The Orphan Chapter 16

Crossing the Stars

By Kate Lorraine

Outside the window, Squall saw Alexandra waving to him. He frowned, wondering what she wanted. He slipped out of bed and reached for his jacket and shoes. His headache and vomiting had resided that morning, leaving him with just a slight dizziness. He stood up, taking a moment to glance at himself in the mirror. His hair was a fright. He had dark circles under his eyes and his lips were cracked. He frowned at himself and reached for a comb. He wasn't sure what would happen should he collapse out on the bluff somewhere. He looked like a living corpse.

He walked down the small flight of stairs, leaning against the banister, slightly, for support. He walked across the living room, a song was playing faintly. Some love song sung to a piano.

I never sang my songs on the stage . . on my own.

He frowned and pushed open the front door. The night air was cold and clear. He took a couple of deep breathes and began walking towards her. He say her standing there in the distance, walking toward the bluff slowly, so that he could follow. Why the bluffs? Why always the bluffs?

Was she bringing him to Raine again? After the price of the last experience he didn't believe that he wanted to go through it again.

However, regardless of his doubts he felt like he had to follow.

So he went after her, she always stayed a few paces away, sometimes waiting while he caught his breath. Walking was painful to him. And never in his life did his gunblade seem so heavy. As they reached the edge of the town, he leaned against a wall for support. He pressed his hand to his heart that was beating 200 miles a second. Never before did this walk seem so long and so painful.

After what seemed like an eternity later she stopped. She turned toward him and pointed to a small hill in the landscape was outlined by moonlight. She walked over and sat down, leaving room for him to sit beside her.

He walked over and collapsed beside her, catching his breath.

"Why did you bring me out here Alexandra?" He asked.

She watched the sky fondly. "No Squall, the question is why did you agree to follow?"

He frowned. "Don't talk to me in riddles. I know what you are insinuating."

She nodded. "Do you believe me now?"

"No," he said defiantly, "I never will."

She smiled at him. "You say that but you don't think it. I didn't bring you here tonight to talk about your feelings for Rinoa. I don't care really, she is nothing. I came to talk to you, about the stars."

He sighed. "What is there to talk about?" he asked gesturing toward the sky.

Alexandra watched the sky with longing in her eyes. She leaned back, supporting herself with her elbows. She bent her head back and closed her eyes. "Squall, your mother loves you. They don't come unless they do. You loved her as she did you, that's why I was able to bring her to you. "

He nodded. "Is that the criteria for your power?" he asked.

"A sorceress is born with the potential for many different breeds of power. Mine I've always used to lessen my loneliness. My mother never loved me Squall. She left me alone in her castle and told me to keep out of her sight. I had nothing but my toys to keep me company. When I was little I used to pretend that they were speaking to me, but one day they really started talking. My mother told me then that my powers will never be useful for anything. She told me that I was more useless than a human."

Alexandra paused watching the stars. She took a deep breath.

"I would have given anything to have her approval but I would always be the scrawny little rat to her. That led me deeper in my loneliness to develop my powers even more and to create bigger fantasies for myself. After . .after she passed away, I tried to call out to her. I tried to bring her back to talk to me, the way you talked to Raine."

Alex brushed her hair back away from her face and turned to him.

"But, but she never came. No matter how hard I cried for her to speak to me, she never did. That day, when you stood there before the tombstone, I could feel Raine's presence near you. When I called out to her, she came in a flash of a second. She wanted to be with you so badly. So badly. I guess such is a mother's love."

Squall heard she sniffing. She dragged her arm across her eyes. She look at him and the tears in her eyes sparkled in the moonlight. One slide down her cheek glittering like a glass diamond.

"I wish someone would love me, Squall, the way Raine loves you. I would give anything to have that, anything at all."

Squall shook his head at her. However she had penetrated his hard exterior. She was just a child, an orphan child. And he understood how she felt too perfectly. In an act that surprised even himself, he reached out and pulled her towards him. She folded her arms and leaned against him, squeezing a handful of his leather jacket in her clenched fist.

"Alexandra," Squall said emotionlessly. "Don't. You can't live in a universe of illusion. I know that because I too have tried. These dead that you talk to, they will never be the same as the living."

` Alexandra pulled out. She looked him in the face and leaned against his shoulder.

"Squall" she whispered in a hushed voice as though someone might overhear what they were saying. "Someone wise once told me that there is a way to bring the dead back to the world of the living. I've never tried but I know there is a way."

She glanced up at the nighttime sky. "Up there," she whispered. "They are all up there, the ones we loved and lost, beyond the planets and the stars, they are there. He told me that there is a river you need to cross guarded by eight huge gray dragons. Then there are eight lakes of fire and eight of ice. If you can cross over to the other side, you can bring back the one you seek but only if they are willing."

He frowned at her. "It's all myth, Alexandra. If it is true then how come you never seen anyone who came back from the dead? I never have. That's preposterous."

Alex spoke slowly and seriously. "It's true Squall, but they tests are too hard. No one has ever succeeded. No one made of flesh can pass those tests. The universe doesn't like it when people come back from the dead. When you die you are meant to stay that way."

Squall said nothing. "It's a horrible thought. That someone like Adel or Ultimecia could come back to life. You don't plan on going through those tests do you Alexandra?"

Alex pressed her cheek closer to Squall and spoke slowly, seriously. "I thought about trying, Squall. I thought long and hard about it. But even if I was willing, my mother, my mother won't be there, waiting for me. She doesn't love me. No one does. It have to be a mutual bond of love for it to work Squall."

Squall looked down at the dark haired girl lying in his lap.

"I'm sure someone out there loves you, Alex."

"You don't know that Squall."

"I do. . . I lo . .like you."

With that she stared at him first in shock then in happiness. A smile grew on her face.

"I knew you did. I knew it." She said and begun to laugh.

He pushed her away. "This was all a trick was it?" he asked in mocked anger and sincere irritation.

She giggled. "You are the first person to ever say that to me. I'm laughing because I'm so happy."

He shook his head. "I'm leaving."

She caught his hand suddenly. "Don't leave in anger, please."

He looked back her, down on her knees, looking up with the silver light glittering in her hair. He reached down and stroked her face.

"Destiny will never allow me to love you. Tragedy awaits those that cross the stars, Alex."


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