Crimson Lies Chapter 27
You keep me standing tall;
You help me through it all.
I'm always strong when you're beside me.
I have always loved you;
I could never make it alone.
--Peter Cetera (Glory of Love)
The last bandage was placed around her hand. Carefully, gently his rough fingers had the touch of feathers against her skin. Rinoa remained silent, lost in her own thoughts as Squall had tended to her wounds. The glass had cut deep, but she declined to visit the infirmary. She refused to give up a second with her family. Each moment was a gift; Rinoa Heartilly knew that. The combination of a cure spell, along with good old-fashioned bandages, was enough to keep her out of pain.
Putting away the supplies, Squall carefully sat on the bed. Wordlessly he lay back against the headboard. His arms reached around, gently guiding her onto his chest. Neither spoke silence had become their common ground as of late. But maybe silence said more than words ever could. Emotions spoke louder, the bond was clearer they were one.
"Ellone's here," she finally said under her breath.
"Rinoa, we both know she died two years ago."
"Yes, she did. But her spirit is still here she has been watching us." Rinoa sat up slightly, turning to look him in the eyes. Placing her palm on his coarse cheek, she looked deep into his eyes. Eyes of which she dreamed every night; eyes that she saw everyday in Allison. "Ellone brought us together again. She's been watching over us all this time but is trying to warn of the future." A single tear traced down her cheek. "Squall, she didn't have to warn me I already knew. I knew my life was always at risk, I knew. In two days, Ellone won't be here anymore, her soul will move on. I should've told you about Allison earlier I'm so ashamed that "
Sitting up he grabbed her tightly, resting her on his shoulder. Together they sat neither letting go.
"Rinoa don't. You can never look back on the past you did what you had to do. I know that now. I will protect you, nothing will happen I swear. If you die, then I will be lying lifeless next to you "
"No!" she chocked out. "Don't Squall you can't do that!" Rinoa broke apart, looking him in the eyes. "Promise me Squall you will go on. Don't let yourself get into a position like that. I'm not the only one here now; I'm secondary. Promise me that you will be there for Allison. She can't lose both parents she needs you."
"Damn it, Rinoa I need you." He subconsciously pulled her closer, almost too forcefully.
"Squall, our daughter she can't be an orphan we can't do that to her."
"I'm not losing either one of you."
"Some thing's we cannot control Squall, some we can. If it is my destiny to move on, I can't deny it. You can't deny it. Squall, there are some enemies you can't defeat death is one. We may have deceived him for a moment, but we cannot hide forever. I've spent the last two years hiding I can't do it anymore."
"I swear to you Rinoa, we will be a family."
"Squall, we already are. For now, for eternity. Promise me, if you have to choose, don't ever regret it Allison is everything; she is our future, she is our past. Squall she is the best of both of us. Give her the life we couldn't have."
He lightly kissed the tear from her cheek. "Rinoa, I promise to protect Allison at any cost but don't you dare think I will let anything happen to you. I arranged for you, Allison and Alex to go to Esthar. There you will be protected during the war General Caraway has also been given political asylum by the Estharian government."
"Yes Rinoa, he's aboard Garden now arrived earlier this afternoon. He just wanted to give you an adjustment period before approaching."
"He's here? Squall does he know about Allison?"
"I believe he knows you have a child I don't think he knows details. His first concern was for your safety. The details were not important at that time."
"So we're going to Esthar?"
"I contacted Laguna; he is thrilled to have us stay there. This grandchild is like a second chance for him too we all made mistakes."
Rinoa tilted her head to one side with a questioning look. "When did you contact him?"
"Earlier this evening, when you were with the doctor."
"You told him about his granddaughter?"
"I hope that is okay."
"Squall, I hadn't told you yet that Allison was you knew, didn't you? That's what that entire questioning thing was about."
He looked down, slowly releasing her, and ran his fingers across the bedspread. "I found out earlier aboard the Ragnarok but I had to hear it from you."
Rinoa indicated understanding. "I should have been the one to tell you two years ago. Thank you Thank you, for still making me say it. You don't know how much of a relief it was to speak the words."
"I know." There was a long pause. "Rinoa, even if Allison wasn't mine biologically she would still be my daughter. She is part of you, and I love her on that alone." Rinoa smiled brightly, grabbing her arms tightly across her chest.
Squall looked at the digital lights of the clock. "Rinoa, it's late we need to get some rest." She smiled, giving him a quick kiss on the lips. Getting off the bed, he walked into the bathroom. Rinoa listened as he threw broken glass away. She sat in the subtle light, watching the stars dance in the night sky.
Reaching over to turn off the lamp, she noticed a book that had been set on her end table. Immediately she realized it was something Alex must have borrowed from the library. Grabbing the book, she thought it might help keep her mind from wandering too much. One thing she knew, there was no way she could sleep until he had returned. There was no way she would want to.
Opening the book, she scanned the pages. Poetry, go figure it was something Alex took pleasure in, yet something Rinoa couldn't comprehend. Maybe it was because she never allowed herself to feel the words, feel the emotion. Maybe the simplicity made it more sorrowful. The elegance refined passion; the ease alluded to something she wouldn't nor couldn't confront. Several titles caught her eye as she flipped through the pages then she stopped. Without a sound, she read the poem, entranced in its words.
When Squall appeared in the bedroom, she was immersed in the book. He stood mesmerized as the soft light highlighted her exquisite features. Her dark brown hair fell forward, covering her eyes. Her flawless skin illuminated more bright than any star. She was beautiful; she was his everything. Finally, he found the strength to move. Sitting down on the bed, he moved under the silky comforter. Curious Squall looked over her shoulder; he had to find what had her so entranced The usual solemn commander found himself, also, examining the words.
Rinoa faintly spoke the last verses aloud.
As the light
Fades in to darkness
So goes with it
That my love
Had any end for
The heart so close
With my last
Breath I shall whisper
A promise that is
Feel my heart
Youll see the truth
And my last thoughts
Will be of forever
Neither spoke. He took the book out of her hands, placing it back on the nightstand. As the light was turned off, only the moonlight flowed onto the bed. Squall listened to the sounds of her breath, before he could no longer hold himself back. In the shadows, he found her soft lips and slowly she felt herself giving into passion.
"I love you Squall promise me you will never regret any decision. It's what I want " He heard the words tacit in his mind.
Suddenly he broke apart in disbelief. "What? How? In the truck, back the Trabian forest I heard you then too. It wasn't my imagination, was it?"
Although he could not see the grin, he could sense it. "Yes Squall You can hear me; our minds are connected. I can hear you also, if you wish me to."
Focusing thoughts unto her, his mouth never moved. "I don't understand before when you lived at Garden, you never tried this."
"I couldn't back then you had not given yourself to me fully. You gave yourself physically, but never spiritually. Only once you opened me to your fears, could we achieve this level."
He had no word on his own that came to him, so instead he echoed the last lines of the poem. This time he spoke them aloud.
Feel my heart
Youll see the truth
And my last thoughts
Will be of forever
Reaching for the silver chain around his neck, Rinoa pulled him close. "Forever," she tenderly whispered back.
Small bits of dust floated in the air, every one taking its own path. Nothing guiding its way, only the still air and destiny. He had been asleep, and in a way, she was glad. Her mind fought of whether to get up or not from the bed, they had shared the bed they had made love in last night.
Had she really wanted it to happen? Or was it only a physical reaction to stress she had been faced with. Never in a million years, hell, in a trillion years would she have pictured this scenario. So much was going on around her; so many people had been hurt. Yet she took the time to give in to her selfish desires. After all the lies, how did she have any right to be happy?
She forfeited her rights on one fateful day.
Her body tensed as the guilt clouded reasoning. Slowly she moved off the bed, as not to wake Seifer. Gathering scattered articles of clothing from the floor, she quietly got dressed. Again, she caught of herself in the mirror as she straightened her blouse.
Seifer was a light sleeper, not that she would know. He had wakened up the moment she first attempted to get off the bed. Yet, he said nothing. Right now, he wasn't sure what to say. Somehow, from him, anything he said seemed to come out the wrong way in this situation. The last thing he wanted to do right now was to be thought of as the asshole they had all grown to expect. Instead, he lay quietly allowing her to control the situation. If she wanted to leave and put this behind her, he would understand.
That's not what he wanted. But who was he to decide anything right now?
In the darkness of his eyes, he could see every step she was taking. Down to her fidgeting with the zipper on her dress. Every rustle of fabric only made him want to get up and take her into his arms. However, he would not. It was not his call.
Last night had been amazing. Simply amazing. He wasn't going to play the part of the innocent, for he was surly not. He had been with more women then he had even cared to remember. Somehow, it was a way to make him forget all his failures, it was a drug. Sex could have been smoking or alcohol, it didn't matter. It was something he did without feeling, an emotionless reaction to fears harbored inside.
Yet this was different; for the first time in his life, he made love and in return felt love. Every inch of her skin was so soft and pure, and his seemed so tainted and stained. In his mind, nothing she did could ever take away her beauty, for she was only human. He could relate to her dreams, her desires. Dreams had blinded him once, causing him to lose everything and everyone he held dear. Dreams can be a powerful force, unseen and unrealized in others but controlling your every actions. Hers was Squall.
For a moment, he silently winced at the name. Horrible thoughts crossed his mind, was he only a substitute for him again. Who was she making love with last night at least in her mind? For the first time in a long while, a tinge of jealously entered his heart. He had come back only to help his rival, out of the darkness that covered the commander's life. What he hadn't expected to happen was for the darkness that covered his life to find a small ray of light. But would it truly be enough?
He faced an uncertain future, and for that matter, so did she. He had no right to pull her into his problems; she had her own to contend with. She had been silent for the last few minutes as he pondered eternal questions. Part of him wanted her to just leave, keep the memory of last night sacred in his heart. But, the larger part of him wanted her to come over and tell him the things he only dreamed of hearing from another human.
Was it possible to fall in love with someone in such a short time no. However, it wasn't a short time; it was a lifetime. Maybe others could have their love at first sight, but he needed more.
Finally, she walked to the door, thinking of the best way to handle the situation. Funny how one night of feeling human and feeling loved in her mind was a 'situation'. Quistis was already late for a briefing with Cid, one she was not looking forward to. What little respect she felt she still had as a SeeD would probably be lost when others found out her actions last night. With him, the one that started the chain of events in the first place.
But who the hell cared. Maybe she would have one thing in her life, one night. And that no SeeD Commander or reprimand could take away. She walked back to him, for a moment she hesitated. Then Quistis leaned over and gave him an ever-so-slight kiss on the forehead.
Sunlight replaced the moon, as its rays filtered through the open window. Sitting up, she quickly noticed Squall wasn't with her. Rinoa grabbed the white sheet to her chest, covering her naked body. Looking out into the living area, she noticed the faint sounds of the television council. In all her years, she could not recall a time when Squall purposely watched anything. It was always she who rented movies, forcing him to spend evenings on the couch. Evenings, she was sure, he would have rather been planning battles or learning new Gunblade techniques.
Wiping the sleep out of her eyes, she stood up. A bathrobe that Selphie brought hung by the bathroom door. Putting it on she tied it around her waist, before stopping to look at her reflection in the mirror. So much had happened, so much yet to come; she tucked astray hairs behind her head before heading toward the living room
When she walked in, the sight was truly the most beautiful she could have ever imagined it went far beyond the scope of anything Rinoa could have pictured. Squall lay on the sofa, his bare chest slightly exposed. She could see his feet sticking out of the grey blanket that was covering most of him. His right arm under his head, holding on to a small throw pillow. Next to his chest lay Allison asleep and snuggling up to his neck. Squall's left arm protectively holding her next to him.
How does one describe such emotion? Events unfolding before her very eyes. Over the course of seven years, her life dramatically changed. Dreams changed. As a child, her fairy tale consisted of a beautiful princess and a prince who won her heart, the dragons that were slain, the castles that he built, and the happily ever after. Nothing more than Rinoa's childhood dream. Nevertheless, those hopes shaped her future and the person she was today.
As an adult, dreams altered. She replaced the dreams of stone castles, with a small home she could call her own. Nothing fancy, nothing spectacular just a place she could feel content and sheltered. The fire-breathing dragon was replaced with enemies around, both known and unknown. The tasks she accomplished to survive, the dragon was a mere metaphor for every adversity she faced.
But the prince, he never changed.
For he was the only part of equation that came true. She found her prince, her knight, in an ironic turn of events. Together they shared a soul, neither complete without each other.
Maybe the storybook ending wouldn't come true. But she, unlike so many others, could say that she had lived it once When she was young, she dreamed of fame and fortune. When she was old, she dreamed of anonymity and simplicity. The dreams of youth wasted upon the young, the dreams of today wasted upon fate.
But for a few days, no matter how short in the history of time, Rinoa Heartilly and Squall Leonhart would have what many would dream. Life, love, and family something true, something pure.
The television played softly in the background. The program that was on looked like a nature special nothing Squall would watch with animals and their young. Chuckling to herself, she realized just how much he had been trying. Though it was not cartoons, it was a recognizable attempt to entertain Ally and for that, she loved him.
It broke her heart as she walked closer, with each step she knew the moment wouldn't last. But she longed to be a part of them, and that feeling was now controlling her actions. He started to stir as she grew near. Opening one eye slowly his expression did not change. She couldn't help but grin back at the picture, so innocent.
Raising an eyebrow, she said, "Good morning you two."
Their eyes locked, but still he didn't move. Rinoa crouched down.
"Morning," he finally said.
"I hope she wasn't too hard on you," Rinoa replied mockingly. "You know how we Heartilly's can be."
"Nothing I can't handle." He spoke matter-of-fact, a small grin appearing.
"Right, I'm sure years of SeeD training taught you well. Dancing and calming children are some things taught in your first years."
"You'd be surprised at what SeeD is taught. Hell, I'm surprised at what we're taught."
"I don't even want to know," she countered moving her fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes, allowing himself the simple pleasure of just being. A sudden thought flashed through his mind. One that he had been thinking about since he first learned of Allison, one that he had wondered three years ago.
"Rinoa, why did you name her Allison? You had those names picked out a long time ago was there a reason?"
She tilted her head slightly to the side, looking with bewilderment. "Squall?"
"What?" he asked moving into a sitting position. Gently he moved Allison onto his chest as Rinoa sat on the couch next to him.
"You really don't know, do you?"
He didn't answer. She could tell by the stare, he was the slightest bit agitated. Squall Leonhart was never one for guessing games.
"Fine," she said softly. Reaching down to her daughter, Rinoa lightly caressed her chubby arm. "Squall, before Ellone was killed her and I talked one night. She asked about my ability to have children or the lack there of. She was concerned how I was dealing with it. I guess at the time family was out of the question. We ended up talking all night. I learned all about her parents and her life before living with Raine."
Squall looked down regretfully. "I never thought of her real parents. She never mentioned them."
"I know. Squall, she did that for a reason. You children had all gone through so much. She was the oldest and truly took the role of sister to heart. At any rate, she didn't want everyone to think about what she had gone through how she had truly ended up there. The story that you didn't know."
"Her parents they were murdered by the Estharian government."
"Yes. She only remembered fragments of them. Some of the memories mixed with the lies perpetuated by Adel's army. She didn't know fact from fiction the same future I feared for Allison. But, she did know her parents loved her that she never doubted. Her parents were named Aaron and Allison "
"I should have known." He looked solemnly at his daughter, regretting everything he had never learned. Never cared about.
"It's okay Squall, she knew you cared. I made a promise to myself that if I we ever had children, they would be named in honor of Ellone's parents. Then when I met Alex, and learned that she was Ellone's half sister the name Allison was perfect."
"It was both Ellone's and Alexandra's mother."
"Squall it was like fate brought us together I had already wanted to name my child after the mother of the person who delivered her a person that none of us had known about. Allison was meant to be, to bring us all together "
"What do you mean Esthar?" snapped the agitated man.
"I'm sorry I didn't think they would run." She sounded scared, afraid of his reaction.
"This was never supposed to get this far. She should have been captured by now. I don't care how you do it, get that damn baby if you have to "
"The sorceress is too well protected, but Squall might let his guard down for the child. If he had to choose "
"That's what I love about you," he replied. "When this is over we will be together you know exactly how I feel about you. None of this would have been possible without your help."
"I love you too, more then you could possible know. I can't wait to officially become the first lady of Galbadia.
"I can't wait either darling."
He placed the receiver onto the nightstand rolling back over to the person next to him.
"Who was that?" she questioned.
"Nobody important," he answered back. "Just someone in the right place at the right time."
I would like to thank Wayward Tempest for writing the poem used in this chapter.
Final Fantasy 8 Fanfic