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Writing Final Fantasy VIII - Orlor Palam Deus <Rise in the presence of God> [PG-13-L]


Doublehex
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[B]Prologue[/B]


[I]Forgiveness is such an overrated word. It is so common for the common mass to say that forgiveness brings strength, and they could never be more wrong. Never have I seen compassion give ME strength! Not once was I strengthened, my soul refined, my psyche mended by?forgiveness. Nay, I say forgiveness brings weakness! It prevents you from taking what is yours! Forgiveness gives you nothing!

Only vengeance, I say gives you strength. Only vengeance, and vengeance alone, gives you the will to push onward on your path that They have deemed. Only vengeance can aid you in that, and nothing less will settle your lust. Nothing else can please that addiction in your psyche and soul. Nothing can bring it out from you.

Dare I say love as well?

Yes?not even love is safe from vengeance. Nothing is safe from it, for vengeance is friend to no one.

Where was love when everything I cared for was destroyed by betrayers? Where was I love when I needed care and support? Where was love when I alone, and needed someone to aid me, to speak to me?

The answer: love was never there. And I know it never will. Only vengeance was there, and by His will I will settle my vengeance. Those who betrayed Balamb will not be safe from my vengeance! Edea Kramer is not safe from my vengeance! Seifer Almasy is not safe from my blade!

I am their Judge, Jury, and Executioner! And no one, not even the Heroes of Balamb, not even the great Squall Leonhart, nor his love Rinoa will stop my vengeance, and settle my blade.

The ground cries for vengeance! Those killed in the Clash of the Gardens beg for the tribunal to settle the dark deeds that the Betrayers had done to them!

The Children?they call to me. They say ?Ferin! We were murdered by our Brothers! We cannot rest! Aid us!?

And I shall answer the call. For I am Ferin the Wolf, the Judge.[/I]

-Ferin ?the Wolf? Alengar



[[Author's Note: Grammaticly, Chapter One is my worst. I was trying to see if I could meld 1st and 3rd PoV without seperating them with an *****. When you choose to CC this chapter, please take into consideration that it was an expierment on my part, and after Chapter One I decided to stick with my normal writing style. That aside, sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy the first two chapters of Orlor Palam Deus.]]

[B]Chapter I[/B]

The ballroom was in a frenzy. If you were to look down one side, you?d see SeeD graduates laughing and hollering as they drank some alcohol. Go down the other you?d see some of them dancing.

And those in the middle? Well, you?d see some of them kissing lightly on their lover?s lips as they danced slowly to the music. Kind of odd if you would go and think about it.: every year they, at the same ballroom to celebrate the same graduation, they did the same exact thing. Drink, dance, kiss, have fun, go to bed drunk and dizzy.

But, that?s the keyword. ?Go and think about it?. That?s the big one?you actually have to think about it. Thing is, no one IS going to think about it. They?re not going to think about why every year it?s the same thing year after year?if you?re an instructor, you?ll just be filled with pride that you?re students reached the status of SeeD. And if you?re a student, you?ll be too caught up in the moment to even start to think.

Squall was the same way...well, in his own way. Instead of dancing of wooing other ladies in short dresses like most guys at these graduation ceremonies tended to do, he just stood against the wall, and got himself half drunk, not really caring about the moment. But, there?s always one at these parties that was like him; always one that didn?t like to socialize, who was a gray feather in a pile of golden ones.

Squall just shrugged it of. He really didn?t like to think about what happened three years ago. He didn?t want to remember how deep in a depression he was three years ago. Before the way over-excited Zell, the naïve Selphie, the constantly flirting cowboy Irvine?and her. The person he vowed so long ago to himself that he would spend the rest of his days with, the only person who would feel the way his hand touched her black hair, the only person who would feel the rush of emotions when they kissed.

Rinoa would be the only person to carry the title of Mrs. Leonhart.

Squall chuckled softly, trying not to make Rinoa think she was doing something wrong when she was pouring some drinks into two glasses for her and Squall. He was getting to ahead of himself. It was another six months before they would officially exchange vows, before they?d have the rings slipped onto each others fingers.

But then again, how wasn?t it funny? A year ago, the only thing that mattered to him was, well him. He didn?t form relationships with no one. Oh sure, he had crushes here and there, but that was as close to anything as he was going to get. But it wasn?t because he was some careless low life caught over his head in a deep depression.
Certain?circumstances, or events rather, put him in that position. He was happy as a child, but when someone important to him left, he felt horrible.

And he didn?t know if he could take another blow to his soul as when ?Sis?, or Ellone, or whoever you want to call her, left the orphanage. He thought he would die if that happened. And maybe he was right?if someone close to him did leave him, he may of died in spirit. He may have become a walking corpse?but, then he found Rinoa.

It was three years ago, under the same glass roof they were under now, wearing the same attire they were wearing now, just as tired and exhausted as he is now. They laid eyes on each other by mere chance?Rinoa turned her head behind her, saw a lonely guy up against the wall, and as the curious person she was, she went over to him and despite his dark attitude, she convinced him (if dragging him over onto the dancing floor could be considered ?convincing?) to dance with her.

And hell, he couldn?t even dance. Well, that?s not entirely true. All SeeDs know how to dance; they learn the formal art of dancing in their third or fourth year. After all, if a SeeD has to go to a formal party as part of a contracted mission, they?re going to need to dance.

But teenagers aren?t actually one to live for the future. They live for the moment. And for Squall?s entire career as a SeeD student, his only priority was becoming a SeeD. Not making friendships or dancing.

That didn?t mean he wasn?t a good dancer once they got on the dancing floor. Sure the first few moments were, err, hazy at best. But once he got used to it, he turned out to be quite the dancer. They danced for only a minute. But it was a good minute, especially for Squall. But for the first time since Ellone, he actually did something with someone that didn?t include nearly killing each other in a duel!

When the minute was over, Rinoa patted Squall?s shoulder lightly, whispered something nice and calm into his ear, and walked off from the ballroom.

At that moment years ago, Squall said something to himself about that black haired beauty that is so different, so foreign of him now that it?s almost funny.

Bitch. Squall, who now is as romantic as a twenty year old can get, called his love a bitch. Of course, they weren?t in love at the time, but it?s still kind of a shock. Then again, she did kind of just walk away right when they were getting in the mood. And I don?t mean the romantic mood?just the enjoying the moment type of mood.

Squall shrugged again. That was then, and this is now. Then, he was a lonely grunt who had no friends to give him support and love. Now, he has six friends who had seen him thought thick and thin, and Squall has been happier than he has ever been in a long, long time.

Especially when he noticed that Rinoa was wearing the same short dress that she wore the first time they met.

Squall chuckled, and quickly ended it when Rinao started to walk towards him again with two glasses full of fruit punch (Squall is somewhat of a drinker, and the pair have had a good many fights over it, and Rinoa?s father, General Caraway of Galbadia, being something of a drinker himself didn?t help Squall in his favor too much).

?What?s so funny?? she asked Squall when she noticed that he had a bigger grin on his face than he usually does. He told her nothing, but she didn?t buy it. Squall never was a good liar. Rinoa put her free hand on her hip, and tapped her foot with a slow, but steady, pace of speed. Squall knew he had less than a second before he?s be put on death row.

?It?s just that, well, this is kinda funny.?

?What is??

?This. I mean, this is the same place where we met three years ago, remember? I mean, we?re not even that far off from the wall you dragged me from.?

?Dragged you? Squall, if I remember correctly, you asked me if I wanted to dance.?

?Then you?re memory must be as bad as you?re card skills.?

?Whatever.? That brought a grin to both of their faces. ?Let?s just enjoy the moment, all right??

?Sounds good to me.? Squall sipped on some of his glass, and would have let the drink stay in his mouth if he forgot about something. ?Hey, where?s Zell??

?Scrambling for the hot dogs what else??

Suddenly, they heard the sounds of iron plates smacking against each other acting as an after choir to the symphony of screams and protests along with the beating of shoes along the floor. The odd (and that?s being kind, mind you) musical ended with Zell diving towards them with a hot dog clasped in his hand. ?Yes!? cheered with obvious excitement.

?Zell, it?s only a hot dog.? Rinoa noted, trying to scold Zell, but that got her only shocked looks from her two friends.

?First of all?? Zell said as he got himself to his feet, doing his best not to at all damage the all-mighty-lo-and-behold hot dog, ?It?s not just ANY hot dog. THIS hot dog brand was given an award by the Esthar National Food Committee?! It has to be??

?Fattening? Rinoa spurted out quickly.

?Wha??

?The Esthar National Food Committe? named it the ?Most Fattening Beef Food Product of the Year?.

No one said anything for a few moments. Squall wasn?t going to get involved into the debate, Rinoa was waiting for Zell to say something?anything?and Zell was kind of speech less. How could the best thing about being a SeeD at Balamb Garden, besides being paid kick people?s butts, is actually?bad!

In the end, he just gulped the hot dog down, and licked his lips in eager satisfaction.

?Congratulations Zell, you?ve just gained a pound.?

?A pound that?s going to become two! I?ll be right back!? With that Zell dashed off to once again brave the crowd of people surrounding the hot dog table. Yes, the hot dogs are that popular to get a whole table deemed to them. The two lovers just shrugged it off, Rinao admitting to herself that nothing less of divine intervention will separate Zell from his hotdogs, and returned to drinking.

It wasn?t long until Zell returned with not one, but two hotdogs, one of which was already bitten in half. Zell was already chewing when Squall remembered something he was supposed to ask Zell.

?Hey Zell.?

?Vivebro salla va??

?What??

?Vivebro salla va??

?Squall? Rinoa started to point out ?After two years of Zell?s lack of manners when it comes to hot dogs, I believe he is trying to say ?What the hell is it Squall? I?m trying to eat a freaking hot dog here!??

Zell swallowed the hot dog in a big gulp, and licked his lips to respond. ?Actually, it?s ??What is it Squall??? That got a big grin from Squall. He always loved it whenever Rinoa was wrong, since she always seemed be so right all the time. Well, at least when it comes to stuff people could give half of a rat?s ass about.

?Anywaaays? Squall said, trying to get off the topic of Zell?s hot dog language, ?Where?s Selphie and Irvine??

?Oh, err, I think they called when you guys were, well, you know. They said they weren?t goanna make it. Something about ?a clue to the creation of humanity? or some crap like that.?

?I really wish they were here? Rinoa complained. ?I kind of miss Irvine?s look on everything.?

?You mean him always flirting with you to make Squall madder than a bull that just saw red??

Rinoa chuckled. ?Exactly Zell.?

?Well, that?s the one thing about Irvine I am not going to miss.?

?Yeah? Zell agreed as he brought a hot dog to his mouth and devoured it. But everyone else stayed quiet. Zell even stopped eating his hot dog so loud. Everyone started to miss those two. Well, they missed Quistis as well, but Selphie and Irvine they missed the most right then. It?s just weird. The three of the thought everyone was going to stick together, but everyone just separated. Irvine and Selphie retired from SeeD and became explorers, and Quistis became a wanderer. She never gave a reason why. She told Rinoa she wanted to see the world, but if that was true she would of have gone with Selphie and Irvine.

Squall broke the silence. He noticed a man in a trench coat sitting at table by his lonesome, holding some type of suit case. Squall found it kind of odd that someone was wearing something as unformal as a trench coat to a party like this, but he came to the conclusion that he was probably a SeeD who fell on some rough times, and there were no official rules as to what veteran SeeDs had to wear to gatherings like this.

?He looks familiar.?

?Who?? Zell asked at the question. He turned around to the man Squall was staring at. Zell recognized him at once. ?Hey! It?s Ferin!?

?Ferin? Who was Ferin?? Squall asked, giving him a strange look.

?You know. Ferin! He did that?and err this?and that! Oh, and that one time he did, uh??

?You don?t have a clue who he is, do you Zell?? Rinoa butted in. Zell only looked down in disappointment. ?Well Squall go talk to him.?

?Why me??

?Because if Zell goes he?ll probably get his ass kicked. And if I go you?ll think he?s flirting with me.?

?I wouldn?t think he was flirting per say.?

?Fine. You?d think he was stalking me.? She put both of her hands on her hips. ?Get going Mr. Leonhart.? Zell gave Squall a ghastly look. When Rinoa starts calling people Mr. and Mrs., you?ve had damn best do what she wants. After two years of living in a dorm together, Squall knew that all too well.

Squall put his drink on a nearby table, and walked over to the stranger. Surprisingly enough, he recognized Squall at once. ?Mr.Leonhart! I didn?t expect to see you here.?

Squall scratched the back of his neck, somewhat taken off guard that the man remembered him when Squall didn?t at all. If anything, it was more out of embarrassment than anything. ?Well, good to see you as well. To be honest man, I just came over to say hello, since all my friends seem to remember you but I don?t remember a damn thing of you.?

?I?m surprised at that, Mr. Leonhart. Well, I really shouldn?t. As the slayer of Ultimecia, I?m sure everyone comes up to you, saying ?Hey! I know you!? and ?Remember me??

?Well, actually no.?

?Oh, well good think for you then. I wouldn?t want that myself. Anyways, back on track, I was Ferin.? Squall gave a dead stare, telling him that he didn?t remember anything about him. ?The Judge? The Wolf??

?Ferin the wolf? Now I remember you. You were of Seifer?s Disciplinary Committee or something, right? Right??

Ferin nodded. ?Yeah, that?s right Mr. Leonhart.?

?Now, weren?t you the one that suspended all those guys that were caught doing drugs or something.?

?Actually, it was more along the lines of expulsion, but that?s right Mr. Leonhart.?

?It?s nice to meet you again Ferin, but don?t call me Mr. Leonhart. Just Squall.?

?Of course?Squall.?

?Well, why are you here Ferin? If I remember you kind of disappeared at the Crash.?

?Yeah. I was wounded in the hand. Still got a scar.? Ferin unwrapped some bandages around his left hand, and showed him a scar that looked too much like an X.

?Ouch. That had to suck.?

?Yeah, it hurt a lot. Could barely move my fingers for a month, and when it did, it killed.?

?And I guess you specializing in a buster sword didn?t help.?

?And katana. But yeah, I mainly use the buster sword.?

?Well, what happened to you Ferin??

?I?ve just been traveling.?

?Where??

?Everywhere, I guess. Well, nah it?s more of a definite.?

?Where?ve you been??

?Everywhere.?

Squall chuckled a little bit at Ferin?s refusal to be specific on his journey?A little broad, don?t you think??

?From one side of the world to the next.?

Squall shrugged it off. Apparently, Ferin never was one to talk much about anything, maybe that?s why he joined the Committee?so people knew something about him, even if it didn?t make him the most popular guy at Balamb Garden.

?So, what brings you back to Balamb Ferin??

?Matron.? Squall gave him a confused look. ?How does he know about Edea? He couldn?t of been at the orphanage?the GFs makes you forget memories?so how does he know what we called Edea?? ?Headmistress Edea??

?Huh?? Squall snorted out, Ferin?s interruption bringing him back to reality. ?Oh yeah, yeah, she and Headmaster Cid run Balamb. But what do you need Edea for??

?I need to talk to her. She contacted me, and wanted me to come back.?

?Contacted you? How did she know where you where? Hell, everyone thought you were dead.? ?And why didn?t she tell us that she was going to invite someone everybody thought was dead to Balamb? This is just too weird?maybe it?s her way of saying the Gardens have recovered now?by bringing someone dead to life??

?Anyways Squall, where is Edea??

?Probably with Headmaster Cid.?

?In his office??

?Yup.?

?Do you know who Head of Defense is now? I want to talk to Edea as soon as I can.?
?Yeah, but I?ll do you one better. I?ll bring you to her myself. Being the savior of the Gardens has its perks.?

?I?m sure? Ferin said with a chuckle as they got up.

Squall led the way, leading the man in the trench coat down the room, right towards the nearest exit which was where Rinoa and Zell had seated themselves. When Squall was about to walk past her, Rinoa grabbed his shoulder.

?Where are you taking him Squall?? she whispered to his lowered ear.

?He says that Matron contacted him. She obviously wants to see him.?

?Yo, Squall? Zell butted in, as he usually did. ?I know you hate it when I butt in like this, but don?t you think Matron would have had told us if she was bringing someone??

?Yeah? Squall muttered, forcing the words. ?But maybe this was going to be a secret, ya know? Don?t worry guys, I?ll be fine.? With that Squall quickly kissed Rinoa on the cheek and led Ferin down the hall to the first floor elevator.

?It?s not you I?m worried about Squall? Rinoa muttered to herself when Squall was out of sight.

?This place sure has gotten bigger since I was here. Hey, if I remember we didn?t have any halls. Just one big circle!? Ferin announced while he and Squall were walking down the halls.

?Yeah, it?s changed since Ultimecia.?

?Feels kind of weird being here and all.?

?Yeah, it?s changed a little too much.?

?Not that. I mean, after the battle?I didn?t think I?d be back.?

?Neither did I. But look now, here I am. Come on, the elevator is down the corner.?

When they reached the elevator, the doors slid open when it detected their presence. Once inside, Squall showed his keycard to a scanner and a picture of Cid?s office showed on a screen above the door. The sound of the elevator moving smoothly against the gravity?s weight echoed in their ears.

Once they reached the third floor, Squall noticed that Fenrin looked a bit?colder if that?s the best choice of words. ?What?s up??

?Nothing.?
?Yes. Lead the way, Squall.? Squall left the elevator, and opened the wide wooden doors that led to Cid and Edea?s office. The two gave the SeeD salute when they entered. Cid raised his head from his work on his desk, and turned his face towards Squall. But when he turned towards Ferin, he had a confused look,

?Squall, who is this??

Squall gave his headmaster a quick response. ?Edea summoned him here Headmaster.? Edea had walked in from the side entrance right when Squall explained himself.

Edea have Squall a confused expression. ?Squall, who is this?? Squall turned to Ferin.

?I don?t know? Squall asked, more of a statement than a question. ?Ferin, who are you?? Immediately, Ferin dropped his suitcase, and a blinding light covered the room. The sound of a blade being released bounced off the room in rhythm with hard boots pressed against the polished floor.

?Who are you!? Squall commanded, not being able to see anything.

?Don?t you know, Squall? I am Ferin! I am the Judge, Jury and Executioner of the Betrayers of SeeD!?

?What?? Squall asked, but he already knew the answer by the time he asked the question.
?Ferin, wait! It wasn?t Matron! She was possessed by Ultimecia! Please, forgive her!?

?There is no such thing as forgiveness: only vengeance. There is only the sounds of children screaming, only the cries of the Betrayed crying from the stained ground. And there is only the sound of the Executioner?s Blade slicing the head of the Convicted! And Matron Edea Kramer is convicted of treason and murder on her children! And this act of betrayal must be paid in blood!? Then the blade sliced through the crisp air, and sliced through Edea?s chest. Ferin quickly leaped towards Headmaster Cid and sent the katana crashing onto him. Both were dead the instant the blinding light glowed dark.

The scene was an unbearable one for Squall, and it wasn?t because of the massacre that Ferin had just unleashed. It was because of the two closest things that Squall and all of his friends had to a mother and a father?who raised them as both a child and young adult?who taught them so much?was murdered by a confused madman?no, in Squall?s eyes Ferin was no madman.

He was a lunatic.

Strange enough, Squall did nothing as Ferin leaped out the glass window of Balamb Garden that reined three stories over the soft green plains of Balamb. Squall did nothing as Ferin landed on the grass softly and unharmed with his steel-toed boots and his katana in hand. Squall did nothing to stop Ferin as he climbed down a small cliff to a motorcycle he hid under the bushes several hours before, and raced off towards his next victim.
The only thing that Squall did, that anyone could have done, was kneel down beside Edea?s lifeless body, slowly and cautiously bring her lifeless head to his chest, and cry.

For the first time in so many years, he cried like a child who had lost something very dear to him. And indeed he had.
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[b]Chapter Two[/b]

It was around three in the morning when one of the parties of SeeD scouts Squall sent out to locate Ferin returned empty handed to a tired, growling and confused Commander.

Once they had given him the customary SeeD salute, Squall?s tired and angered eyes told them at once that they had best give him some good news ? any type of news, even remotely good ones, or else they may get their asses handed back to them on a silver platter. Alas for them, there was no good news that could please Squall.

Squall in his angered, not nearly as kind state, ordered that same search party that had been out searching for three hours to search for another three. Squall was angered beyond what any of them could ever understand, and they got off lucky. Other search parties had seen worst sides of Squall that night ? mostly his fist. After sending that search party off, Squall drowsily went to his chambers, where a sleeping Rinoa waited.

Squall, in all of his rage and drowsiness and sadness, among all of the emotions and memories that flooded his mind as he began to think more and more of his Matron and Headmaster, managed to notice one tiny detail of his love as she slumbered, a tiny one, but an important one nevertheless. A visual one: she had cried herself to sleep that night. Squall could easily see that her pillow was stained with tears. It would dry by morning, but for now he began to learn so much more of Rinoa that if he hadn?t.

She [i]cared[/i]. Despite the fact she barely know Matron, she [i]cared[/i].

Squall sighed deeply and muttered a swear to himself as he headed for the bed. He hated it whenever he allowed his emotions to get the better of him, especially when it concerned Rinoa, and even more so when he should be focused on the task at hand, whatever they could be.

Squall undressed and got into his sleeping attire, and lazily got into his bed along with Rinoa, trying his best not to wake her.

Squall couldn?t get to sleep right then and there, not after tonight. Not after how he saw a SeeD kill Cid and Matron.

No, Ferin was a SeeD anymore, not in Squall?s eyes or anyone else?s at Balamb. Ferin was a murderer?a true betrayer in every sense of the word. It was funny, almost ironic, in Squall?s eyes how a man who accused people of betrayal was a betrayer in his own right.

And Squall hated the man, almost as much as he hated?still hates Seifer. He didn?t understand why he hated the two characters so much. It?s been three years since Ultimecia, Squall should have been peace with Seifer, but Squall never thought much of it. At least not until Ferin returned to Balamb. And now, Squall seemed to hate Ferin [i]more[/i] than Seifer.

But Squall didn?t hate the man just because he murdered the closest thing to a mom and dad he and his friends had ever known?the only thing he and his friends had ever known. They were always in their lives; as far back as he could remember. Cid and Matron were always there. And now, they were gone.

But the reason Squall hated the man most of all was because Ferin used him. Squall believed him. Squall truly thought that Ferin was back by Matron?s will. Ferin [i]made[/i] Squall used his card key to bring the elevator to Headmaster Cid?s office.

Squall actually began to feel a little bit of sympathy for Seifer, although he didn?t even seem to know why since there was nothing in his thoughts that could have made Seifer redeemable to Squall. But that moment of sympathy for his rival was just that: a moment.

But, was Squall beginning to forgive Seifer? After all these years of rivalry, of betrayal and hate and mocking Squall?s every action, was Squall actually beginning to forgive Seifer? After all, it took Squall only a second to be fascinated by Rinoa in that ballroom three years ago.

?No, that was different. Love and hate are two totally different things. After all that Seifer had done to Squall, and Rinoa, and Balamb, there was probably nothing he could that could make Squall forgive all of his trespasses.

Squall went to sleep dreaming an utmost dark and horrible dream, a dream that was not at all Squall the Lover. It was Squall the Warrior that demanded it?the Hater dreamed of killing Seifer and Ferin. And perhaps worst of all, Squall was glad when he had the dream.

[center]*****[/center]

The next day was no better than the night following Cid and Edea?s murder. The news media, being the vultures that they are, used the tragedy as a way to get some more viewers (and the all powerful Gil) in their grasp. The Balamb Garden Administration directed them into the auditorium where they (and they being the Administration mind you, not the news media) unanimously decided that Squall, despite him losing two parent figures and barely got any sleep the night before, was the best person to inform the press of what had occurred.

?Shit!? Squall swore when a SeeD student informed him of the news at the eerily empty cafeteria, which odd enough also remained totally unchanged in the reconstruction period of Balamb Garden between the Crash of the Gardens during the Ultimecia Incident and now. ?They should damn know that I?m not ready for this.? The SeeD student, not wanting to see Squall?s ugly side walked off.

?No one would be Squall? Rinoa began, trying to make him realize from the administration?s point of view, ?But you [i]were[/i] kind of there.? Squall only frowned as he stuffed another spoonful of oatmeal down his mouth. ?Look Squall? continued sternly but with a hint of care in her voice ?I?we know you lost a lot last night. And I?m not referring to just your dignity. It?s really personal; Cid was the only dad that I?ve really known.?

?What about Caraway? Or did you just forget all about him?? Squall muttered not thinking but when he muttered the words, he knew he hit a spot that he shouldn?t of have touched. Hell, he already knew the answer so why did he ask?

Rinoa answered him anyway, even though she was pissed at Squall for the needless comment. ?Caraway was not a father but not a dad. Cid?well, he gave me love. Caraway gave me knowledge. Not to say Caraway didn?t love me Squall. We, well we just didn?t get along like me and Cid did.? Rinoa sighed; this topic may just be hurting her as much as it did Squall. ?Makes me wonder why Cid didn?t come down last night.?

?What you mean??

?I didn?t think that Cid was one to stray away from wild celebrations like yesterday?s graduation. He always loved festivities. That?s probably why he threw so many of them for his students. I think that ?raising student morale? crap was just a big excuse to have the students in one place to have fun.? Rinoa sighed again, and leaned back on the chair. She probably wasn?t showing it, but this talk about Cid wasn?t exactly soothing. But she knew that Squall needed support now.

?He was staying in his office a bit too much. When I was a student, he was never like that.? Squall sighed as he ate some more oatmeal. ?Now, whenever I tried to get him to take a break, he?d say something like ?I?ve got too much work Squall. Now, why don?t you just get going to Rinoa? Or will I have to order you to get to her?? His words sounded like Cid, but his tone didn?t. He sounded almost sad.?

?Well, regardless of what his feelings, the advice sounded good to me Squall.?

Squall just growled a whatever as he finished his oatmeal. For the next couple of hours, before the big press meeting, Squall and Rinoa just talked. The subject didn?t matter to them, just as long as it wasn?t Cid or Edea or death or anything else that made them uncomfortable, they were just content with being with each other. They really just needed to get their minds off the events that have been happening.

They finally got talking about how Irvine would always flirt with Rinoa just to get Squall to go on and on about ?SeeDs not allowed to show relationships with other SeeDs while in presence of commanding officer? which everyone knew was total crap. Then Rinoa would usually go of to Irvine, give him a kiss on the cheek, and say something along the lines of ?Well Squall, that?s nice and all, but I?m not a SeeD?. Squall would just stare at her, and throw out a whatever as he walked off.

Then, Zell ran into the cafeteria towards his two friends. ?Guys, we?ve got a problem! Some kid committed suicide.?

?What the hell are you talking about Zell?? Squall blurted out, the bad news so off topic of what he and Rinoa were just talking about.

?It was some fifteen year old. He hung himself from some duct tape, although no one knows how the tape managed to hold his weight. From what his roommate told me, the kid was pretty hysterical when he heard the news about Cid and Matron. The thing is, he and Cid and Matron were never that close. Hell, I don?t think Matron and Cid even knew the poor kid even existed.?

?God, it makes no sense? Rinoa muttered under her breath. She always was one to get all quiet and sensitive when suicide became a sudden topic.

?Yeah? Zell agreed?. ?He came from some really prestigious family in Galbadia or something like that. Transferred here from a military school down there.?

?Damn? Squall whispered to himself, but it was loud enough for Rinoa to hear him.

?Yeah, Squall. Damn.? Rinoa frowned a little bit. She always was the one out of the group that was the most uneasy when it came to death. When they thought that Seifer was executed for kidnapping the Galbadian president (although dictator was a far more accurate term), Rinoa was quick to show her feelings about the blonde haired gunblade user, her and Seifer?s short relationship from the year before one of the first topics of discussion. ?It doesn?t make sense Zell. Why would a kid who had so much going for him hang himself when Edea and Cid were killed by Ferin when the Cid and Edea didn?t even know the poor kid? It can?t just be coincidence: something else has to be up.?

?Yeah, but what?? Zell asked out loud. Squall nodded in agreement. To him, something just didn?t seem right. There was more to his than meets the eye. Then again, to Squall almost everything had more behind the scenes than the public knew about.

?Guys I?m heading for the showers? Squall announced after a few moments of pondering on the matter.

?I?ll join you Squall? Rinoa announced just as Squall got up from his seat.

Squall turned around, a surprised expression on his face. ?[i]Since when does Rinoa want to have sex in the shower?[/i]? ?Rinoa this is so, err, sudden.?

Rinoa gave an equally surprised look. ?Shower? Squall, I mean to the dorm.? That resulted in a laugh from Zell, which Squall deemed reason enough to for a hit on the head.

[center]*****[/center]

The press conference was three hours later, at almost precisely twelve ?o clock in the afternoon. One of the reporters was running late and Squall refused to start the conference until [u]all[/u] of the reporters were present. He was in no mood to repeat anything, even in the form of an answer to a lagging reporter. It was obvious that he was agitated, and that was part of the report relayed back to the stations.

Squall told them in no pleasant terms everything that he knew of the matter ? which was pretty much nothing. The reporters were, to be blunt, pissed. They had assumed that when they heard that the founders of SeeD were murdered, it was some government conspiracy, not a calculated assault by some madman. These days, conspiracies proved far more fascinating than murders.

However, Squall managed to let out the tiny detail that Ferin was an ex-SeeD. He didn?t want the want the investigation of Ferin and his connections with Balamb to get too much publicity, but by the sounds of the murmuring reporters as they left the auditorium, the investigation wasn?t going to get publicity from anyone.

[center]*****[/center]

It was roughly eight at night when a tired and frustrated Squall returned to his dorm after yet another meeting with the Garden Administration. It was the last in a marathon of other similar meetings, if one can consider an unorganized debate by a group of power-hungry instructors a meeting.

The moment the door slid behind him, Squall got on the floor, got his back against the wall, and took a breather. Squall would of rather faced Ultimecia a thousand times over than have to attend another meeting with the Administration again.

Politics. He hated it, if only because he didn?t know how to play this type of game and those that did may be playing him?and Garden.

If something was to happen soon, Squall would want it to happen soon. If not, he?d have to learn quickly how to play the game. And if there was one game he did not want to play, it was politics.

Rinoa turned her head to Squall; her body nestled nicely enough on a couch that was placed in front of a T.V. ?Bad day Squall??

?No shit? Squall grumbled. He knew that Rinoa was trying to help him out, but right now he didn?t need someone feeling sorry for him. What he needed then was some peace and quiet. Then again, a backrub wouldn?t of have hurt either.

?Squall, don?t you dare even think of talking to me like that. I don?t want [i]anyone [/i]talking to me like that.? Rinoa sighed. ?My gosh Squall, I know this is rough on you, but -? She was cut short by Squall.

?Rinoa, listen to me. I?ve had the closest thing to a mom and dad killed in front of me. I mean, oh just forget it!?

?No Squall, I?m not just going to forget it. I?m not here just for you and me to kiss and talk about things that don?t really matter! I?m here for you when you need me. If you ever feel down, I?m going to be there for you.? She looked at him, waiting for a response. Squall didn?t say anything to her. He just closed his eyes and looked up.

After a few moments, Squall looked back at Rinoa. ?Come here Rinoa? he said almost commanding, but with a dash of love. Rinoa complied, getting on top of his lap as he sat there. Squall softly placed his heavy head on her shoulder, and she in response put her soft light hand on his cheek. ?I feel so angry now Rinoa.?

?At Ferin??

?Yeah. I mean, now I really understand how you felt when Ultimecia possessed you. That bastard [i]used[/i] me Rinoa. I feel so much hate towards him now. I mean, I don?t even think I hated as much as I hate Ferin now.

?And what do you want to do to him?? Squall closed his eyes, putting his head against the wall trying to think. He had to know what he was feeling, not what he wanted to feel. What was he really feeling? He had to know. Then, it hit him like a brick.

?I want to kill him.?

?Why do you want to kill him Squall??

?Vengeance? Squall muttered as he returned his head to Rinoa?s shoulder.

?Squall, I don?t care if you kill him or not. But I do care for the reason. Squall, kill him if you must. But don?t become a murderer like he did. Show him the judgment that he was seeking.?

?Does he deserve it??

?No, but then again I probably don?t deserve you.?

?I thought it was the other way around??

?Whatever? she said with a grin. That forced a chuckle from Squall. He seemed to be rubbing off her after all. It was good to have his woman by his side.

?What?s on TV??

?Since when do you watch TV??

?Since I started to get really tired of my own drama.? So Rinoa led him to him to the couch, and then they did some channel surfing. When they didn?t find anything good on TV (Rinoa always did say there was nothing good on Tuesdays) the two decided to just talk, and it was the type they hadn?t have for a long time.

At nine Zell began to franticly pound on the dorm door. ?Squall, Squall!? The Commander rushed from the couch, caught off guard by the martial artists? tone.

?What is it man?? Squall asked as he opened the door. ?Has there been another -?

?No suicides but its Dr. Kadowaki! She just told me after bringing in some medial shipment that she knows Ferin.?

?She knows Ferin?? Squall asked in a shocked tone. ?How good??

?Enough to know his birthday was January eleventh and he came from Galbadia. The first one makes sense, but we usually don?t tell anybody where we came from, especially if it?s from a bad family like Ferin.?

Squall quickly turned to Rinao, but she was already dressed. She wanted to get involved in this, and Squall knew that there was nothing he could of done to convince her otherwise.

In ten minutes they were already in front of the doctor?s desk. It was a well known fact around Balamb Garden that the Doctor?s stress level could be calculated by how much empty coffee cups were laid about her desk. There were about a dozen or so on her desk.

?She?s my grandson Squall? was the first thing she said.

?But Doc, you?ve always told us that you had no kids.?

?Zell, everyone at Balamb are my children. But Ferin was?closer. I was the closest thing he ever had to a grand mother, and him the closest to any true child.? She paused, taking another sip of coffee. ?He always was an err, um, troubled child. Yes, that?s the best word for it I suppose.?

?Doctor? Rinoa butted in, ?If talking about Ferin is too much for you, you don?t have to.?

?Thank you sweetheart? the old doctor smiled. ?But you have to know about my cub. He got it from his father, who I unfortunately DID know. His father was Vaan Alengar, and he was a gangster before a poor boxer. Vaan was [u]always[/u] a fighter, always fighting for what [u]he[/u] and no one else believed in. That included Darwinism.? She sighed again. ?That?s how he justified raping Ferin?s mother, who even Vaan apparently knew but would never tell anyone who it was. But Ferin?s mother couldn?t support him, and Vaan took him in, so that?s at least one good thing among a list of atrocities. But if there?s one good thing about Vaan?s character, it was he had some family values. He instilled in his boy the will to survive, the will to fight for what he believes in. That includes justice. You see Vaan was part of a minority class in Galbadia, and they were always third class citizens in Galbadia.?

?That would explain why he called himself the Judge? Squall reasoned.

?Yes, Ferin always told me that if no one else was going to be a rightful judge, then he was. That explained why he joined Seifer?s Disciplinary Committee. When everyone else in the Committee was a bunch of power abusing bullies, he acted as justly as he could. But, he was never liked and appreciated by most of the students. And if he was, it was usually a short term relationship by some trouble makers to use him to avoid getting into trouble. And that never lasted long.?

?Did you appreciate his work?? Rinoa asked curiously.

?I would tell him at times he was a tad harsh, but he knew, or at least I think he knew, that I was proud of what he did. Someone had to, and by God I was going to be the one if no one else. But, he was alone. Thus the consequences of being a good person in a crowd of bad, I suppose. Or, at least until he met her.?

?[i]Her[/i]?? Squall blurted out. ?What do you mean [i]her[/i]??

?Alladra Hemingway. What a kind soul she was. They met on a training mission. I think it was, forgive me if I?m wrong, Timber or something of the sort. Yes, it was Timber, some big forest country. Anyways, it wasn?t love at first sight like you?d read in books. They became acquaintances, and didn?t get along very well at all at first. They had something of a little war between the two of them. One day, he sentenced her to a weeks long detention, and on the second day he came to sit next to her, after just getting in an argument with me about not telling him who his Ma was, when he knew that I didn?t know either but he didn?t want to accept that I suppose.

I don?t know what they talked about, but what I do know is that by the next day they were holding hands in her detention session. I think she said it was the only good detention she really ever got. I thought it was so sweet. But despite that relationship Ferin didn?t change as much as I would have had like Squall. He was still that freedom fighter that acted first and thought second of the consequences on himself. But, at least she convinced him to cut his hair. Her hair was, oh lets say here.? She patted her shoulder. ?All light blonde and nicely done. His went down to my arse, and all messy and horrid. What a mess, I tell you.? She sighed again. ?But this relationship, like all the others, didn?t last.?

?What happened?? asked Zell quickly. All the others were shocked that the relationship ended: it sounded so good, so sweet. So much like Squall?s and Rinoa?s.

?She left him for some other boy. I think his name was Mavrick or something, doesn?t matter now the boy died in his initiation mission. When she left him, Ferin was devastated. He blamed himself, for not being strong enough for her. That?s where his father?s Darwinism ideals came into play.
He started to spiral downward after that. He left the Disciplinary Committee, buried the ring his mother had given his father to give to him when Vaan took him in. He stopped calling himself by his last name, and named himself the Wolf. When I asked him why, he said ?A wolf is cunning, wise, deceiving his enemies.? I think he wanted to deceive himself, so that he could in his own eyes be strong enough to take Alladra back.? The doctor took another sip of her coffee. ?During the Crash of the Gardens, when you finally faced Edea and freed her of Ultimecia?s possessing of her, he told me he was leaving, that he was joining the pack. I think he wanted to find himself. He was seventeen then. He?s as old as you Squall. That was the last I ever saw of my Ferin.? Dr. Kadowaki looked down and started to do some more paperwork. ?Squall, just know that my Ferin is no heartless killer. He?s lost, and I think you can find him at the old Galbadian Missile Base.?

?Why there?? the Commander questioned.

?He sees to you as heroes?no, legends, like those of ancient myth. If there was a place for him to rest, it would be where his legends did what would seem suicide in desperate times. He wants to be filled with your aura, I think.?

?Thank you Doctor? Squall said, thanking the old advisor. Zell said he was sorry about all this, and followed his Commander as he left the Infirmary. But Rinoa remained behind. She still had something to ask of the Doctor.

?Doctor? Why did she leave him? It sounded so perfect?how could she just leave like that??

?I think it was because of her father.?

?Her father??

?Yes darlin?. You see, Mr. Hemingway was a politician in Dellot, and he didn?t think it looked good if his daughter was dating some soldier.?

?Sounds a lot like my Dad, Doctor.?

?Maybe you could talk to her sometime Rinoa. She must be in a fit. She truly did love him, Rinoa, and she and I both know this isn?t the Wolf we loved. This is the Judge.?

?Thank you Doctor, I?ll see what I can do. Goodbye Doctor.?

?Goodbye Rinoa.?
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