The Orphan Chapter 14
Sorrow of Heaven
By Kate Lorraine
Squall stood there, in the rain, letting the tears of the sky wash over him. It fell from the gray heavens, onto his head, down the tiny channels of hair, sliding drop by drop across the smooth dark skin of his eyelids, cheek, and lips. It was so cold. Rain can be colder than ice when it wanted. He was drenched through. Rain, the gray brain colored droplets, that drenched his clothes transforming them into heavy weighs and prevented him from moving. How evil it was, dripping from the sky drop by tiny beautiful drop mesmerizing you with its beauty until the bitter cold breaks through your skin and bring death.
Squall slowly opened his eyes, disturbing the droplets of water so that they hung tenderly from his eyelashes. It was a gray and barren landscape, a cemetery, and infront of him laid a grave. A hug marble angel stood there frozen in a pose of victory. Her leg, through the smooth round wet drapery showed her to be stepping forward. Her winds flared out as though she was about to take flight. What irony, that she would spend all of eternity on the verge of moving.
However as strong as the marble angel was, she could not withstand the pelting rain which bore her down little by tiny little until she was disfigured and worn. Rain, the deceptive evil rain that bore the lightening flashes rumbling through the wrath of heaven.
Squall stood there watching the face of the marble angel. She had her arms stretched upwards as though she was trying to embrace the sky. It was a bittersweet look on her face, almost one of acceptance, on love for her tragic fate. The storm was growing more intense. The lightening struck the ground close by, burning craters into the cemetery garden. Yet Squall did not move his eyes from the marble angel. He cared nothing for the dangerously close bolts that snaked to the ground in fiery sparks. He knew somehow that the thunderstorm would pass soon.
Yet suddenly, the marble angel began to move, her head turned from the sky and rotated down until her empty white eyes were fully upon him. Watching me? You can't save me with yours eyes alone. Squall opened his mouth and reached forward in shock as a huge bolt stabbed straight through her. The lightening passed through him, into his arms first, grabbing his limb in death hold. He pulled his arms back in shock.
"Ouch!" Someone yelled as he hit something soft.
Squall opened his eyes, light, blinding white light. He sat up straight in a compulsive jerk.
Squall rubbed his eyes, his arm felt numb. It wasn't the lightening, he must have slept on his arm. It didn't matter. Just a dream.
He felt someone tugging him from behind pulling him back down into a sleeping position. He laid back down, forearm over his eyes. He knew it was either Rinoa or Alexandra but for a moment he didn't want to know which one it was. He had his reasons for wanting to avoid both of them.
"I think you might have a fever, Squall," she whispered quietly, pulling the covers back over him. Rinoa, yes he was sure, it was Rinoa. He was getting better at this.
He removed his arm, squinting in the light. He gently pushed her hands away. Beside his side he felt her soft weigh leaning against him.
"I'm fine, just leave me alone . . Rinoa." He glanced at her, seeing her concerned face watching him. Her bangs fell into her eyes in tiny strands. A tiny frown bent the rose that was her mouth. She reached over and stroked the side of his face with the back of her fingers.
He closed his eyes feeling her gently fingers on him. But his body wouldn't give him a moments peace as he suddenly felt a wave of nausea pass through him. He felt her fingers gently exploring his hand where the skin was still raw. Was it the marble angel that had done that? No, but that was a dream, dreams stopped at the boundary between sleep and wake. He was awake now, or was he?
His head throbbed with pain like there was tiny tumor growing underneath his skull. No matter how he shifted his head on the pillow he could name make that pain lessen. But suddenly he felt a horrible felt a feeling at the back of his throat. He pulled himself up and vomited into the waste basket nearby. He choked silently. Rinoa's hand was on his back, patting him.He pushed her away again. As he pulled back he caught sight of her face. A mixture of sadness and worry, a blur of pale skin.
He remembered holding her in his arms, her grabbing his wrist and him blacking out. Did she bring him back here? Alexandra? Or Rinoa?
"Don't worry, Squall." She whispered to him pushing him back into a sleeping position. "Rest, I'll take care of you."
"Stop it with your illusions Alexandra, you have gone too far." Squall whispered harshly as he saw the long haired women standing there on the bluffs, her face turned away. He knew exactly who she was though, or who Alexandra wanted him to believe she was. Raine.
Alexandra was kneeling on the ground her hands folded over her chest. She did not answer him. Her head was bent down in an intensely compact pose. As though she was trying to draw herself into one core.
The woman on the bluffs spoke instead. "Squall," she said. "You've come to talk to me."
Squall glared at Alexandra one last time. "Stop it," he insisted, in a far less confident tone.
He took a few steps toward the female stranger. He eyed her suspiciously. No she couldn't be Raine, Raine is dead and gone. Yet she looked exactly like the women he has seen in Laguna's flashbacks. He frowned at her. Alexandra could read his mind, who says that she couldn't draw images from his mind and project them into the object world?
"We don't have long Squall, if you with to speak to me, I won't be able to answer back for long."
Squall merely watched her.
"How do I know you are really my mother?" he asked her suspiciously.
She frowned. "I would think that my son would know his own mother."
She sighed and gestured to Alex. "She brought me here."
Squall glanced at Alex whose hair had began to send off red sparks.
Squall nodded. Whatever she was doing, she wouldn't be able to do it for much longer. Suddenly he felt Raine touch his arm. She was slightly shorter than him so she was looking up at his eyes. "I always wanted to tell you this Squall. I left you. I know I abandoned you. My illness was too severe, i couldn't hold on, even for you. But I wanted to tell you for so long that there is nothing wrong with the way you are. Your disposition is completely like mine. You turned out just fine."
Squall nodded. Yes, only a mother like his would think of that to tell him. Anyone else's first words would probably be something utterly useless like "son your mother loves you."
She ignored his silence. He felt her fingers reaching up to stroke his shoulder.
"I don't care what you choose with Garden. I see you inherited your father's lust for war. Well, I guess no one is perfect."
He frowned at her. Actually he was beginning to see the truth of what she said about him inheriting her disposition. She was utterly honest, to the point of brutality, just like him.
"Did you hear what I was saying to you before?" He asked her, tentatively.
She nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, I always hear what you say to me although it hurts me that you would call out to Ellone far more. I do answer you Squall, I always answer you. Just think of the most selfish, self benefiting answer to your problem and that is my answer. I don't care about the rest of them, I just want you to be safe, and Ellone too, but she has Laguna doesn't she?"
He nodded to Raine, studying her. Her eyes were large and oval, beautiful and honest. Her hair was pulled back in a hairband, completely neat and efficient.
"Laguna, you asked me about him too didn't you? I think I might have made a mistake with Laguna. I wonder why I fell in love with him. He was just so warm and energetic. I admired him for that because I wanted to be so happy . . . like him. But now I think I'm beginning to see. Squall, don't be like me. Find someone who will understand you, not someone you have on a pedestal, someone who won't run away when they see past your strength and beauty."
Squall nodded at her. If this was an illusion then he was the willing fool. He didn't care anymore. He wasn't strong enough to resist. He reached over and hugged her, more whole heartily perhaps then he had ever held Rinoa. She was one of his kind. Yet in his arms she began to melt, to flicker, to disappear. Alexandra was covered in a red aura, it was clear that she was in pain. Raine noticed it as well. She looked at Squall one last time sadly.
"Farewell my son," she whispered, as the wind blew her to dust.
Squall stood there alone on the windy bluffs contemplating what he had saw. Finally he decided not to think about it. He turned toward Alexandra and walked over to her. She was barely breathing. He reached over to see if she was all right and then suddenly drew back his hand in pain. Her skin was like fire to the touch. He frowned and cast and weak ice spell on her. He held her in his arms and waited for her to come back to life. In a few minutes her breathing was quickening. She reached over and took his wrist and held it.
"I'm sorry, I'm so weak" She whispered, as she tightened her grip and began to draw the life out of him.
He blacked out.
Rinoa was by herself in the kitchen when she found a dusty old cassette in the worn stereo. Turning the ancient artifact in her long fingers she realized that the tape was labeled "eyes on me."
Her mother's song. What a coincidence. As she placed it back in and pressed Play, the familiar cords of the piano erupted int the room. She smiled and hummed the song as she continued to do the dishes with newfound vigor. The haunted dusty room seemed less threatening as her mother's voice soared with emotion, telling her the familiar story of that last night.
She could still hear the lyrics faintly as she stepped into the bedroom. Her mother was still with her. Her words came all the way to her from the bottom of the sea across time. Her mother Julia whispering how she loved his peaceful eyes on her. Who was "he" exactly? She had always dreamed of some handsome dark stranger carrying a long sword perhaps, quiet and shy watching the lovely pianist from across the room. But now whenever she tried to see it in her mind she saw Squall, sitting in that bar.
Rinoa tiptoed into the room where Squall laid fast asleep. He was sleeping more calmly now that the nightmares had stopped festering him. She sat at the side of his bed and studied him. His damp brown hair laid flopped haphazardly on the pillow. His brows were knit even in sleep as though he was mad again. His breathing was heavy but it did not qualify as a snore. It was more like a small sigh, His ungloved hand laid on the pillow beside his cheek.
My last night here with you Squall is coming isn't it? She asked no one in particular.
And Garden, how worried he must be about Garden. Did they worry about him and her? But she was not worried about Garden, she had no doubt that Xu or Quistis could take over for a while he went on his prolonged "vacation." His leadership wasn't really vital in this time of peace anyway.
She studied his burnt hand and wondered what Alexandra had done to him to put him in such a state. Yet as she looked on at his sleeping posture, she knew then that she would never love another. That he was her final fantasy.
She yawned sloppily and curled up beside him on that bed. If Alex can do it why can't she? Anyway, it felt so warm so safe. With her cheek against his strong shoulder and her mother's haunting voice raising faintly still fromt he kitchen, she began to feel something close to happiness.
Author's note: notice Squall's dream. It is full of symbolism in it about Squall's reaction to what Raine told him in relation to his feelings about Rinoa. It is a very important harbinger of Squall's motivation for the rest of the story.
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