The Orphan Chapter 25

The Season of Passage

By Kate Lorraine

Quistis lifted her arm to cover her eyes as the red fire surrounded Alexandra in a barrier. The witch was filled with light now. Electricity snaked through her body as she stood up to her full height. She raised her hand and in a single gesture, threw Squall across the room. Squall skid on the floor and his gunblade landed with a clang. From his hand, Maniac Athena rose into the air as though it was lifted by an invisible string. It flew into Alexandra's hand like a bird. She closed her clawed hand around the globe and smiled in pleasure. Her eyes were pure yellow as the door behind her flew open. The wind rushed into the room from the screaming sky. It swirled around the room, lifting Quistis's hair behind her. Seifer stood up and tried to use Eternal Breath on Alexandra but she broke Eden easily. Seifer stood there helpless with Fujin by his side. She readied her weapon as though such a pitiful instrument could really protect the two of them.

"Seifer," Alexandra said, her face covered with rainbow spirals and her tongue emerging from her lips, forked like a snake's. "Seifer and Danielle, together in life and in death." She said mockingly.

"Kiss him, Danielle, before the I make him death's paramour. Pay him your last goodbye."

Fujin glanced at Seifer who was frowning at Alexandra.

"Witch," Fujin cursed at Alexandra who merely laughed in reply. Alexandra raised her hand and a yellow beam of light shot across the room like a laser. It hit Seifer in his chest and surrounded him with light.

"No!" Fujin yelled suddenly as she was thrown back by the force of the energy field around the glow. She saw Seifer's face twist with pain in the yellow bubble.

She got back on her feet and ran straight into the field. From across the room, Squall hurled a Ultima stone at Alexandra. The beam disappeared as the green explosion erupted under Alexandra's feet.

Seifer collapsed onto the floor with a thump. Fujin knelt beside his limp body and leaned over him. Raijin, ran over from across the room.

"Seifer, no," Fujin whispered as she held his still warm body in her arms. Quistis looked down in pity as she caught one last sight of the girl crying. Her grey hair in a horrible tassel, her single eye crumpled up into tears as she squeezed Seifer in her arms. He was breathing, just barely.

Squall walked up to the edge of the fire barrier. He held his gunblade in his left hand.

"Squall," Alexandra said with a smile as she turned toward him. Her smile was growing more psychotic by the second and for the first time that night, Squall felt fear as he watched her.

"You asked me, Squall earlier, what would happen at midnight. Well, I will tell you now. Rinoa, she is leaving us. I'm going to seal her away forever. That's why, Squall it's called the Season of Passage. I'm passing her into death." Alexandra chuckled. "You thought you tricked me didn't you Squall? Ah, I love your intelligence. You were going to trick me into letting you hand Maniac Athena to her. She would have used the crystal on herself, therefore absorbing my power into her. Then, leaving me helpless in the future, you would have walked home happily with your lady. I love the ingenuity of your plan. Had someone else used it on her she would have died because the scaffolding of her body collapsed but since she would use it on herself, she would just be replacing scaffolding with more powerful scaffolding. You amaze me always, Squall."

Squall said nothing. His faced betrayed nothing as he watched Alexandra.

"What are you thinking Squall?" Alexandra asked, "after I seal her away I'll be able to spare the power to read your mind again but now I'm curious. What do you think about what I have just told you. Do you feel betrayed? Foolish? Beaten? Tell me."

**You're not here anymore. You are with her.**

Squall stared at Alexandra and felt his mouth move.

"The stars. This can't have been written in the stars Alexandra."

Alexandra suddenly looked sad once more. Her black wings appeared to grow limp as she listened to his words.

"You love her. That has been engraved in the stars more deeply than anything I have ever seen. You will always love her Squall, even after I kill her. I see that now and it saddens me but it won't stop me."

Squall stared at her in quiet contemplation.

**Watching me? You can't save me with yours eyes alone.**

"It's too late for me to cross the stars." he said.

Alexandra nodded. "Too late Squall. It's too late for you to choose anything other than her. This has always been your destiny. It's also too late for you to plead with me to spare her. Her death too has been written in the stars, just like your love for her. It's all a path that we must walk. Give in to destiny Squall. I have. I won't try to plead with you to love me anymore. I see now that it is impossible."

**I know that although you never say it, that when I need you the most, you will come.**

Rinoa, I can't save you this time, not the way you want me to.

"Alexandra, I'm sorry." Squall said.

She frowned at his words. "I'm going to do it now, Squall. Don't apologize. This was what was meant to be. You could never have loved me not matter how much I wanted it, no matter how much you might want it. No one can cross the stars."

**Right now, across the oceans and deserts that separate us, I send you my love.**

You were right, Rinoa. Our last night together has passed. We can never be together again. For what I am about to do now, I can only hope you will understand.

"You are wrong, Alexandra," Squall whispered. "Destiny can be rewritten."

At that moment he lifted his gunblade and stabbed himself through the stomach. Across the room there was complete silence as Squall pulled the bloody blade out of himself and collapsed on his knees.

Alexandra's mouth opened to a O as she stood gaping. She stumbled back in surprise.

"No." she whispered she said as she fell onto the throne. In her disarray, suddenly her arms jerked. Alexandra took no notice as she stared at the bloody puddle pooling at Squall's feet. Alexandra's arm jerked once more, this time, her right arm moved upward swiftly in a smooth curve and pressed Maniac Athena to her forehead.

Alexandra screamed in pain as the air around her bursted into light. The entire place exploded in flame as though the sun had descended from the sky and had entered the room. In the middle of that ball of light the power of two sorceresses entered into Rinoa, Alexandra's and her own.

As the last of the power went into her she collapsed on her knees. The light was gone as though someone had flicked a switch and turned it off. There, under the throne, Rinoa kneeled. Her hair had fallen from its hold on top of her head and it laid around her shoulders in waves. All traces of Alexandra was gone, the veins from her cheeks, the claws from her hands, the wings from her back. Only the raven colored dressed remained. She took no notice of it as she got up and ran over to where Squall laid. She kneeled down beside him and took him into her arms. She pressed her left hand to the wound on his stomach where the black blood flowed in a thick river.

He was watching her as she knelt there, tears warming her eyes. From across the room Quistis came over in a hurry as did Zell, Selphie and Irvine. Squall kept his eyes on Rinoa. He whispered something. She bent down so he could whisper it in her ear.

"If you go there," he said to her in a broken breath. "I promise you will find me, do you understand?"

She stared into his eyes, feeling his breath warming her cheek. She choked on her words as she tried to produce them. "I . .I understand." she said and broke into sobs as she felt his bloody hands squeeze her fingers over the fountain of warm pulsing blood flowing from that wound.

He merely stared at her then, his blue eyes continuing to watch her as Quistis kneeled down beside him. Irvine bent over while Zell crouched down beside Rinoa.

Rinoa kept her eyes on his, hoping that he couldn't leave her as long as she didn't turn her eyes away. Yet even as she stared into his blue eyes without blinking, she felt his body grow cold.

Rinoa felt his hands begin to loosen from hers.

"No," she whispered. "No, Squall, don't leave me. No!" She pressed her hand harder against his to make up for the fact that he was no longer holding her. He swallowed his pain and cast his eyes upon her one last time. His vision blurred, he could hardly see her but still he kept his eyes upon her.

Rinoa roughly rubbed her tears from her eyes and placed her hand back on top of his.

You can't leave me now, not when I have finally earned your love. No, destiny cannot be so cruel.

"Squall!" she cried as she embraced him tightly but no matter how hard she held him, the life was draining out of him, from that wound. Slowly, then, his eyes began to relax, his brows untangled themselves from that frown and his hand went limp in hers.

His head rolled to one side.

"No, Squall" Rinoa whispered. "No, no no!"

His eyes still open as he watched her from death.

"Squall," Rinoa moaned as she buried her face in his chest.

Quistis reached over and closed his eyes. Rinoa laid there on, holding onto him, refusing to let go. She would never let go.

There was not a sound in the throne room as they grieved for their lost leader. Respectful silence prevailed until the large oak doors bursted open and Laguna stepped through, Kiros Ward behind him and a slew of Estharian soldiers behind as well.

"What in the world happened?" Laguna asked in shock as he saw Rinoa leaning over Squall's body. She did not take any notice of the people who had entered the room.

Irvine stood up and looked at Laguna. "The sorceress is beaten. Squall won. Good has triumphed over evil." Although what he said was true, no one in the room believed that on this mournful night, that good had truly triumphed. Laguna took his helmet off and knelt beside Squall. Rinoa dragged her bloody wrist over her eyes and continued to hold him. No one disturbed her.

Outside, slowly, it began to rain.


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