Ever Whisper

By Malice Shaw

I took my love and I took it down
Climbed a mountain and turned around

Light winds as soft as a mother's touch carressed his features with a numbing grace, picking up his lockes of dark hair in the process. Not many would describe him as a handsome rogue, or a rugged gentleman. He was more like a beautiful, young lost boy, who had finally found his way home. He didn't know what drew him to this tiny hill.

It had been so long ago, since it happened. Almost a year, is it? Almost. A few months shy of a year. No. A few weeks. Time travels so fast when you're junctioned with a Guardian Force.

Squall gazed along the hill and pondered to himself about the snow. It never snowed in Winhil. Why was it snowing now? It just didn't seem right. Not with all the things that ran through his head like they were now. Such as, why on earth was he even here? He had no quarter with Laguna. So why was he here to see him?

And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
'til the landslide brought it down...

Squall's eyes trailed along the white hills and he sighed. He swore he could see his reflection, except his reflection seemed to smile back at him. It took a few moments before Squall realized it wasn't his face imbedded into the snow.

Just a reflection.

Closing his eyes he leaned his face back parallel to the sky and breathed in the ice cold air, letting it sting his lungs. He was here for a reason, right?

Squall knew the reason. He just wasn't about to admit to it.

Oh, mirror in the sky... What is love?

Laguna loved him the moment he first saw him. He had his mother's eyes, his mother's face. He was beautiful, Hyne he was absolutely beautiful. The measly pictures he had bought off the midwife of his son and wife just minutes after he was born were tattered and and dull, but still Laguna could make out the vibrant ice blue in his son's eyes, and the cobalt of his wife's. Every time he looked at the picture, even now, a smile grew across his weary features and he seemed young again, whole again. Then the realization that his son didn't even know him set it and another part of his soul was ripped away.

How can a man live with just half a soul?

On this hill, Laguna could feel his blood tingle with in his veins. Was Squall here? Was he well? Was he safe?

Did he know?

Laguna heaved a breath into the cold air, and shuddered slightly in his loose fitting shirt and pants.

He was fading now...

Yet he still could feel the sweet excitement and awe.

And he still held the picture in his hand.

Can the child within my heart rise above?

Squall gazed at the tombstone of Raine Loire, reading the name over and over in his mind. Although well made, it was dirty and not well taken care of, as if no one had been around to see it for a long long time, as the dirt of erosion covered half of the stone. Not even Ellone had come here, which Squall thought was strange, but left that problem to someone else. He was tired of taking the world unto his shoulders, tired of it. Now, it was his time to shine, his time to seek the truths which were haunting him since the day he first stepped into the orphanage of Edea Kramer.

Inside he felt a little giddy. Like he was being watched under Edea's soulful gaze, making sure he would be alright whenever he played Knights and Queens with the other children. Those where happy times to him, even if he would never admit it. He was well loved by the Matron, him along with all the other children. Even now, just a bit older then when he became Commander of Balamb Garden, he began to remember bits and pieces of his past, with a little help from Ellone every now and then. In some way, he embraced them, holding the memories close, close enough that the diary, or journal as Selphie put it, paled in comparison to the vivid beauty of the flower fields, the midnight embers of a fire gone soft, and Matron's pancakes.

Gazing into the distance, Squall suddenly had the uncontrollable urge to make a snow angel.

Can I sail through the changin'...ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Laguna suppressed a chuckle as he watched Squall throw himself down into the white earth and spread his arms and legs, flapping them up and down, left and right scraping the snow away in a familiar ritual Laguna himself sometimes indulged in with Ellone when she was a young girl. Lifting a hand to his mouth he held them shut as his eyes brimmed with unshed tears of admiration for this young man, who himself had fought off hordes and hordes of evil incarnate to save a world he never really cared for. During that duration he learned to love, care, and appreciate friendship beyond any normal acquaintances. The thought was bitter sweet in irony. His son grew up twice with out knowing who he was, or how much Laguna loved him.

The laughter escaped from his throat when Squall stood up and shook his white flecked hair free of the snow, grinning from ear to ear. It seemed so long since his son shed his 'serious' exterior and finally learned to be free. He changed. He changed so much. As if his own world of seasons changed enough to reflect in him, finally, inner peace.

Yearning over took him. Seeing Squall so happy. So..innocent. It overtook him.

Without thinking, Laguna called out his name.

I don't know.....I don't know

A sharp sound stunned his ears, and Squall turned around, his features encased in a frown. Chewing lightly on his bottom lip, a habit he picked up from Rinoa whenever she became unusually nervous, he reached to his side and gripped the handle of Lionheart, and thumbed the chambers into place. Squall squinted his eyes into sapphire slits and looked around the barren landscape, his breath coming forth in small bursts of white mist. He tried to replay the sound in his ears, gently, one time over the next to try and pinpoint it's location, but found it had been said from all directions.

Straight into his head.

A chill etched along his back when he turned and saw behind him the form of Laguna Loire.

Squall's breath caught in his throat and he stood perfectly still, except for one gloved hand reaching upwards to grip his pendant.

Well I've been afraid of changin'
Because I've built my life around you

Laguna's sleepy eyes trailed along Squall's face, and he heaved a heavy sigh. Shoving his hands into his pockets, he limped towards the gravestone, never taking his eyes away from Squall. He looked almost majestic in that way, that calm, soothing way, before he finally did tear his gaze away from the young commander and gazed at the name of his long departed wife, engraved in stone. Lifting a finger to trail it along the indented marble and lime, he spelled out her name before once again pinning Squall still in a mirrored glance.

"Your mother." he whispered, shocked at how weak his voice felt even when he himself felt strong. "Your mother, Squall."

Squall only nodded, not trusting himself to say a word.

Digging into his pockets, Laguna pulled out a small picture, of a lovely, sweat drenched woman holding one of the most beautiful babies Hyne had ever graced the earth with. Upon retrieving the piece, he let a small smile trickle the corners of his lips before standing up and taking a step backwards, and facing the other man.

But time makes you bolder, even children get older
And I'm getting older too....

Squall gripped his necklace tightly in one hand, and felt a sour taste in his mouth. Swallowing did nothing to dissuade the taste, so he just decided to hold still, and avoid any kind of confrontation. Laguna misted over slightly, turning away from him and looking out into the distance, his mind running a million miles a minute in trying to think of a way to tell Squall the rest of the tale he needed to know. In his hand he clenched the photo of his wife and their little boy, and it dawned on him.

Thrusting his hand out to him, Laguna met eyes with the youth once more and waited for Squall to accept the small token. When he finally did he tore his gaze away and waited for his leg to cramp up.

Miraculously, he felt nothing.

So, take my love...take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around...

Squall stared into the eyes of his deceased mother, and tasted blood on his tongue. He stopped his gnawing on his lip and looked back up into Laguna's face.

Breathing deeper, he pointed towards him, and then to himself and saw Laguna's awaited nod of confirmation. A shuddering cry escaped Squall's throat, and he sighed, tilting his head and pushing the picture into his pocket.

Laguna gave him a sidelines glance, his face seemingly frozen in time. a small breeze picked up, tossing Squall's hair in and out of his face before the youth reached upwards to pull it away. He shut his eyes against the upcoming onslaught of emotions, pushing the feelings down until he could decipher them later. He felt Laguna's presence drift away from him, and he slitted his eyes open slightly, before clenching his fists tight enough to feel a circular round object through the tough material of his glove.

"Wait!" He called to the retreating form. Laguna stopped his walk and turned around to see Squall slowly walk up to him, tugging on his right hand, pulling his glove free, then finally on his finger.

And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills...

"Take it.." he whispered, shoving the silver ring into Laguna's hand. "Please...just take it.."

"Squall.." Laguna's hushed voice whispered. The ring seemed to burn into his hand, leaving an indent of love and hope into his palm in the shape of a lion. He brought his gaze back towards Squall and ran a tongue across his lips. "Squall.."

"Please.. I don't know where you are now. But you need it more then I do.." Squall's voice choked out. "Just...Tell Raine.. Okay?"

No more words needed to be said. Laguna smiled, for the last time, before nodding his head and pocketing the silver band. Holding out a hand, Squall grasped it tightly in his own, and let Laguna's strong embrace cover his body, seemingly shield him from the cold. Father and son held each other for a few moments, long moments, before Laguna pulled away and placed both of his hands on Squall's shoulders. Squall looked up and caught Laguna's eyes in his own and let the gates of the flood fall free, dripping hot salty tears down his cheeks into the snow, forming dents in the soft cold ground.

"Squall.. I have to go." Laguna said in a whisper.

Squall nodded, and whispered a farewell to the former president of the beautiful city Esthar. Nodding, Laguna turned on his heel and began walking towards the headstone. A thought crossed his mind and he turned around, shouting at his son to get his attention.

The ploy worked. Squall gazed up into Laguna's serene face, and held completely still, waiting for the older man to speak. "I love you son." He whispered, becoming fainter and fainter as the winds grew colder. A smiled twitched Squall's lips as he nodded.

"I know... Father.

A grin spread across Laguna's face as he turned his back and disappeared into the snow, slowly at first, fading away into the serene scenery.

Well the landslide will bring it down

Squall leaned down and pulled his gloved back onto his right hand. The picture was still fresh, burning a hole into his mind as well as his pocket. Gazing down at the headstone of lime and marble. Squall frowned slightly and watched as his last tear fell from his chin, and danced in a splash upon the cross above Raine's name.

Using his newly gloved hand, he wiped away the dirt and snow from the stone marker and sighed, reading off the names.

Here lies Raine Loire.

Here lies Laguna Loire.

Hyne blessed us with their presence for such a short time.

May Hyne bless us again with their spirits in our hearts.

The landslide will bring it down....

Malice Shaw's Fanfiction