Fire Petals Chapter 12


By Edenne

Seifer realized that he hadn't seen Rinoa in almost a year. He'd seen her in battle, seen her as an enemy -- an insect in need of immediate squashing -- but he hadn't seen her as a person since the previous summer when he'd been privledged enough to call her 'his'. She had called him intelligent and caring, though he had never shown it in public. She had kissed him, though only once, but it had lingered within him for months after their heated argument and final goodbye. She had thought him too serious, and he her too flighty. Thus their relationship had ended with the slam of a door and the screeching of tires. Seifer had been infuriated with her, though he could not place his finger on the exact reason, until he'd practically forgotten about her.

And here she was, twenty feet away, sobbing and in need of comfort. He no longer felt anger or resentment of her; only reminiscence and longing. There had always been something about her carefree attitude -- a film negative of his own -- that had drawn him to her. So, despite Squall's mental screams of protest, he went to her.

Rinoa tried to wipe the tears from her face without showing that she was crying, in case Squall was looking. *What are you doing, Rinoa?* She scolded herslef, *You're sitting here in case he wants to come over and say sorry but you don't want him to know you're crying so he won't think you're weak but you want him to see you so he'll be really really sorry and feel horrible but at the same time you just want to be left alone but you won't get up and leave---*

"Rinoa?" She felt a warm hand on her shoulder. He body jerked slightly in surprise.

"Leave me alone." *What am I doing? No, stay here Squall, make me feel better.*

"I don't think you want that." Seifer did have to admit, he knew her quite well.

Rinoa shrugged and stared at the ground. "You're a jerk."

~That's right Squall. You ARE a jerk.~

*Shut up, you asshole.* Squall replied, noticing the sarcastic tone in Seifer's thoughts. He tried desperately to regain control of his actions, if only of his mouth to tell Rinoa to run, to go find somewhere to hide . . . *Rinoa, get out if here! I don't know what he'll do . . . *

~She can't hear you. Don't bother yourself. Watch closely, you ignorant half-wit, I'm going to show you how to treat a lady.~

Squall was infuriated with Seifer's arrogance. As if he knew . . . .

"I'm sorry. I'm just feeling so stressed lately . . . I wish I could explain, Rinoa, but I can't." Squall was apalled by the false sincerity he heard in his own voice.

To his surprise, Rinoa allowed herslef to be drawn in. She turned her mascara-streaked face upwards and looked at him. "Are you really?"

Seifer made Squall nod. "I promise I'll tell you soon. Maybe tomorrow. I need to straighten things out. Give me another chance?" Seifer felt like he was asking her for her forgiveness for their argument that seemed to be decades in the past. When she looked up at him and smiled, he couldn't help but lean down and kiss the top of her head. If Squall was physically capable of gagging at Seifer's fakeness, he would have.

*That's more like it.* Rinoa thought happily, *He must have just been in a 'mood'.*

"C'mon." He held out his hand and Rinoa took it, and they began to leave the Quad together. Seifer searched Squall's mind for the directions to his room, and began to make his way there.

*Stay the hell out of my room! Why are you being so nice to her?*

In no way did Seifer reply. Squall sensed that the question made him uncomfortable. *Oh, no . . . don't tell me you're in love with her!*

Seifer finally decided to reply. ~No, I'm not in love with her. Shut up, will you? ~

Squall tried to search Seifer's mind, hoping that he could do it as well. He found that no, Seifer was not in love with her, just a little close.

~Stop doing that!~ Seifer mentally shouted. He hadn't known that Squall would be able to search his mind as well.

*Now you know how it feels. You'd better not try anything.*

~Or else what?~

Squall could not think of a reply.

~That's what I thought. You can't do anything to me. I think I want a little piece of ass today, and with my amazing charm, I shouldn't have a problem.~

*Stay away from her! Just GO AWAY!!* Seifer's mind became silent once again. Then, a few minutes later, he heard Rinoa's voice. "Squall, why are you being so quiet?"

Squall felt his shoulders shrug, and his voice say, "I dunno. Just thinking, I guess."

"Okay." Rinoa's nose crinkled up in a cute smile. She was so glad that Squall had returned to normal, or, since being this friendly wasn't that normal for him, glad that he'd just stopped being a jerk.

Soon the pair, hand in hand, reached Squall's door. Rinoa followed him inside, and they sat on the bed. Rinoa began to feel uncomfortable. *Why did he bring me here?* She nervously began to fiddle with her hands.


She turned her face up to him quickly. "Hm?" Before she knew it, Squall was leaning towards her, obviously wanting a kiss. She turned her head and his lips landed on her cheek.

"What?" He asked, almost angrily. "You don't like me anymore?"

~Ugh, that sounded so corny. I'm such and idiot.~

*You know, Seifer, this is odd, but for once in your life you're actually right about something.*

~Shut up!!~

Rinoa squinted at him. She saw something strange in his eyes. "Squall, are you alright?"

"Uh . . . yeah . . . why wouldn't I be?" He ran a hand through his hair. It was a nervous habit of Seifer's, and he found it felt quite strange with hair so much longer than his own.

"Your eyes . . . they're different."

"Different how?"

"I don't know . . . angrier, I think. Or . . . they just don't look like yours."

"That's crazy talk. I haven't changed." he replied, a nervous edge in his voice. He leaned in to try to kiss her again, his hand moving to her thigh. This time Rinoa jumped up and stared at him, feeling a mixture of fear, anger, and confusion.

"What's wrong with you? You're being so pushy! I'd expect this from someone else, but not you. I *know* you." She stared at him, searching his eyes. She wasn't sure what she found, but she knew it wasn't his and also that she recognized it.

"There's nothing wrong with me!" To Rinoa's surprise, he grabbed onto her wrist. This wasn't going too well, and as soon as one of Seifer's plans was disrupted, he became angry, sometimes throwing temper-tantrums. It seemed that this was one of those times.

*Seifer, you immature bastard.*

~Shut UP!~

"Let go of me!" Rinoa tried to jerk away, but Squall's hands were strong. He grinned and with one swift motion hurled her onto the bed.

"What the hell are you doing!?" she exclaimed. Before she could get up, she found herself pinned at both wrists.

*What do you think you're doing, Almasy??*

~Getting that piece of ass I wanted.~

*Great Hyne . . . . you're not going to . . .*

Seifer didn't reply. "Rinoa, if you make a fucking sound, I swear to Hyne I'll kill you." their faces were inches apart.

To everyone's surprise, including her own, Rinoa began to giggle nervously. This was too insane to be real. "Squall, cute joke. I don't quite get it, but you can get off me now."

"I'm not kidding." He began to stare at her with steel-eyed lust. "This is not a joke. Now you just keep quiet and it'll be over faster. Got it?"

Rinoa's eyes widened in horror. "I'll scream."

"Do you really want to do that?" he whispered threateningly, almost daring her to. She didn't say another word. Her eyes began to swell with horrified tears, but she refused to let one fall. He would then know she was weak, and would be imposing upon her mind as well as her body. If that was allowed to happen, she knew she would go insane.

She suddenly found herself flipped roughly onto her stomach. Her arms were pulled tightly behind her back and her writs bound with something stiff, thick . . leather. When he was turned back over, she found that Squall, now strattling her, was missing one of his belts.

Squall was forced to feel and see and hear all that Seifer was doing, unable to stop his own hands from undoing her blue pullover . . .

*Seifer! You're crazy! Stop this right now!!*

I'm having to much fun.

With that, he leaned down and kissed her. Rinoa didn't have time to turn her head, and Squall could feel her lips trembling with horror beneath his own. He never know that kissing her could feel so horrible. *Hyne, and she thinks it's ME doing this . . .*

~And YOU get to deal with all the concequences.~

His tongue tried to push it's way into her mouth and she bit down hard. "You little bitch!" he yelled as he reared upwards, wiping the tiny trickle of blood from his lip. He was suddenly reminded of how she had hurt him when they'd parted, when she'd just walked out of his life. ~It's payback time.~ His fist swung down and connected with Rinoa's cheekbone. She let out a yelp in in pain as she threw her head to the side. Squall's heart shattered.

He found himself beginning to beg, something he'd never wanted to do in Seifer's presence, and especially not *because* of him. *Just leave her alone. Please, if there's anything else you want, You can have it.*

Sudden laughter becan to echo through his head. ~Oh, are we begging now, Squall? I never thought this would come from you.~

Well it is. He felt incredibly ashamed to have to resort to this, but it was worth it for Rinoa. For Seifer to stop this. *Seifer, you're crazy. Just stop. Do you understand what you're doing?*

~I'm too busy to talk to you right now.~ Yes, he *was* busy, beginning to pull up Rinoa's shirt.

"Squall . . . I know you . . . I know you wouldn't do this . . .please . . ."

"How many times do I have to tell you to shut your mouth?"

Rinoa was silent again.

His hand reached into her black tanktop, fondling hungrily, without an ounce of caring for the feelings of the subject of his caresses. He was too angry to care. Rinoa began to alomst inaudibly whimper in fear and slight pain, her eyes squeezed shut.

The part she had feared and dreaded most since this incident stared began to happen. His hand lifted up her tiny navy skirt and undid the first button on the black shorts she wore beneath them.

There was a sudden knock at the door. "Hey, Squall, you in there? Dude, you'll never guess what happened! I was in the training centre, and--"

"Shut up! Shut up and go away!"

"Oh . . . okay . . .sorry, man . . ." Zell began to leave slowly.

"No! Zell!" It was Rinoa, daring to speak only because this could be her one chance for help.

"I said to keep quiet!" he replied as Zell's footsteps neared the door again.

"The hell's goin' on in there?" Harder knocks on the door.

He got up and stared at the door. Rinoa curled into a ball on the bed as soon as he got off of her. "None of you damn business!" Then he mumbled, though louder than he'd meant to, "Great timing for that pussy chicken-wuss to show up."

"What did you just call me??" Zell burst through the door. He only had time for two quick glances (one at a shaken Rinoa and one at Squall's furious face) before he was thrown back out into the hall by a little-to-hard-for-tolerance punch in the face. He instantly began to mumble, almost to himself, "Oh, you did not do that to Zell the Martial Artist Dincht, Squall, you did *not* just--"

"I *told* you to get outta here!"

Zell made his way toward Squall " --do that. You *will* not do that and get away with it, you *did not*, you *do not*-- "

~Catch ya later, punk. I'm outta here. You get to deal with him now.~ With that, Seifer returned Squall's free will and was gone. Before Squall could try to halt Zell's bullet-train fist, it exploded into his jaw, iron-nuckles and all. The back of his head slammed into the hard floor before he knew it. His conciousness quickly left him with a few sparkles infront of his eyes and a wave of balckness.

"You'd better stay right freakin' there until I figure out what the Hyne-damn you just did."

Zell's voice became a little shaky as he realized he'd just knocked his commander on his ass with all the force he could put behind his fist. A good look a Rinoa didn't help much either.

She was huddled in the farthest corner of the bed, lying on her side, facing the wall, knees pulled up to her chest, wrists haphazardly but tightly tied together with a belt. Zell was instantly there to free her hands, asking the only question that could come to his mind: "What happened?" He had to ask, though the answer was pretty obvious.

Rinoa had always been good at holding back tears when she wanted to, and had done so thus far, but at the sound of the concern in Zell's voice, the assurance that what had just happened really *had happened,* she broke down. Her shoulders and neck erupted into violent shudders, her sobs so strong and desperate that they could only exist in silence.

She was surprised that she could think of no better feeling than when Zell's arm reached around her gingerly, as though afraid he would break her, or even upset her, hoping to offer some sort of comfort. She reached out to him with all she had; clung to his neck and buried her face in his shoulder, her eyes squeezed so tight she began to see sparkles beneath her eyelids. Zell was somewhat surprised by the needy gesture, but still responded by tightening his arms around her back.


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