I Hold In My Hand

By Balin Drax

I hold in my hand a sniper rifle. They had left it here for me hours before, so that I could accomplish the mission they had given to me. I wait in the clock tower with my friends, waiting for it to strike midnight and the tower to rise up into the sky. In a few minutes, I will write a new page in history.

A shaking begins in my hands, then slowly starts to flow throughout my body. I recognize this feeling and try to fight it down. My breathing begins to quicken, and I start to hyperventilate.

I hear a voice speak, "Um, Squall, I think he's freaking out." I raise my head a few inches so I can identify who just spoke. The girl who my commander and I had just saved is looking at me, her eyes full of concern. Rinoa, I think, is her name. She's staring at me with those warm brown eyes of hers, looking into my soul. Even when I'm freaking out I can still appreciate a pretty face.

Then my commander looks at me, kneeling down so we are face to face. His eyes lack the compassion of Rinoa. Like two chunks of an iceberg, they look into my soul also, but there is no sense of comfort like there was with Rinoa. Before he can say a word, the clock tower begins to rise, thrusting up into the sky. Paying no attention to the sudden shift in movement, he begins to speak to me.

"What wrong with you Irvine? You've done this a hundred times before. Martine said you were his best sharpshooter. We need you to stay calm for this mission. Just relax and take your shot," He says, his voice utterly lacking emotion. I shiver slightly, thinking that ice water would be too warm to flow through his veins.

"I'm sorry, Squall," I begin, "but I just can't do it. This always happens when I have to do something big. I'm going to write history with this one shot! Whether I hit or miss can change the face of this planet forever. Nations will rise or fall depending on the success of this mission. This is too much responsibility for me! I can't do it."

He sighs, placing his hand on his head, shaking it slightly. He looks at me, and just for a second he looks human again, his eyes softening. But that lasts only for a second before the coldness comes back. I have to wonder if I really saw anything, that maybe I had just imagined it.

Then he speaks," Irvine, your shot has nothing to do with the success of this mission. If you hit, that's fine and we all just go home. If not, I go down there and take care of things. It may blow our cover, but it will still be a success. This plan cannot fail; it is too important. Your shot is just a signal. Fire and let's get this over with."

Behind me, I can hear the sound of gates crashing down. I smile slightly as I realize that that means the other team has been successful in trapping the float in between the Arc that stands in the middle of the parade route. This is where I come in. Now the shaking is gone, and a peace settles over me. Just a signal, I think, just a signal. I raise the scope up to my eye, and begins to search the parade float for my target, the one that had been fated to die. I see a few people fleeing, trying to get out of the trapped area. Smiling, the scope settles over the face of an old friend. I smile sadly too see such a good comrade turn sides, and just for an instant I want to pull the trigger to take him out. But no, he is not the target. I can't let personal emotion conflict with this. I move on, searching for my target.

Finally, the scope settles of the face of a woman. Even though her face is extremely pale, she is still pretty. The ornaments woven into her jet-black hair jingle from side to side as she looks around in annoyance. She has no clue what is about to happen to her. As I study her face more I am shocked to see that her eyes glow slightly yellow. Then I realize this is my target. This is the one that I am to destroy. This is the Sorceress.

Chambering a round into the rifle, I settle the gun against my shoulder. My finger tightens on the trigger, and in the instant before the bullet is released, I sudden recognize that face. Memories of my childhood spent at an orphanage come back to me, and I remember the face of the woman that raised not just me, but also Squall and the members of the other team as well. Before we all went to Garden, there was a woman cared for us. That woman is the one at the other side of the scope.

Then the bullet leaves the barrel, speeding to her head. Then suddenly she spins around, as if sensing the attack. She raises her hand, and with a dismissive gesture raises a magic shield to deflect the bullet. I gasp as I realize just how powerful she is.

"Well," I say, "there is your signal."

Squall nods to me, the leaps over the ledge of the roof, running down to the street below. Rinoa follows a seconds later, even though she isn't supposed to. I, however, remain where I am. I try to piece thoughts together. My Matron, the caring, loving woman who raised me as a child, is now a Sorceress bent on world domination. Then I being to laugh. The world deserves to be laughed at. Everything I had ever thought of as being right and just, all my concepts of how I though everything should be have just been scattered to the wind. I keep laughing, letting my bitterness seep into it. Then I rise up, and go to help my friends.

As I walk through the near riot in the front of the building, I pause as I see Squall dueling with the traitor from Garden. He calls himself a Knight now, a Sorceress's Knight. Even as I watch Squall and the Knight battle, I think how necessary they are to each other. Just look at them.

Squall, a dark haired young man who relies on cold logic to get through life. And the Knight, Seifer, who is fair-haired, and relies on his emotions to guide his steps. Shaking my head, I wonder if they are just one person's soul that got put into two people. They do not realize how much they need each other to live. I begin to laugh again, not knowing why. Even as I walk into battle, I continue to laugh.

Let Fate guide my steps, I think as I ready my rifle, for I cannot see the way. Squall has defeated Seifer, the Knight lies on his side bleeding. But before Squall can finish him, the Sorceress intervenes. Rinoa and I join my leader, prepared to fight this evil. Squall runs up to her, fighting her with his sword. Rinoa and I stay back, helping how we can. I take a shot whenever I can, and Rinoa casts healing spells the keeps Squall going. Then Squall gets in a luck shot, striking the Sorceress fatally. She glares at him with her yellow eyes as she begins to chant another spell. Squall retreats back to us, holding his sword at ready. Then four spears of ice streak through the air at him, stabbing him in the shoulder, waist, and leg. He collapses, falling off the float.

Rinoa tries to dive off after him, but I grab her by the waist and drag her back onto the float and into the city streets. We run for a little, moving through dark alleys and hidden passages. Suddenly she stops in front of me, glaring at me in fury.

“Why did you leave him there? We could have helped him!”

I sigh at her naivety. I shake my head, “He was hurt pretty bad, plus the fact that there were police coming for us. It was lucky we were able to escape.”

“Well,” she says, “We’re going back to help him, whether you like it or not.”

“And what makes you think I’ll do anything you say?” She doesn’t even come up to my shoulder, plus the fact that she doesn’t even weigh over one hundred and twenty.

Then she stares at me, her eyes suddenly flash yellow. I step back, reaching for my gun, but she’s already cast the spell. Immobile, I can only watch as she approaches me. She stops a few inches before me, and then stands in her tiptoes so she can look me in the face.

“I think this, Mr. Kinneas, is reason for you to listen to me. Now, let’s go. I know the prison where they will be taking him.”

She releases me from her spell, and walks off, expecting me to follow.

I shake my head as I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into…

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