The Orphan Chapter 10

The Orphan

By Kate Lorraine

In depths of the southernmost village of the Galbadian continent, a young man woke up from troubled sleep. He felt pressed his hand to his scarred forehead and shook his head to clear his mind of the dream. It was the same dream that he had been having for a long time. Walking down the empty sun cracked desert, surely if death was a place that was it. He squinted his eyes and tried to clear his mind of the image. He was safe now, in bed. Yet as he tried to move his knee bumped into something soft. He pulled back the covers to reveal to reveal the sleeping form of a young girl. Her hand was half open on her pillow as though she was waiting for a gift. Her other hand was drawn up to her chin in a position of deep thought. She was drawn up against him as though she had slept with the intent of leaning against him.

Rinoa, is that you? He wondered. He reached out sleepily to stroke her hair which laid flat over her pillow like a river of silk. He sat there in the abandoned house in Winhill which he had visited in his flashbacks. This was the bed Laguna once slept in, he thought to himself. Just that thought made him shudder. He would never be like his father. That was the nightmare beyond nightmares.

He ran his naked hand through his damp hair which had been plastered to his head by sweat. He breathed deeply and leaned back feeling the cool night air fill his lungs. From the window, moonlight streamed in covering him and Rinoa with a blanket of white light. She was like a statue of marble laying there but slowly she came to life. She looked over at him.

"Squall?" She asked, eyes wide reaching over to him.

He took her hand and clasped it in his own.

"Is that you Rinoa?"

"Yes, it's me. What happened Squall? How come we're in bed together? I don't remember a thing. Weren't we dancing together in Deling?"

Squall closed his eyes. Vaguely, he remembered collapsing on the bed in exhaustion. He noticed that he was not wearing his jacket and that his shoes had been removed. *She* must have done it, he thought to himself. He shifted his position. He would have liked to get out of the bed but Rinoa was lying on the side that wasn't against the wall. She appeared to be losing her composure fast.

"Talk to me Squall. How did this happen? I'm so scared. Please don't hold back now. Tell me what happened."

Squall tried his best to remember what had happened. It was so preposterous that he could have passed it off as a dream. Bits and pieces came back to him now.

* * *

Rinoa had been unconscious as he boarded the Ragnarok but as he began directing the ship south she came to life suddenly.

"Squall," she had whispered. "Where are we going?"

"Leave it to me, Rinoa. I won't let anyone harm you."

Then strangely she had sat up, and reached over and placed her hand on his. "Take me to Winhill, Squall. I want to go there."

"Why?" He looked at her with complete surprise. She sat back and didn't answer him. He looked at her suspiciously as he directed the Ragnarok toward Winhill as she asked.

"Who are you?" He asked, then, beginning to understand. He began to notice small things, like how her eyes had a yellowish tint and her hair reflected red sparks. He felt like he was being watched by an insect as she looked over at him with a smirk on her face, not unlike that of Seifer's.

"I'll take you to Winhill, but you must tell me who you are. What have you done with Rinoa?" He demanded.

"Rinoa is safe for now Squall, don't worry about her. She's in a state of sleep, she doesn't know that I am here." She nodded at the dark landscape below. Squall was piloting the spaceship in a stupor. He glanced at her a few times, unable to adapt to how strange it was to watch someone who looked completely like Rinoa but was not Rinoa.

"Can I talk to her?" Squall asked the sorceress sitting beside him. "To see if she is alright?"

She laughed, throwing her head back, completely the opposite of Rinoa's small shaky giggles. Squall felt a sudden nausea in his stomach as the realization hit him completely then, that this was a completely different entity.

"You can talk to her in due time. Look there," she pointed to a dark mound of earth behind a plateau surrounded by trees. "Land the Ragnarok there, we can walk to Winhill from here, its not far."

Squall did as she asked, still very much in a state of shock.

As they left the Ragnarok stepped outside, she smiled at the sky. "Look Squall," she said. "Stars, and look how numerous they are. This is a beautiful night isn't it? It's a wonderful time to take a walk."

Squall said nothing, just shifted his gunblade. She had changed out of the torn dress into her casual clothing. Somehow, from what he saw he had begun to doubt that the sorceress beside him was Ultimecia. For one thing, when he handed her Rinoa's clothing to change into, she had giggled happily at the angel wing design in the back. "These are spiffy!" she had exclaimed as she left to put it on. Spiffy? Is that a word Ultimecia would use? Maybe if she had a brain transplant with a chocobo.

"Do you have a name?" Squall had asked her as they began hiking toward Winhill. The sorceress nodded. "Alexandra. My mother used to call me Alex. I know you are Squall, the body I am in is named Rinoa and your friends are chicken wuss, Irvine and instructor and Angelo. I have a good memory don't I?

"Chicken wuss?" Squall asked her. "You mean Zell don't you?"

She laughed again. "The little girl in the sunshine colored dress called him Chicken wuss in the lobby while they were waiting for you to finish off Trauma."

Squall frowned and turned to her. "You were there while we were fighting Ultimecia in the time compressed world? I don't understand. Who are you?"

"Oh god Squall, look! It's a Thrustaevis." She ducked behind Squall who had already drawn his gunblade. Two more Thrustaevises appeared beside the initial one. Squall ran forward and slashed the Thrustaevis across the wing. He pulled the trigger of his gunblade as he did so, sending a stream of blue blood shooting from the oversized bird. The sorceress ran away as one of the birds went after her. She turned around and desperately tried to work the trigger which would send the shooting star into the vicious bird. "Squall! Help me, " she squealed. "This thing is stuck."

Squall leaped up and finished taking down the Thrustaevis before he ran to the sorceress's aid. The sorceress had tripped over a protruding rock and she was sitting helplessly, petrified by fear. With one last desperate attempt, she fired off the shooting star but in the wrong direction. It went right for Squall's neck. He ducked and caught it in his hand. He threw the shooting star aside in a gesture of annoyance and cast shell on the fallen Rinoa before the Thrustaevis could use thundaga on her. The sorceress raised her arm to shield herself as the Thrustaevis went down with its beak.

"Squall!" she screamed once more but the Thrustaevis fell as Squall impaled the bird on his gunblade. The bird went down with one last desperate scream. Squall raised his hand and cast firaga on the remaining Thrustaevis, which went down easily into a pile of ash.

Squall placed his gunblade away as he watched the sorceress get to her feet. She dusted herself off, scratched her head, and smiled sheepishly at him.

"I'm sorry, Squall. I'm not used to using my powers in this body yet. Next time I'll be able to defend myself."

Squall shook his head. "Maybe you should just get out of that body if it is giving you so much trouble, sorceress Alexandra."

"Just Alexandra is fine Squall," she said happily as she ran over to retrieve the shooting star from where it had fallen. "How do you use this thing, Squall. Can you show me?" She waved the shooting star in the air so that Squall could see it.

Squall shook his head more confused than ever. "Alexandra, why should I? Do you realize it's very irritating to have the body of my girlfriend possessed by an evil sorceress?"

She frowned and stuck her tongue out at him. "Fine, I'll find out myself. Maybe I'll just ask Rinoa, I'm sure she is less of a jerk than you."

Squall frowned. "If you speak to Rinoa tell her I finally found someone who is more of a ditz than she is. She'll be surprised."

"You jerk. I'm mature for my age. Charlie, my mog, said so."

"How are old are you?"


"What?" Squall asked in complete surprise. "Who in the world are you?"

She smiled.

"I'm Alexandra. I'm an orphan. You killed my mother, Ultimecia."

* * *

"Squall?" Rinoa asked. "Squall are you listening? In your dreamworld again?" She forced a giggle. Her nature was beyond strained. She looked petrified.

"I'm fine." Squall replied as he broke out of his reverie. "Do you remember anything Rinoa?" Squall asked, "About Deling, about the sorceress or Caraway?"

"I remember dancing at the ball. I remember feeling weak and closing my eyes. Then I woke up here with you, in bed, yet somehow this wasn't the way I imagined it."

Squall disregarded the last comment. "You were possessed again." Squall climbed over Rinse and out of the bed. He reached for his jacket.

"Alexandra?" She asked. "It was the sorceress Alexandra right?" Rinoa pulled the covers up around herself as she sat musing.

"Yes," Squall turned to her. "What do you know about her?"

"I dreamed of her. I saw her standing in Ultimecia's castle, asleep on Ultimecia's throne. She was singing a song, a French lullaby, something about lambs and butterflies. She looked at me and told me that my time has passed. That I've been forsaken by the gods. I didn't understand what she was saying but she kept saying something in over and over. I don't understand Squall what she meant. I'm afraid!"

Rinoa bursted into tears and began sniffing. She wiped away the tears that spilled over her cheeks with the cotton blanket in her hands.

Squall finished slipping on his boots and he walked over to the crying Rinoa. He placed his hand over the base of her skull and pulled her into his embrace.

"It's okay, it's okay" he whispered. "I'll protect you Rinoa, I'm here."

He held her like that for a little while as her crying died down to a quiet sob.

* * *

"This is where you were born, isn't it Squall?" Alexandra asked as they slipped quietly into Winhill.

Squall tightened his gloves and glanced around the tiny town. He had been here only twice before, as Laguna and during the vase quest. The walk hadn't been long as she promised. The town was asleep as him and Alexandra walked in. There was not a light to be seen anywhere. Alexandra flicked her raven hair back as she stepped forward into the town square, raising her face to the moon, a wide smile on her face. Squall checked the clock, it was amazing that it was only one in the morning. It seemed like an eternity had passed.

"I love the night, Squall. And so do you, I know. Everyone is in their houses, asleep, wandering in their own inner landscapes. That is the most beautiful place of all. Inside ourselves, on the other side of the mirror, my home and yours. It was always a place that Rinoa could never reach wasn't it Squall?"

Squall waved his hand in a gesture of nonchalance.

"Whatever. What do you want Alexandra?" He asked. "Revenge for your mother? Is that it? Or Ellone? Are you a psychopath out to take over the world too?"

She giggled happily and whirled herself in a circle.

"I'm going to take over the world and be queen!" She proclaimed sarcastically. She ran over and hugged him. "You can be my prince." He shoved her away.

"Be serious will you Alexandra?"

She calmed down and adopted a more serious demeanor. "I'm not my mother, Squall. I don't seek world domination. Just the domination of one. You'll find out my purposes in due time."

"Alexandra, I'm not a patient person. You are my enemy, I am a SeeD. You might be a child but I will not hesitate to attack you if you threaten the safety of Rinoa. I don't care that you don't seek world domination if the one you seek to dominate matters more to me than the world."

She frowned, knitting her brows. For a moment she looked exactly like Ultimecia in Edea's body. "Watch your tongue SeeD. Remember who I am. Who will you attack? I am in the body of this one whom you so called love more than the world. I would lose nothing if I took her life, and I would not hesitate to do so. She took the life of my mother, by your side. If you want to be with her than listen to what I have to say. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain."

She looked lighter suddenly. "You don't love her anyway. I'll prove that to you soon enough."

Squall sighed. He looked away and frowned realizing that he was dealing with a child. He couldn't think anymore, he was utterly exhausted.

"I don't care anymore. We can stay there." Squall pointed at the abandoned house in the upper west corner of Winhill, where Laguna had lived almost two decades ago. "No one lives there. We can stay until morning."

"Alright!" She proclaimed happily and went in the general direction of the abandoned house.

* * *

Rinoa pulled herself back from Squall. "What do you plan to do?" She asked. "Do you have a plan?"

Squall sat back and shook his head. "I don't know. I'll think of something, in time. Don't worry about it Rinoa. She's a harmless child. There is no need to be afraid of someone only half your age."

Rinoa forced a laugh again, trying to break the air of gravity in the room.

"I don't want to wake up in outer space again Squall. Please."

Squall nodded. "You won't"He assured her.

Outside the sun had begun to rise. Squall nodded at the window.

"I'm going to find a way to get in touch with Garden. You won't be afraid if all our friends were here would you?"

Rinoa shook her head. "I'll feel real safe then."

She sighed as he refused to meet her eye.

"Ask them to bring Angelo okay Squall? I would like that." Rinoa smiled at Squall one last time as the dizziness over took her and she collapsed back into the bed.

Squall felt his face growing hot. He had lied to her of course. There was no way to get in touch with Garden, not if he valued Rinoa's life. He leaned forward and kissed her smooth forehead.

"Sleep tight, Rinoa."


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