Fujin cried tears of blood.
Squall's hands gripped the steering so tightly his knuckles were white. He concentrated on the nearing horizon, the land before him that belonged to Galbadia. To get into Deling as soon as possible, he'd have to set down illegally on the plains instead of going through the normal checks on the way into the country. And on another note, Squall was not a pilot.
It was a bumpy landing, but he managed enough not to kill himself or damage the aircraft. Deling was just over the hill he used for cover, and as soon as he departed the ramp, Squall took off full speed towards it through the grass. He could see Rinoa's face, hear her voice, she was so close to him. Yet so far, and he didn't even know where to start looking. All that he was driving on was love, determination, and the iron will of the Lion Heart within him.
Rinoa shivered, feeling a chill run down her frail spine. It wasn't cold, on the contrary, it was sweltering in the small dark room. She nearly jumped out of her skin as Seifer came thundering into the room, slamming the door harshly behind him.
"FUCK!" He cursed loudly, causing Rinoa to curl up in fear. Seifer was known to be abusive when angry, and she didn't want to be at the receiving end of any more pain, physical or emotional. "No matter WHAT I do... why can't I FIND you?!" He reeled back and rammed his clenched fist into the wall, causing a few bricks to crack. However, his knuckles were in worse shape, and began to bleed profusely in rivulets of warm moistness on his skin. Yet in his own Seifer like way, he ignored the pain and let out a deep breath. "This isn't easy." The soft comment was directed at Rinoa, who relaxed a little at his more gentle tone.
"You're not the only one feeling that way." She chanced telling him. "I don't even know what's going on." It was true. She felt lost, and confused, and afraid of what Seifer was going to do to her when he found whomever he was looking for. He shifted his weight, and his eyes fluttered open, revealing two deep blue irises that had captured her so long ago. Uttering a deep growl, his whole expression became one of hatred, and Rinoa nearly recoiled from the electricity in his sharp stare.
"I'm going to kill Ultimecia." The blunt statement caused Rinoa to start quaintly.
"What?!" The word flew from her lips in all her shock. "But isn't she-"
"Dead?" Seifer threw back his head and laughed. "Only in the physical sense, Miss Heartilly. Ultimecia has been leaping around into people, all women, since Time Compression. Her soul is still very much alive, and I am tracking her down to kill her." His brow furrowed and his face became hard again.
"Then Xu..." Rinoa trailed off in disbelief.
"Yes. You see, every time I kill the host, she simply jumps to another person. And because she once controlled me, her essence is still there. She is able to contact me, and I am able to know exactly where she is." He crossed his arms in a very Squall like manner.
"So you've just been killing all these people..." Rinoa found herself unable to finish any of her thoughts, due to her mind swirling around all over the place.
"It's necessary, trust me." Seifer sighed. He looked off to the far wall, and his eyes showed he was thinking deeply about something unknown to Rinoa.
"What about me?" She finally worked up the courage to ask, and he hesitated before answering her.
"To actually kill Ultimecia's spirit, I need to battle her in my mind. But she only leaps into women for the sole reason of accidentally leaping into me. I can't rightly go and kill every woman on the planet, now can I?" He chuckled, but Rinoa didn't find it the least bit amusing. "To pass her into myself, I need to force her in. The only way to do that is through intercourse." Rinoa paled tremendously, and it seemed as if her heart had completely stopped beating. Seifer didn't notice, or he was simply ignoring it, because he continued. "There is only one person that can withstand that kind of deep magic without dying and allowing Ultimecia to leap to another woman." Tears had begun to flow down Rinoa's fair cheeks silently.
"... Me?" She breathed, the word barely a whisper. Seifer nodded solemnly.
"A virgin sorceress."
"I need to see the General." Squall was out of breath, and the guard standing at the entrance eyed him suspiciously. "It's important." He ran a shaky hand through his silky hair once, trying to regain his calm, collected stature for Rinoa's father.
"You have to receive a pin number from-" The guard began.
"No, I don't have time for that." Squall furrowed his brow. "I know you're just doing your job, but this is urgent and I need to speak with him right away."
"I'm sorry, but the pin number-"
"FUCK the pin number!" Squall unsheathed his gunblade, and in a swift movement, the guard was left standing there with his pants around his ankles. His face reddened, but he took one look at Lionheart and then paled lighter than Rinoa's fair shade of soft skin.
"You-you..." He stammered, and then edged aside. "Enter... sir." More than a little frustrated, his own fear for his beloved driving him, Squall didn't even bother resheathing his weapon as he entered the mansion. Storming into the study, he saw General Caraway nearly jump out of his skin at the angered young man storming his home.
"What the-" Caraway narrowed his eyes at the gunblade that was still in Squall's hand.
"Why aren't you doing anything to find Rinoa?!" The disheveled SeeD clenched his free fist, staring sharply at Rinoa's father.
"H, how can you say that?" Caraway sat down in a huff, blankly staring upwards as his eyes became soft. "My daughter... she means the world to me..."
"You're simply here all alone, doing absolutely NOTHING." Squall didn't back down, and the harsh words flew from his mouth before he could stop them. "I flew a ship that I don't even know how to fly and illegally landed here so I could look for her. Why are you just SITTING here?!" Drawing in deep breaths from exasperation, Squall stopped, letting Lionheart fall to the carpet. He took his temples in his fingers, rotating them slowly to create a short massage that soothed his aching mind for a moment. When he opened his eyes, Caraway was still staring at the ceiling in remorse.
"What can I do?" He inquired softly. "I have men searching for her... but it seems as if she's disappeared... my dearest daughter..." Then his eyes slid closed and he leaned forward, bending down over his knees. This was completely unlike the General that Squall had argued with long ago. He was now a broken man, having lost his wife and potentially his daughter. Squall felt a pang of pity strike his heart, which was unlike him. Rinoa had obviously had a softening effect on both of them.
"I'm going to find her." Squall bent down and recovered his beloved weapon, sliding it into his sheath with a metallic gliding noise. "I promise."
Fujin sat, her stomach rumbling in anger at her. She refused to eat or drink, only to sit and wait. The evil inside her couldn't possibly win, she just couldn't. Fujin felt as if she was losing control, but with the little control she had left, she wanted to destroy the bitch that was trying to rule her body.
'Na´ve girl, you are.' The voice was still with her. It's mocking tone was a little weaker than last time, because Fujin herself had grown weaker. She still sat atop the hill, watching the sky as it's shades grew a deeper crimson by the minute.
"How am I na´ve?" Fujin swallowed audibly, even though it ached her dry throat.
'If you die, I will just move on. Where did you think I came from, dearest Fujin? Thin air?' A small cackle. 'You can't destroy me. There is only one who can. But you will destroy him first.' Seifer. The name slipped through Fujin's mind like melting ice, and she felt her heart wrench at her vision of him.
"I'd never... destroy... Seifer." She protested, blinking softly.
'You STUPID little girl!' The voice suddenly became full of rage. 'Why can't you see what's been staring you in the face this entire time? Why do you think I can overtake you, Fujin? You're not like other people.' The last sentence was soft, almost melancholy. It sent a chill through Fujin, as she pondered what it could possibly mean. Then it hit her. Like a tidal wave, the memory came to her of the burning power she had felt white hot inside of her after Squall and his crew had gone through Time Compression.
"That means..." She trailed off, unable to voice the words. The sky seemed to flash burgundy at her sudden realization, as if mirroring her own emotions.
'Yes, Fujin.' The voice was pleased. 'You are a sorceress.'
"B, but how?" Fujin stumbled over her words, tearing a handful of grass out of the soil and squeezing it in her hand violently. "Whose powers did I... acquire?" She hesitated, biting her lip.
'Mine, of course.' A pause. 'My soul may still be living, but the sorceress powers don't grasp that. Now that I've found them again, I can spawn inside of you.' A pert laugh.
"No. No, I won't let you." Fujin licked her lips, attempting to put even a little moisture back, but to no avail. She hadn't consumed any liquid in a long while, and her mouth was desiccated.
'There's nothing you can do, dear Fujin.' The voice had it's mocking tone back, and it chilled her to the bone. 'Nothing but wait.'
"There is something." Fujin laid back in the grass, and concentrated on that burning fire that was still within her. Ignoring the agonizing cries of her stomach, and the dryness that overwhelmed her senses, she cast her mind to that red flame of eternal power that had been passed to her so long ago. "There is something."
Seifer woke with a start. He felt her. Ultimecia. He sensed her inside, but this time something was different. Something was protecting her. He looked up to Rinoa's innocent stare, and then bolted over to her, grasping her face in his hands. She shrieked, fear overtaking her as his expression became that of a rabid animal ready to attack.
"Have you been harboring her?!" He yelled, causing her to wince in a panicked frenzy. "Why did you hide her from me?!" His voice was so loud, and so piercing, that tears started to cascade down Rinoa's fair cheeks.
"I don't know what you're talking about!" She pathetically squeaked.
"You're lying!" Seifer slammed her against the wall once. Twice. She cried out in pain as his strength bruised her fragile body. "She's inside of you and you've been hiding it!" His antagonism blazed, and Rinoa shook with fright.
"I don't know!" She shrieked, in a rapid attempt to save herself. "I... I don't know anything..." The sobs prevented her from speaking, and suddenly Seifer sat back, breathing heavily.
"She's inside a sorceress... hiding... but now I can sense her..." A sudden expression of realization came over his face as he felt another wave. His eyes closed in surprise as Fujin came to his mind, speaking so rapidly he couldn't understand her. Her voice came out as pure mumbles, it sounded so alien he didn't know how to respond. The power emanating from her was real, however, and he understood enough. "Fuu..." Seifer's eyes opened, and he looked up at the ceiling in regret. Rinoa was still sobbing, less violently but it still shook her. He turned, feeling no pity but not wanting to hurt her without reason, and untied her wrists. They were raw from her struggles, but that was her own fault. She curled up her knees, and hugged them, burying her face and letting her tears soak her battered clothing. Fujin's figure was gone from Seifer's mind, but he felt her essence melded with Ultimecia's. That meant that Fujin was a sorceress, and Ultimecia was maturing inside of her. "Oh Fuu... I... I never thought I'd have to do this to you..."
Squall ran, in more of a frenzy than before. His guts were twisting this way and that, giving him the deep premonition that something terrible was going to happen. And Rinoa was involved. For some unknown reason, he knew that, and it drove him to the peak of town where a park lay. He stared to the left where a large hill thrust up to the sky, a lone tree standing, protecting a silver haired woman with her arms spread like an eagle. Her head thrown back, and her expression agonized, as the sky changed deep colours of burgundy and blood. He was frozen in place and his jaw dropped as he witnessed Fujin calling out to the sky, the wind, the earth, everything, to conjure something that felt so horrible in the pit of Squall's stomach. But he knew he was powerless to stop it, and it frightened even the Lion heart.
Within moments, Seifer was out on the street, dragging a shaky Rinoa behind him. His walk was brisk, and she could barely stagger after him as he dragged her along by the back of her blue sweater. She was confused, but praying with all her soul that someone would find her while they were wandering, someone to help her. She was unable to scream, the crying had dulled her voice and she couldn't even speak. Seifer purposefully stalked through the streets, every now and again stopping to sense which way to go. They made it out of the dense town and towards a more natural area of dark plain. Looking up to the top of the hill where the lone tree stood, and Fujin offered herself to the heavens. To his left, he saw the dark figure of a man, but ignored it. There was no threat greater than the beautiful one spread before him. Dropping a panting Rinoa, Seifer began up the hill.
"Rinoa!" The darkened man came out, nearly crushing Rinoa as he grabbed her, clutching her to his chest. It was Squall, the Headmaster himself, and Rinoa began to cry once again, surprised that there was enough moisture left in her eyes. He hushed her, cooing soothing things in her ears as he praised the gods for allowing her to be safe. Seifer ignored them both, and focused all of his attention on the sorceresses themselves. They were battling each other, battling for control and survival.
When he was just behind her, Fujin lowered her arms, and turned to look at him, an award winning smirk on her face.
"Seifer, you have been very naughty, betraying me." The voice was husky, unlike Fujin at all. It had the air of dread that Seifer had been waiting to hear in person for a very long time. He was facing her finally. "Now is the time."
Fujin narrowed her eyes, total evil whirling behind them and chilling Seifer to the bone. How he missed Fujin, the great times he and his posse had shared. And now he had to do the unspeakable. He knew that Fujin was a virgin, she was too self conscious of herself to even consider having sex. Most of the men she met were so intimidated that they were afraid to approach her anyway.
"Fuu..." Seifer stammered, for once in his life feeling a deep sorrow inside of him. Her powers were churning, he could feel her anger boiling and the way she cast out her aura at him allowed him full access to her heated power. She blinked once, and a tear slipped down her cheek. Sorceress or not, her heart was still pure and the single rivulet bore it to him. The next series of events were a blur to his racing mind.
A whiz past his head as her deadly weapon flipped through the air.
A clash as Hyperion was drawn, striking forward as Abolisher hit it's path.
Fujin's cry as she leapt forward.
The skies swirling above in all Ultimecia's wrath.
Seifer's eyes softening as he struck out at her.
Fujin's eyes softening as her heart felt the slice on her chest more than any other part of her body.
Suddenly it seemed as if time slowed down. Hyperion had made a deep cut from Fujin's shoulder blade to her opposite breast, and she fell to the ground, dropping Abolisher and hiding her eyes in her hands. Seifer stood above her for a moment, reveling in the presence of her after all the time that had been stolen from them. He kicked her weapon aside, a forgotten memento in the long path of her troubled life. With a swift movement, he sheathed his gunblade into the soil, the small chained cross dangling. Seifer slowly got to his knees, gently pulling Fujin's hands away from her face. Her expression hit him like a bullet, it was full of innocent fire that licked at his regrets purposefully. He kissed her forehead lightly, and then her cheek.
"I'm sorry, Fuu." He whispered, and then slammed her down onto the grass with all his strength. She was weakened, and no matter how much Ultimecia struggled, Fujin tried to keep still as he tore her pants from her.
Seifer cradled her body lovingly as he penetrated her.
Fujin screamed in agony as her purity was finally taken from her.
Ultimecia thrashed as her essence was being pulled from the sorceress she needed to spawn in.
She cursed Fujin in all her weakness.
Fujin, in turn, threw her head back and cried for the heavens to spare her the morose intense pain that was overtaking her as Ultimecia was yanked from her very soul.
As Seifer climaxed, Fujin's eyes rolled back into her head and she fell limp in his arms. He was thrown back from the impact of having Ultimecia passed into his body. It felt as if she was throwing herself around in his ribcage, and then slipped up into his brain.
'I am going to kill you, my naughty knight.' She firmly spat, and he got to his feet, opening his arms as the skies began to thunder. Black lightning littered the roof of the world as Seifer concentrated. His essence slid from his body, as well as Ultimecia's, and they were both thrown up into the storms, into a place that neither of them had ever dreamed of.
There he stood, before her, this time not kneeling or worshipping her. He felt the strongest malice towards her, never had his heart been so sure of it's emotions.
"I was banking on her killing you." Ultimecia sneered, her beautiful figure posed before him in a stature of a murderer.
"Fujin could never kill me." Seifer hissed through clenched teeth, reaching for his blade. He was more than a little surprised to find Abolisher on his belt, and looked it over in his hand.
"Well, Seifer, you could never kill me." Ultimecia tossed back her head and arms, offering herself to him. "I would like you to try. Then you will see that I was destined to rule this petty world of you petty mortals." The storm around them didn't seem to affect either of the two.
A deafening roll of thunder.
An ebony flash of black lightning.
Seifer's abhorrence centered, and he felt a surge of ethereal power go through his veins. He clutched Fujin's weapon in his right hand, and closed his eyes, praying to Hyne for the strength he needed. Harsh green light began to swirl around the weapon, and he leapt forward, lashing out at the one woman whom he had detested for so long. Her mind squeezed his veins, causing him to nearly recoil with discomfort. It suddenly felt as if she were clawing at his very brain with her razor sharp fingernails, tearing apart the fragile flesh on the inside. But he couldn't give up. He hadn't waited for so long just to back down and give in to Ultimecia's mind blowing power. With slash after slash, he felt the warm green enfold himself. With one final surge of energy, he rammed the fated weapon into Ultimecia's throat, finally letting go of it. As she fell forward, he caught her, clutching her. The screams echoed through the dark air, the shrill cries for mercy in the last breaths of his victim. She struggled, and the blood oozed out of her collarbone wound with each pump of her barely beating heart. Each yell was curdled with the liquid rising in her throat, and he just smiled down at her. Smiled at her tiny form writhing in his arms, straining for any life she could possibly wrench from her dying body.
"Sleep, princess. Sleep." He whispered as she took her last ragged breath.
Seifer was thrown back into his body almost as quickly as he had left, and he peered around, watching the storm above seem to fold into itself. The lighting formed a black curtain around the blood stained heavens, and soon all that was left was a black night littered with stars. Hearing a moan, he turned his attention to Fujin, who was stirring out of her unconscious state. He rushed to her side, noting that Hyperion was still sticking out of the ground.
"Seifer..." She allowed him to help her sit up, and looked up into the starlit night. "What... did you...?"
"I killed her, Fuu." Seifer held her close, his dearest friend. Oh, how he had taken her for granted in the past, but now she was here, and he had saved her from the greatest evil of all. "She's gone for good, now."
"Thank you..." Fujin whispered, leaning her head into his chest. "... I couldn't fight her..." Her breaths were ragged, and he kissed her forehead lovingly.
"You did everything you could." He assured her. "I destroyed her soul... she's not coming back ever again." He stroked her hair, and looked down as she began to sob. He wondered if it was something he had done, and loosened his grip on her a little.
"I... I thought I'd never see you again..." She sniffled lightly, her emotions finally showing through.
"Your speech, Fuu." Seifer raised an eyebrow. "And your eye-"
"I love you, Seifer." Fujin's voice was weak from loss of blood.
"I love you too." He lifted her up into his strong arms, and walked back into town.
Post-Fic Author's Note: Well, that's it! Those of you wanting an epilogue, I was thinking of writing a short one... but I'm not exactly sure if it would be that interesting. Just review, and tell me what you think!