Crimson Lies Chapter 33
Final Fantasy VIII and all the characters belong to Square.
Every night I say a prayer,
In the hopes that there's a Heaven.
But every day I'm more confused,
As the saints turn in to sinners.
All the heroes and legends I knew as a child,
Have fallen to idols of clay.
And I feel this empty place inside,
So afraid, that I've lost my faith.
-Styx (Show Me the Way)
A freedom fighter at sixteen, they fell in love at seventeen, she stayed at eighteen, they fell apart at nineteen, at twenty she left, a mother at twenty-one, and at twenty-two she will be executed. The daughter of a Galbadian General, who cared more about his career than his family. The daughter of a singer who was taken away before her sixth birthday. A life that sounds glamorous to most, but those who knew of it, anything but. Her father drank; her mother let him. Two people trapped in a marriage neither wanted. She 'divorced' her father, taking her mothers name, hoping it would forever remind him of his devotion to his career.
A world hero. And for all her pain what did she get? Power she didn't want, a life abused by a tyrant, and hunted like prey. She watched her father executed in cold blood, her child's life threatened by the Galbadian President. But most of all, in his mind, the biggest fault was loving him and all the baggage that followed. What was he to her? What had he caused but grief and sorrow? Dragged her into a battle that was not hers, but one of SeeD. One where she was no longer the only collateral damage, but the man who gave her life. The same man who just lost his
He never liked the chapel. May be because it was built on the memories of his nightmares. Squall Leonhart wasn't exactly a religious man, in fact quite the opposite. He liked believing in what he could see. Facts, science, and concrete evidence. Hell, he would have not believed in a sorceress had he not loved one. His dreams ripped away within a second, stolen by a mere mortal full of abhorrence. But, he could believe in that, hatred is always easier than love.
One can always see hatred, especially those who had consumed themselves within its grasp.
He walked into the small room, taking note of how he had just done this almost a week ago for Ellone. Now it was time to mourn another, one he also admired and respected. Caraway and he always had their differences, from their very first encounter until almost their very last. However if there was one thing they could agree on correction two things they could agree on it would be that of love. And of the people contained within their bitter, military hearts.
Rinoa and Allison.
A pain ran through his chest when he stared at the deep-mahogany casket spread in front of him. How could he not have seen this coming? What a great fucking leader he turned out to be. He belittled himself until he almost wanted to cry but crying was weakness, and he would not submit. If not for Rinoa, then for Allison.
Walking up, he ran his fingers over the wood, feeling the grain. He wasn't even sure what he was doing anymore for the last hours he had just been on autopilot, training prevailed where conscience lacked.
"I failed." The words echoed through the room as he closed his eyes. "I'm sor--" He quickly stopped realizing he said the one thing Rinoa would have despised hearing from his lips. "No I won't say it, I won't." He fought back the tears trying to form, looking down at the casket. "I'll get your daughter back; the only person who will be sorry will be Mitchell. I will kill him with my bare hands. I swear to you."
He noticed that someone cautiously laid the Galbadian flag across the casket. General Caraway was in true military style right down to the end. This man had served his country, now his country had turned their backs on him, executing him and his daughter. He looked at the symbol of the Galbadian Republic staring tauntingly at his pride. Without a second thought, he grabbed the flag from its resting place and threw it to the ground, as if a serpent of evil. He would not desecrate the memory of this man with that flag, that country.
"Excuse me Commander?" A solitary voice spoke up through his agony. "Is there a problem in here?"
"Yes!" He snapped before realizing. "There is a goddamned problem. Who put this flag on here?"
"I did, Commander Sir!"
"Section 4, article 27: All non-SeeD military personal that perish during battle in cooperation with SeeD are to be treated as dignities of their homelands. All burial arrangements are to be followed to their national custom, even if this is in direct contrast to the conduct of SeeD. Their rites and rituals will be honored above that of Garden."
"What is your name and rank?"
"It's a question. Answer it."
"Um I'm Alonia SeeD rank 14 Senior, Diplomatic Relation Corp."
"Diplomatic relations, huh? Well where are relations with Galbadia at this moment?"
"Sir at this moment we are engaging in battle with Galbadia and its territories."
" And who the hell shot General Caraway?"
"Well that would be President Mitchell of Galbadia."
"Go get a SeeD flag."
"Sir, that is against regulations."
"Forget regulations, get a flag! I'm Commander here, no matter what you would like to think I have not relinquished any authority. I am ordering you to treat this man as a SeeD of equal rank as Cid Kramer or me. He gave his life in honor of Garden, not for Galbadia. He is a SeeD in my eyes."
"Yes Sir!" The girl walked away leaving Squall to his own tortured thoughts.
"Wow, you really have a way with people." A feminine voice spoke from behind. Turning, Squall saw Alexandra standing there holding Allison on her hip. The little girl was content holding a stuffed Cactuar, oblivious to all the pain around her. "No wonder you have a huge internet following."
"Oh yes, speech team captain also?"
"Do you have a reason for being here, except to annoy the hell out of me? If you were anybody else, you would be on latrine duty for a year. I just want to be left alone."
"Actually Squall you asked me to bring your daughter. I was just saying that you didn't need to be so hard on that girl. As much as you dislike Galbadia, Caraway did give his life serving his country. It's only natural to associate him with the Galbadian flag."
"Do you make it a point to listen in on others conversations!?" He said more than a little infuriated.
"Well it actually got me this far, but no. Your voice was carrying out into the hallway, trust me it wasn't hard to miss it."
"May I please have Allison?"
Alexandra looked at the girl in her hands, rubbing her shoulder. "Hey honey, Aunt Alex is going to go take a nap and I know how much you don't like those." The little girl shook her head, a slight look of nervousness taking over. "Well Squall here said he would look after you for a bit, so you don't have to take a nap sound good?" The little girl smiled in agreement, giving a sly look toward her father. Alex gave the girl a slight kiss on the head, before setting her down.
Ally looked at her Aunt and then to Squall. She squeezed the Cactuar in her hands, as it gave her a sense of comfort. Squall kneeled down to her level, looking her in the eye.
"What do you have there?"
"Oh, Cactuar," he interrupted. "Who gave you that?"
"Well that was really nice of Selphie wasn't it? Did you ever know that your mommy and I met Cactuar?" The little girl looked at him as if he was speaking a foreign language. "Allison I will tell you about it sometime, but right now I want you to meet somebody very special, okay?"
The little girl closed the steps between them before offering her arms to him. Somehow, the reaction was involuntary, as his arms circled around the girl giving her comfort. He closed his eyes for a moment, amazed that something so small, so precious was actually part of him. Of all the mistakes he ever made, he finally got something right.
Alex watched as the sight warmed her heart. She only wished Rinoa could have seen it, how easily he was handling the situation. The older girl smiled at him when he opened his eyes. Nodding Alexandra walked off, leaving the Commander to fulfill a promise that Rinoa made only yesterday to a man no longer here today.
Picking up the girl in his arms, Squall stared at the casket. Somehow the words were right there, yet nothing came out. No matter how he said them, their true meaning could never be conveyed. He fought against the most simplistic of emotions, to run, to forget this entire thing. It would be easier, but it would never be better.
" Allison I want to introduce you to someone special." His voice cracked not sure how he was going to manage, " um this is your Grandfather, General Caraway. He was mommy's daddy."
As he suspected the little girl didn't comprehend much of the situation. She seemed more concerned about Squall, and how he was reacting. She silently watched him, never paying attention to the casket.
"He was killed yesterday Oh Hyne." He looked upwards toward the ceiling, "How Rinoa, how?"
She continued her interrogating stare at him, starting to mimic his emotions. As he looked toward the coffin, he sorrowfully offered to Caraway, "You would have loved her. I can see so much of your daughter in her all the best parts. You can be proud, I know I am."
He felt the slight pressure of something against his chest, looking down he saw Allison pressing the Cactuar against him. She was offering him all she had, to make him feel better. Reaching to the stuffed animal, he gave it a small kiss before handing it back to her. "I feel better now Ally, thank you. Thank you for everything. But "
In the history of Squall Leonhart, there was always a 'but'. Nothing was simple, nothing planned out. Dreams that could not unravel within lies, always haunting him. An answer was just the beginning, to the questions feared to ask. He could take the road Rinoa planned, or he could take his own. One with grave consequence and unsure future he wanted nothing more than to follow her last requests. But that was not him. But that was not his nature. But as much as he tried Squall Leonhart was nothing without her. He was learning to open his heart to his daughter, but he could never be complete without her mother. And that in time would turn him into a bitter, vindictive person.
"But Allison I have to find her or die trying. You will always be loved more than you could ever know."
"So this is when Prince Charming comes in for the dramatic rescue?" He pointed to a blueprint of a building, signaling out a hallway section.
"Seifer," Quistis rolled her eyes. "How do you do it? Seriously how can you be so well you?"
"Because," his tone unpredictably serious. "It's all I can be. If I stop being me, then I don't know who I am. It's all I have left, for good or for bad. And right now we need everything we can get plus sometimes it's easier than facing the truth."
Her eyes met his in understanding, before a smile formed across her lips. "Yes, as far as I know that is where Prince Charming comes in. The trick is going to be getting in there undetected. Mitchell will be ready for us, he will be ready for an entire garrison to storm the palace."
"So, we surprise him."
"Wow, I can't believe you never became SeeD with that logic."
"See instructor, how easy sarcasm can be if given the right stimuli? Anyway let's do the one thing that will throw a bombshell into his plan, no matter what he said yesterday."
"And that is?"
"Squall Leonhart walks right through the front doors. No arsenal, no weapon on his person, just him. What will catch someone like Mitchell off guard is to have the one person he fears most watching him. Waiting. It's like chess; you wait for your opponent's next move. What they don't know is while they are protecting their Queen, one of your little pawns massacres the King."
"I don't remember chess quite that violent."
"You never played with me then. It's all or nothing, we set our best piece right in front of him."
"This allows him to let his guard down." She crossed her arms, as the realization was sinking in.
"So how do we get the other 'pawns' in there? That place will be sealed tighter than a tomb."
"Do you remember Timber, with Vinzer Deling? They had to use that station because of the high definition television. Now, that is commonplace so they can broadcast live right from Deling, which is exactly their intent. Every one of the presidential employees are screened, Mitchell's officials know everything. Down to if a person on the staff has a cold. But, television crews are union they are sent from the local station. I have a few associations who I've been in communications with we will be there in time for the execution."
A cold chill ran through Quistis. She closed her eyes, tormenting thoughts of Rinoa being publicly executed played eternally in her head. Slowly, she started slipping away into a sea of regret, as breathing became more of a task. Squall if he did survive and Rinoa didn't. He would be gone. The horror of watching her put to death Quistis could still see her eyes filled with such hurt and sorrow. Her brown eyes the ones that she caused this pain upon the ones
"Hey, come back to me." A firm voice spoke. When she snapped out of her nightmarish visions, she could feel his arms cradling her. For a moment, she took comfort in his actions, giving into the weakness she felt.
"I just kinda felt lightheaded there, sorry."
"It's okay. Let's not think about tomorrow right now, okay? We can only concentrate on today. As someone very wise once told me leave tomorrow for tomorrow."
If ever there was somewhere in between reality and fantasy, it was where she was right now. Images blurred among other blurred objects every one of them foreign. Where was she? How did she get here? Hell, right now she wasn't sure she knew who she was. However, she knew she didn't belong here wherever here was.
She reached out trying to gain the stability to pull herself into a sitting position. It took all the strength she had, plus more she didn't have. She ended up leaning against a wall, well it felt like a wall. When her head made contact with the surface, she immediately felt a sharp pain stab resonate through her skull. She let out a gasp as the pain slowly let up, but never went away.
"Good afternoon there princess, I hope the accommodations are to your liking?"
She squinted toward the voice, as a solid object slowly formed in front of her. Bits and pieces came back Garden, helicopter, a long hallway. Mitchell, she resigned to the fact this was the President of Galbadia standing there. Ironic how he looked pretty much like the blur of the trashcan at the moment.
"We hope you enjoy your stay in Deling, no matter how short it may be."
"When?" She finally gasped out, accepting the inevitable.
"Tomorrow afternoon. Heck your execution is going to be a national event who knows maybe we will have an annual holiday in your honor."
"I'm flattered." Her vision started focusing and she could make out more of her surroundings. Although there wasn't much around.
"Oh what you are feeling is the lingering effects of the Odine cuffs. That feeling should clear up completely within a few hours. Your powers are still quite repressed, but we want you to be completely alert for tomorrow's big appearance. You can thank Odine for the clarity also."
Shaking her head, the realization of the moment came to her. And of what she left behind. "Allison?" she asked in confusion.
"Oh doing fine, thanks to you. I figure you've already been replaced as mommy by now. I'm sure Quistis is doing a great job of filling that position too. Does it kill you to think that she is sleeping with Squall and kissing your daughter goodnight?"
"Shut up!" She screamed through the pain.
"Oooh very feisty, I like that. I wish I could get to know you a little better right now, but unfortunately, duty calls." He walked over to her leaning down and forcefully kissed her; she tried unsuccessfully to pull away. As a final indignity, he moved his hand under her shirt cupping her breast. She wanted to scream, but she could barely register what was happening. The contact of his skin against hers burnt like acid. She had felt this too many times. She tried desperately to fight him off, and felt a great relief when he pulled away. "Hey you know, Leonhart was screwing around on you, turn about is fair play in my book."
When he left, she collapsed back into a laying position. She curled up into a fetal position, gently rocking herself, as she had done too many times before. For the first time, she wished time would pass and that this nightmare would just be over. She couldn't take much more. Every moment was a battle to hold onto the earth, for the first time she wished she would just fall away.
He moved back and forth like a dance, a dance of the body, each movement precise and choreographed each movement an art. In all his years of training, somehow working out solitary made him find such inner peace. It was a sharp contrast to his persona. He was always the lively one, the one who was supposed to be the life of the party. But that was before, and this was after.
She stood and watched the martial artist, not sure of how to break his rhythm. Or even if she should. Finally, he noticed her standing there unsure, and stopped his workout. Zell grabbed a nearby towel wiping off the sweat from his face.
"Hiya Alex, what brings you up here?"
"Do you always workout in an empty ballroom." She gestured to the grand hall, and gave him a bewildered look of amusement. "I thought they have a training area for that?"
"Yeah, they do. If you want to run into a T-Rex or a bunch of cadets, I believe the latter is worse."
"I see," she replied then went into a look of utter seriousness. "Really, I am sorry for bothering you. But, I need to talk to someone, and I think you may be the only person who can relate."
"Sure what you need?" He led her over to a cushioned bench that rested below a grand window. Alex avoided his eyes, and turned to look out as the ocean and sky met at the horizon.
"The dream the vision."
"Yeah," he said lowering his head. "It always comes back to that, doesn't it?"
"I think so it got us this far. I keep playing it over in my mind the lake, the blood, everything. I just don't know if there is something we are missing it."
"Well Alex, as much as I can figure, everything is covered except for Ellone, but I am gathering she is just saying goodbye." He paused looking at her chain; he reached out grabbing the metal ring. "This made me realize not to let them hurt you and Allison well Allison explains the child."
"I know." She watched him as he let go of the necklace turning away. "But is that it? Did we come this far just to lose?"
"Don't say that. We haven't lost anything yet. I mean it isn't like she is going to be executed until tomorrow."
"Wait!" Alex jumped up, startling Zell. "That's right! She is to be executed tomorrow, but what did we see in the vision?"
"That she was stabbed with a gunblade. So either that means something goes very wrong or one of them will kill "
"No," Alexandra insisted. "That means we know how to change it now. Tomorrow neither man take their blades, they stay here at Garden. So they learn to fight a battle without them, I think they will understand. If it was a warning, maybe it can be changed."
Have you ever closed your eyes and wondered how you arrived at this point? What defining moment changed everything, for better or for worse? Was this was what your life was ordained to be? Was this the great plan Hyne had in our stars?
Somehow, I always felt different from the rest. Even at the orphanage, to the moment I made instructor I was an outcast, if only in my mind. Sure, I was adopted but that failed. What greater hurt could there be not only being discarded by one set of parents, but by two? All right, that isn't fair I know my real parents might have never had a choice. However, I don't know. And the not knowing is something that will forever weigh heavily upon my heart, my soul.
But the Trepe's that I know.
I wasn't good enough for them. So like the rest, I was sent to Garden. I understand it was my destiny to be reunited with my orphanage family. But why in Gods name couldn't the others have still loved me? Zell had the privilege; he was loved by his adoptive family and still was accepted into Garden. But, I am not him; I am me.
And who am I?
Quistis Trepe, Quistis Leonhart, Instructor Leonhart? Hell, I don't even care anymore. I suppose after so much one learns they are all titles, but have no meaning. When I look in a mirror, I see me for who I am. And so does he.
The one I once stood against, now I lay with. The one I used to lie with, now I stand with. Two men, two different roads onto the same path two men who shall both live or die tomorrow.
If I close my eyes, will the world fade into nothingness? Will my life be more than a mere epitaph? Tomorrow, yes tomorrow, we will end this once and for all.
For redemption. For family. For love we will fight.
The blood will always be upon my hands, but maybe a part of us can move on. All the crimson lies that started with me, shall end in truth.
Final Fantasy 8 Fanfic