Crimson Lies Chapter 15
And all your deeds and words,
Each truth, each lie,
Die in unjudging love.
For the first time, Rinoa didn't know what to say. No longer did her body or mind feel upset, instead, an unnatural calm had taken over. She looked down at him, still at the foot of the chair. His brown hair was within her grasp. She wanted nothing more than to reach down and run her hands through it. Remembering how every strand felt in her fingers, and against her bare skin.
"Squall," her voice cracked with hesitation. "I melted some snow for water over there in the kettle. Also they have some soap if you need to clean up."
Looking up at her, their eyes locked for a moment. She was the first to look away, closing them tightly.
"I I can't talk anymore about this right now. I just need something to eat."
"Rinoa, I have other questions for "
"Stop. Okay. Please, right now just stop for a while. I need some time to think about things. This is happening so fast. Two years and nothing. Now you show up in the middle of nowhere and I'm supposed to understand?"
"Rinoa, trust me, I don't understand either. But if you want to wait until later, I'll be here."
"Yeah. I kind of figured as much," she said not showing much emotion either way. "I'm going to find some dinner."
Rinoa stood up from the chair, brushing past him. Never once looking back, she started going through the cupboards, finding some cans, and setting them loudly on the counter. He watched her, every move. The way she opened the cabinet doors, the way her fingers wrapped around the metal handles. Everything was so familiar, a feeling he had long forgotten. It was always the simple things with her, like dinner.
Knees cracking, he stood up and walked to the kitchenette area. Squall started searching some drawers under the counter. Without a solitary word, she opened the drawer closest to her and handed him the can opener. He took it and opened the can as she set a bowl next to him. Again, without a word he held out a coffee can as she shut another set of cupboard doors. As she was about to ask him to hand her the coffee, he had already set in front of her. She looked at the can for a moment, then back to him.
At that instant she realized what they had been doing, what they had always done. Neither needed to say anything, the other always one-step ahead. While technically she had not lived with him, it came close. They were doing a dance, a dance of timing and movement that only two people who knew each other better than they knew themselves could do.
He searched her eyes, knowing what she was thinking, "It's been along time."
"Yeah," she replied softly. "Yeah, a really long time. Not Again, Squall I'm not going to do this. I can't go through this again. Please go over there and check the fireplace. It's a getting colder out, might want to put another log on the fire."
"Yeah, fine, whatever," he chided.
Sometimes one has a moment they wish they could take back. A turning point so drastic they would replay the moment repetitively in their mind. Squall Leonhart had many, now he would add another one to the long list of flaws a list that ostensibly grew by the minute. Something simple. Something he did every day. Never once thinking of the consequence, never once calculating the outcome.
Without a second thought, he took his gloves off.
She had been busy at first and had not paid attention to his actions. His coat had been taken off during the earlier incident of the accidentally stabbing. Now that Squall regained feeling in hands, he figured to warm them for a moment by the fire. Something so simple something he forgot.
However, when he turned to ask her a question, she dropped the coffee mugs in her hand. Not saying a word, just staring at him with resentment. He felt the daggers in his chest, but for the life of him could not figure out why. She slowly took a step away, never turning around, and never lifting her gaze from him. She continued the few steps back until she hit the partition wall.
The first thought that entered his mind was she had been injured. Her normal flesh tone hues left her beautiful face, all color draining from her cheeks. He stepped over the broken shards of the ceramic mugs, cautiously avoiding the spilled liquid.
An expression of trepidation covered his face, and that carried into his voice.
"Rinoa are you okay? What's wrong?"
As he grew near, Squall attempted to offer his hand in support. That's when it hit him, as she followed his hand to her shoulder, acting as if it were toxic poison. Fuck. After all that had happened, after he attended the delegate meeting in Deling, outward appearances were everything. In protecting Quistis and their marital relationship, he forgot about one minor detail. His wedding ring. Her eyes now focused on the band that surrounded his ring finger.
"Oh Hyne Rinoa, it's not what you think. Please let me explain."
The words hurt to say, but she had to know the answer. She asked the most painful words ever uttered, "Are you married?"
"Yes, Rinoa. But it's "
"No," she spat. "I think you have done enough, thank you. Get the hell away from me."
"I'm not leaving. Can we talk about this?"
"Shit Squall what do you want to talk about? You're fucking married. What else is there to say? Just leave."
"I had to Rinoa; I needed to stay at Garden."
"What? Since when did Garden require you to be married to live there?"
He tried again to reassure her. Attempting again to close the barrier between them, he placed his hand delicately on her upper arm. Knocking it off with tremendous force, she glimpsed fleetingly at him. Eyes full of hurt, even he could see torment. Rinoa slid down the wall, until she ended up sitting on the floor, knees to her chest. A position she found herself in a lot, a position that showed her desperate need for comforting. Like a child from their mother, yet she had no mother in this world, no father who could hold her, and the person who gave her the most comfort, now gave her the most pain.
"Rinoa damn it. It's not at all, what you are thinking I had to. I was going to lose my command; the council didn't trust me to find you. I had to try to show them I moved on, still competent of doing my job. If it wasn't I who found you Rinoa they would have slaughtered you on sight. I I couldn't allow that to happen."
"As opposed to killing me gradually? Thank you for your concern Commander Leonhart. Why why didn't you tell me the truth? Ever. If you didn't want to marry me back then, just goddamn say it. If you didn't want me I really thought you," her voice wavered with hesitation before continuing. "I really thought you loved me."
Instead of the worry about explaining the farce of a marriage, Squall found himself in a far more grave situation she not only didn't trust him, she doubted his feelings. Something he tried to deny, but never doubted. He wanted nothing more than to hold her, comfort her, and make the last two years evaporate from both their memories. But, Squall knew that could never happen, even the GF's couldn't erase such agony. This time no matter how much he was pushed away, she was going to listen. He kneeled down, reassuringly grasping for her tender shoulders. She started to push him off; this time he maintained his ground.
"Damn you Rinoa you can say a lot of things I know how severely I wounded you. But don't you ever, ever, doubt how I felt about you. Your memory was the reason I continued living. Your face was the first I pictured as the dawn broke, the last image I held before the nightmares began. Do you remember your final words to me that day? You told me 'go to hell.' You got your wish, damn it. Rinoa Heartilly you can tell me repeatedly of the mistakes I made the pain I caused you caused everyone. But, don't you ever tell me that I didn't love you. That's all I had it's all I ever had or ever wanted. You."
This time she did not cry, would not cry. Something deep inside her snapped something she didn't even know existed, something that could only come from two years of living hell. Repressing anger towards all whom wronged her, all whom betrayed her. A feeling so packed with deep routed resentment, or jealousy, that it filled her entire being and could not subside. For two years, she had been controlled by Richard Bennett, a feeling she loathed. The same control she once ran from, her father a military General. Now the tables were turned in her mind, she would no longer let Squall Leonhart control her if only in her mind.
It was the same feeling that drove Ultimecia and Adel into the blackness of evil. It was, in fact, a sorceress whose spirit had been broken from the knight who swore to protect it. No force in the world was more chaotic or treacherous; no force more deadly or malevolent than the power controlling her thoughts. Her soul. For in that moment, she was no longer Rinoa Heartilly, but transformed back into distorted version of Renee Bennett. A form that was tired of being the victim, and in this instance in time she was the one in control.
No force more manipulative.
The image of Squall married, to someone else, was enough to push her to the limits of sanity. The sanity stolen by time, by control by him. The changes were not only in her mind, but also on the most insignificant of physical levels. Albeit they were small changes. That is, if one was not looking for the metamorphous, it could be completely missed. Her eyes remained brown, not turning to amber hues, that sign would be too obvious. Instead, they clouded, like her mind. In the fire lit room, it was impossible to tell, unless looking directly into the light. Her entire demeanor turned from a defensive position to that of offensive.
In this case, however, she would show her dominance the best way she could. Power. Not by attacking, not by hitting, but by giving the one thing it would almost be impossible for him to resist. Her. Taking the control from his body, his mind. By showing that even if he was married, she still was in jurisdiction of his desires. It was a curse for a sorceress, when negative emotions controlled her actions. Lines between reality and fantasy blurred as had they done with Richard.
It was a mixture of lust and passion, of control and power.
He never knew what hit him.
One minute he was explaining his reasoning behind the sham marriage, the next minute she was pulling him into her body. From the kneeling position he had been talking in, Squall was unable to maintain balance with the vigor of her motions. The feeling of her grabbing his neck and pulling him toward her until their lips met. He knew at that instant something was wrong, but the sensation was so astonishing, so longed for, he momentarily lost reasoning and returned the kiss equally as passionate.
Quistis stood in the boulevard, unexpectedly losing all sense of reality. Her fingertips numb, through the warm woolen gloves. Her mind racing, attempting to grasp the concept of Squall being suspected of murder. A murder in cold blood, a gruesome testament to human nature. A notion so horrendous that she wanted to quickly dismiss the thought but given circumstances, or at least what they suspected, the thought lingered.
Seifer being the one less emotional of the two, at least as far as outward appearances were concerned, tried to rationalize the situation. Could Squall be capable of murder? Yes. Given the correct circumstances, the right emotions, and of course the thought of anyone hurting Rinoa yes. It would be the duty of any knight to fight for their sorceress, a bond not governed by laws of man.
However, Seifer also knew one simple fact; Squall Leonhart did not murder Councilman Bennett. There is a price to honor, to defending the valor of the one's we love. If the commander had been guilty, he would have not run. He was too proud. He had honor. No matter the situation or emotion, murder would be committed as a final, desperate resort when conventional means failed. If Squall had done committed the crime, it was self-defense and he simply would not have fled the scene. He was innocent.
"Lauren, please tell who ever is in charge of the investigation that Mrs. Leonhart has been notified of the circumstances and will be there shortly. Neither of us has had contact with her husband, and ergo, do not know his whereabouts," he tried to sound as professional as possible. Maintaining his cover just got a lot more complex.
Lauren saluted the two, only Seifer returned the gesture, Quistis still in a state of shock. Seifer watched as the SeeD walked toward the mansion. For a moment he looked at his childhood friend, he could feel her torment. She wanted to believe Squall innocent; she wanted to have faith in him more than that, a small part wanted him to have done an act with such passion for her. In her mind if Squall had murdered Bennett, it was out of love. The deep love he felt for Rinoa, the love men would die for. The love that was truly lost to her at least from that man. Even if Quistis didn't know it, somebody did love her, even if that person didn't know it yet. Or, wouldn't admit it.
He pushed emotion back into the recess of his mind; it was something he was good at. Resentment and hatred are easy to show, but expressing something as problematical as love is, can be the hardest task one ever completes. Now was not the time to be mulling over such feelings, more pressing issues had to be dealt with. He reached his hand over to her back, she jumped at the contact. He could feel her body tense initially, and then relax after a moment of being acquainted to the calming sensation.
"Quistis, I know what you're thinking he didn't do it. So put those thoughts out of your mind. I know your making a checklist in your head, weighing both options your heart doesn't want to believe it, but the logical mind of a trained SeeD is casting doubt. Don't doubt your heart. Ever. If he is gone, it's because she needed him. I know it is hard to hear I know that even if you tried to think it was over, the hope of time was always in the back of your mind. Quistis, this is how it is supposed to be."
Now matter how much she understood that it was over, vows were something she had taken seriously. Or as seriously as she could, knowing the circumstances. Yes, she was in shock. Shock that he was accused of the crime, shock that Rinoa had been here all this time, and most of all shock from the fact it didn't hurt nearly as much as she thought it would.
She spoke confidently, "I know Seifer. Thank you, thank you for everything. He wouldn't have left unless there was a reason I guess now I'm worried about them, if they are together. What would cause them to leave, and more importantly, how do we get them back? Safe. I owe that to her, to him."
"Well first of all you need to go the crime scene and see what you can find out; make sure they believe you are open minded on his guilt. They will use that against you, trying to distance you from the investigation. If it comes down to it, as against your principles as it may be, agree with their foolhardy theories."
"What do you mean me? Where are you going oh yeah," she realized the consequences of his walking strait into a murder investigation. "Brilliant one Quistis ask the wanted man why he doesn't want to talk to the authorities," she mused to herself.
Reaching for the chain around her neck, she remembered the torment on Squall's face when he gave her the Griever pendant; both in from the misery he caused her and Rinoa. Rinoa if she was around that would mean they might run into each other again. How does one apologize for changing the course of the universe, trying to stop the sun from setting denying a love that was decided by fate?
"Do you think she is going to hate me?"
"Honestly, I don't think she is going to like you too much," he tried to say with a hint of playfulness in his voice, yet he was extremely serious.
She tried to smile wryly at him, yet her attempts failed. "Yeah," she spoke melodiously, "that won't rank right up there with the top moments in my life but I have to face her. I guess I'm glad that I might have the opportunity."
Seifer, on the other hand, had no difficulty in smiling in awkward moments. He grinned as he spoke to her, "Now that's my girl go get 'em." He leaned into her giving her a small peck on the cheek; when his warm lips met her tender skin she couldn't help but smile. When she didn't pull away, he tried his luck with giving her a quick kiss on the lips. This time her attempt at a smile was a success.
All his nights of dreaming, fantasying about her, all his daydreams for two years were now in his grasp. Two years of restraining his passion had built up; he was in emotional turmoil. His body wanted nothing more than to carry the moment out to the end, when he could feel her bare skin against his once again. However, his heart, his heart knew that it was not Rinoa it was nothing more than an attempt to show supremacy. This would not be making love, it would be more vile, no emotion contained within the act. This would be no more than fucking a girl he met a bar. She was more than that, he was more than that, they were more than that.
Then why the hell couldn't he stop?
His heart was pleading for him to; this was nothing short of emotional rape. Rinoa was not herself right now; she was not in control of her actions. He had seen this before, they all had. When she first gained her sorceress abilities, she could not control herself, randomly casting spells in anger; that had put them into more than one sticky situation. This was no different. For the anger was not in battle, it was directed at him. The power was weakening the foe the best way it could, natural human desires. His desires, his needs. Her.
Within the turmoil, he never stopped feverishly returning the kisses; she used her strength pushing him onto the floor. He was easy to manipulate right now. In her opinion, men can be so weak. He couldn't help giving in as she climbed on top of him, pressing her body tightly against his applying more pressure to certain areas. In her mind, she was well aware of what her actions were doing. Moreover, in his, she was doing it very well.
For a instant, he opened his eyes, trying frantically to push the pleasurable feelings away. Feelings he thought were long departed, feelings he thought would never be experienced again. His heart was losing the battle with his brain. She knew it.
Trailing kisses down his neck and collarbone, she could hear his breathing rapidly increase. The power within her growing stronger with every breath, every moan. She reached down trying to rip his shirt off. Almost in an animal like fashion, she was attacking and he was the weakened prey. The tables were turned, the last two years now insignificant to the power she was wielding from her body.
She could hear the muffled moans as she kissed his chest, caressing him in ways he long forgot. This time he reached up to her grabbing her shirt and pulling it over her head. Regretting any moment of lost contact between them. No longer was he the docile creature, he now was becoming the aggressor, and with that, her victory would be won. He sat up never breaking their lips and the hunger contained within. His heart tried to reason that after all the pain they deserved this moment together. They had done this hundreds of times before, each a memory that he longed to recreate. He rubbed her shoulders, feeling the electricity of each second. Running his hand along her back to undo the strap of the bra. He forcefully pulled her into his body then she screamed.
No, not in pleasure, but in pain. He knew the difference. The sound brought him back into a reality that his body didn't want to be a part of but his heart was stronger than his body right now. She was in pain. He broke the contact, although she tried desperately to maintain the momentum they had been building up. Squall fought her, in a sense, he fought himself.
"Rinoa!" he demanded. She continued trying to fight him. "Stop it Rinoa. Just stop it. Rinoa this isn't you. Please Please." His voice softened and he looked into her eyes, "Rinoa please stop this, it's not what you want."
The pupils of her eyes faded from cloudy brown to the clear brown eyes he
those were the ones he wanted to make love to. Slowly her
expression changed from angry to bewildered
"Squall what? What happened?"
Rinoa looked like a scared child; he wanted to be the one to comfort her. Right now, he would be the last thing she needed. That killed him. He lay onto his back wishing she would get off his waist; that not helping the problem or his concentration.
"You um well I Rinoa it wasn't you. It was like when you first learned Angel Wing, you were not controlling your actions. I'm sorry I should have never let it get this far."
She looked into his eyes, just as she remembered, blue with the smallest
speckles of brown. Eyes that made her feel secure, made her feel love. Now
looking back at her own brown eyes with the same passion, he once showed,
if not more. Her surrounds became a little more known, as she realized exactly
where she was sitting
knowing how she must have got here. Knowing what
for that matter what she
Rinoa suddenly felt self-conscious about not having clothing covering her chest she quickly tried to reach for her top, but he grabbed her wrist.
"My god Rinoa, did that bastard do this," his voice filled with sympathy as he ever so lightly touched her ribs. The reason she screamed in pain, he had pulled her toward him with such forcefulness. The blue and violet hues mixed with colors that formed such a ghastly combination. She shuttered at the slight pressure, turning her face from him.
"Yeah, it's fine. I got through it; I always did," she said the last phrase under her breath.
"Please, I have another cure spell. Please "
"No," she cut him off vehemently. "I'm fine. Please don't show any concern now. I made it two years just fine. I don't need a knight in shining armor to come in after the dragon is slain, pardon the expression Knight Leonhart."
"I'll kill him."
It wasn't a statement. It was a promise. Part of her wanted to thank him, part of her wanted to tell him get as far away from her as possible but right now all she wanted to do was get off his waist. That wasn't helping anyone, especially her.
Quistis heard the accounts, heard their facts and was now convinced more than ever that Squall was innocent. It was too perfect. Who ever did this was professional, not only in manner, but also in leaving factious evidence. Crimes of passion are rarely neat, this no exception. However, the fact that nobody in authority even suspected the sorceress connection was comforting, if only in her mind.
This gave them time. They needed nothing less.
For her part, she listened and agreed, also added a few points to aid with the investigating. All through the meeting, she feigned believing their ridiculous theories. All though everyone in the room might have believed she agreed with them, nobody asked her directly. Thank Hyne. Lies like that had put her in worse situation lies like that put her here. It was well into the evening when she returned to the pier. The boat offered some relief from the reality she was in, although she could never escape it.
First thing's first. Lauren. Quistis had known her awhile, even acted as her faculty advisor. Now she faced the biggest decision of the night, could she be trusted with the truth. All of it. The fact that Quistis only had Seifer to confide in was little comfort, well on a professional level. Personal was another story.
"Hey there," a gruff voice spoke from the deck. "How was it? Did they have many bullshit theories?"
"More than Zell on the evolution of a hot dog. All of them just as believable as his."
He walked over to her, hesitating at first, but then deciding to put his arm around her. She returned the gesture and leaned close, once again hearing the heartbeat of a man who tried to kill her now a man who she found more solace in than ever thought possible.
Quistis inhaled deeply, watching the city lights reflect off the tiny icebergs forming within the harbor waters. The night seemed so bitter, so unearthly. Her mind raced to the questions she asked herself tonight at the mansion. How Rinoa got there, why she didn't leave, and the biggest one, what was the connection to Rinoa and the child that had been abducted?
"You said earlier you had theories," she inquired slowly. "Theories on what?"
"On just about everything it's what I do. Dream and make theories. I found my calling in life."
"You're different than Squall in a good way. I don't think he would be so easy to accept everything that you have."
"Squall only sees what he wants to see, what he is programmed to see. He is like a horse with blinders on, and Rinoa is the carrot dangling in front of him."
She chuckled aloud, "Your analogies really need work. Not sure how much Rinoa would like to be compared to a carrot, nor Squall a horse."
"Did I mention it was a big horse?"
"Implied, I think. Least you didn't say Jackass."
"Oh, I thought that was implied also," he retorted holding her closer.
They stayed in the night air, never once feeling the cold. Neither wanted to move, neither wanted to admit that fact either. Therefore, they just stood. In silence. The type of silence that could only be shared by two people who needed each other... who understood each other.
It was never meant to turn out this way, Rinoa knew it. Lives, dreams all shattered because of her being the feared creature that Hyne decided upon. She wanted to look back at him; wanted to ask so many questions. Like how could he? More important did he love his wife? Of course, she wanted to know her identity, but it didn't matter at this moment. For it wasn't she the one who still loved him after all this time, although she tried emphatically to deny any lingering feelings.
Rinoa had been looking out the window watching the snowfall gently to the ground; also noticing the lazy chocobo that had made his bed for the night in the snow. Watching the iridescent reflection of his eyes looking right into her own. Like for some unknown reason the chocobo was judging her, daring her to question the value of her life. Damn bird. The hickory wood odor gave way to a less, unfamiliar smell but she had know it. Cigarettes?
"What the hell are you doing?" she spat turning toward him. "There is no way that you're doing that disgusting habit in here; I have to be in here remember? Since when did the ever health-conscious perfectionist start to smoke?"
This had been an argument that he had with Quistis many times and Selphie, and Zell and Irvine. It was simply his choice, and he chooses to do this to his body. It was the one form of pleasure he allowed himself, albeit a twisting one, by imagining every cigarette adding pain to his pathetic life. Suicide was never an option, but killing himself gradually was.
"Rinoa, please you're not my wife."
Words so idiotic he wished he could turn back time to reverse them. For a moment, her expression was a cross between shock and hurt then it turned more toward anger. He knew that well, even after sometime, some things never changed.
"No Squall, thank Hyne. I don't think I could stand to live with you anymore."
Sometime one feels like they hit a plateau, no longer being angry, upset, or anything in between. Just being. That is the point Rinoa Heartilly had arrived at in this minute, nothing he could say would upset her. For in a sense, she was emotionless.
"Squall, I need some time alone go get firewood for the night."
He looked between her and the cigarette that he just lit, tossing into the fire. Little trails of lighted embers followed the path into the flames.
"Whatever you want, Rinoa."
He subconsciously reached to the chain he was wearing, much in the same manner she used to. Support, comfort, and mainly for strength during a difficult situation.
For the first time today, her questioning eyes noticed her mother's ring and Griever.
Final Fantasy 8 Fanfic