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February 2017

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Sins of the Fathers (FF8, Seifer/Squall)

Title: Sins of the Fathers
Pairing: Seifer/Squall…through het pairings (it's complicated)
Fandom: Final Fantasy VIII
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Square Enix.
Note 1: OC alert.
Note 2: This grew out of the drabble June Bride, which was written for ffviii_100. Also in the same universe is Molten Core (Rinoa POV) and To Nowhere (Seifer POV).

Sins of the Fathers
by Renata Lord
(snowlight)

The body can endure compromise and the mind can be seduced by it. Only the heart protests.
—Jeanette Winterson

*

History is not a river, because it repeats itself at every chance. Destiny travels in circles, and people call it perfection.

Twenty-three years ago on this day, Squall Leonhart married the daughter of his birth father's long lost love. The ceremony took place on a private beach in Dollet, and the pearl-colored wedding gown chosen by the bride became something of an instant legend.

Amongst the guests, the general consensus was that fate had finally corrected a grievous wrong, and so it was. Under the glossy June sunshine, the newlyweds looked every bit like the golden pair they were meant to be—the love story started by a handsome soldier and a dark-eyed pianist so long ago, finding its rightful ending here by the white waves of the ocean.

Twenty-three years later, the single child from that union now stands at the altar all in virgin white. In her hands is a small bouquet of wild flowers, white mixed with shy pink. Although she is playing with the petals anxiously, her gaze is nevertheless fixated towards the door's direction.

And when the striking blond figure at last returns with a middle-aged man behind him, the young woman breathes a sigh of visible relief, hands clasped over her heart.

"Got you the witness."

The witness in question is a complete stranger to both parties, but he has a Trabia picture ID that hasn't expired ten years ago and that is good enough for the town clerk. Mr. Giddeon raises one eyebrow slightly when he sees the names printed on the birth certificates presented before him, but the professional that he is only allows himself a moment's hesitation before returning his attention to the business at hand.

"Dearly beloved…."

*

East and West met each other in Fishermen's Horizon, balanced perfectly between Esthar and Galbadia.

The bride once remarked that she liked the flag here—two fish forming an oval, the beginning kissing the end so that two could become one. It had taken the young couple no small amounts of pain to find this place, away from the eyes and ears of parents on both sides for just long enough. That meant no Galbadia, no Esthar, no Dollet, and most certainly no Balamb.

Nevertheless, Fishermen's Horizon probably doesn't look like anything any girl would have pictured for her own wedding. Being a child of Balamb's for as long as she could remember, Soleil Leonhart had visions of a grand celebration in the Garden swimming in her head. She even secretly looked up her Aunt Selphie's number for the upcoming planning.

That was, of course, before her usually indulgent father so categorically objected to her being with him. As soon as Commander Leonhart heard the name of the young man who stole his only daughter's heart, his face became drained of all colors as if by a malevolent spell. Before the child could gush more about love's myriad of wonders, his voice cut into her like a cold blade.

"It's absolutely impossible between you two, Soli. I'm sorry, but I forbid it."

If she wasn't so shell-shocked by the inexplicable refusal, Soleil Leonhart would have noticed that her father, the normally immovable SeeD commander, had a wild look in his eyes that bordered on pain. She would have noticed that her father's right hand ghosted up to that famous scar on his forehead, touching it as if to make sure it was still there. As it was, the twenty-year-old only widened her eyes and dared her father to give her a reason.

"But—why? I thought that you and Mom would be happy, because of who his father is! You can't tell me now that you hate the guy, after defending that name for all these years! And to think of all the people at that conference, I would run into him like that, not knowing who he was. I thought—"

"You thought you two were meant to be together," her father finished for her in a weary tone. "You thought it was fate."

She stared at him as if she didn't recognize the shaken man before her. A flood of anguish and fury built up in her chest, threatening to come crash down over the dam. The hot anger made her head as light as a feather, and she felt like her grip on reality was slipping away. She had always been taught to believe in love and hope, but all the sudden all those words seemed meaningless and wrong; and surely everything in the world would be wrong, if she could not be with her Sven just because of his name.

"I am sorry, Soli," he extended out his hand to her. When she slapped it away with tears streaming down her face, he gave a small sigh. "More than you can know."

*

Even during her most rebellious days, the child rarely defied her father. The plain adoration was there for all to see, impossible to miss. He was her pillar, her refuge, the one she confessed most of her secrets to. She got her eyes from him, and others often remarked how they smiled in the same unmistakable way—although in her case, much more frequently. Growing up, she always assumed that she would fall in love with someone just like her father: calm, decisive, unwavering.

Then Sven Almasy barged into her world quite uninvited, with his green eyes flashing like they could burn—and they did burn her old world to ashes. Everything about that young man is golden as if he's been kissed by the sun, from the time he first kicked in his mother's womb. Even his voice is colored by that same inviting warmth; and when he calls her, so very sweetly, she feels like she's a fish sinking onto the ocean floor, drowning drowning drowning.

And she wants to drown into him. Forever.

*

On a corner of the western continent, far away from Esthar and Balamb, a two-story house with white fences stood motionless in the pouring rain. A gushing summer storm had caught the town by surprise, but the house's occupants had their minds fixated on something far more pressing and perilous.

"Fuckin' brat!"

Seifer Almasy growled as he got off the phone, eyes ablaze with fury. "Is he out of his fucking mind!? He better not be stupid enough to go to Balamb. Or he's only got himself to blame for his fucking short lifespan."

His wife was silent for a while but finally said, "Contact Leonhart?"

"Hell no, Fuu!" the man actually looked shocked at the sound of that name. "Haven't talked to the guy in ages, ain't gonna start now."

Red eyes regarded him cautiously. "Even with this…situation at hand?"

Seifer grunted for a response and strode into the kitchen, banging the cabinet doors with refreshed anger. "And where the hell are my fucking cigarettes!? I know you hid them in here somewhere, woman!"

Fuujin folded her arms across her chest, "You are quitting. Remember?"

"Fuck, Fuu. That's why I'm asking you instead of going out there in the fucking rain to get some for myself!"

She ignored his rudeness and leaned against the door, quietly watching him wrecking havoc in the kitchen like a bull in a china shop. He wasn't going to find them, and he would have to return to the issue sooner or later.

Their only son and Leonhart's daughter. Well, wasn't this a pleasant surprise, after them fastidiously avoiding each other for all these years. The bombshell news dragged out muddy memories and complicated histories nobody cared to revisit, for reasons she'd like to think she understood. You, me, him, her—it was a complete and utter mess. Leonhart probably suffered no less than her husband did, but her sympathy and loyalty did always lie with Seifer Almasy. To this day, she is still not quite sure if they had done the right thing. But all she knew, both then and now, was that she could never bear seeing Seifer in pain.

"…of all the chicks in the world, he just has to go after the one that comes with that name tag. What in Hyne's name is wrong with him? If this is some sick joke he's playing, he's so dead. I swear on his fucking grave."

The demolition process came to a stop. Fuujin picked herself from the door frame and walked into the hurricane disaster area. Unfazed, she gazed up at the wounded man at its center.

"I thought you are okay with it now."

"Well," her husband scowled with just a trace of bitterness, "I thought so too."

Hugging him from behind, she moved her hand over his heart and was reassured to find it beating at a normal pace. Seifer always hated to lose, especially to himself.

"It will be okay," she murmured, fingers curling into the fabric of his shirt. "It will eventually all blow over. That's how things work."

His hands came up to hold hers, unexpectedly gentle.

"Fuu…you know I love you, right?"

She could only smile through the tears that were welling up. "Yeah, I know."

*

Several years ago, Soleil Leonhart read in a certain magazine interview that ever since their wedding day, her parents had never taken off their rings even once. She went to the Lion of Balamb himself to authenticate this claim on his part, and he confirmed it with a simple nod.

When pressed as to why ("Doesn't it feel weird under those gloves you wear?"), her father took off the glove to briefly gaze at that elegant band of metal, then he gave her one of those rare smiles.

"Soli, I wear it to remind myself of who I am. The two most important things in my life are my responsibility to you as your father, and my duty to your mother—not only as her knight, but also as her husband. I don't want to ever forget that, and I never will."

Sometimes children take after their parents in ways that are hidden to all, but sometimes they consciously seek to replicate, with both reverence and longing. That's perhaps why despite the makeshift ceremony, the bride insisted on having custom wedding bands delivered beforehand. Nothing adorns their rings' smooth outer surfaces; but on the inner edge, the initials S.A and S.L are inscribed next to the ancient Centran phrase "ori-ka mai shardoni ori-na"—my whole heart for my whole life.

That promise now rests in their hands, as immutable as the metal itself.

Above all else, I pledge this to you: my whole heart, for my whole life.

…..I accept.

And with that, by the power vested in him by the mayoral office of Fishermen's Horizon, the good Mr. Giddeon stamps his approval on the marriage certificate.

"May it be so."

Once spoken, words are believed to yield power. All the Galbadian soldiers and Balamb SeeDs in the world can burst through that narrow door behind the happy couple right now, but there is the absolute proof of their union, sanctified by words and witnessed by two foreign souls.

"Hey, you realize that you can take my last name now?" the golden youth flashes a grin at his beaming bride, "to be fair I can take yours too, but that won't help me survive my eventual meeting with your father."

She stands on tiptoes to kiss him. "Don't worry. Haven't you heard? Vincit omnia amor."

He bursts into laughter with her at that. The flowers in her hand nod in the wind.

Yes. Vincit omnia amor. May it be so.

*

[Finis]

------------Sidetrack

Some things evaporate like the overnight frost on a warm winter morning. Some things fade away like inked letters on aged paper. Some things vanish because they can, and will.

I thought we would be like that too, but I was wrong. Against all impossibilities and all human decency, my core still longs for you with such an ache that I hope you will never know.

I love you.

This is my curse. This is my sin.

*

Postscript:

I am SO glad this is finally finished! ^_^

The story concept came to me by itself and I just knew I absolutely had to write it; the details, however, required a lot of fine tuning. I have tried to give the words poise and elegance, because ultimately it really is a love story—not just between S&S, but for all involved.

Anyway, I had a blast writing this, and hope my readers can enjoy it as well. Feedback would be much appreciated!

Comments

Ah, that's really great, more by what isn't shown. Thanks for posting.
Thank you~~~ :D

two-story house with white fences

I'm sorry but that house is very laughable. xD

I love it, for once it does not matter to me that they're not together physically. <3

Re: two-story house with white fences

If it helps, it's white steel fences.

And see? You didn't hate it just because of the premise. ^^ Open your heart, open your mind, blah blah blah....

Re: two-story house with white fences

I think what would be REALLY unbearable is that S/S get their happily ever after (funny how these three words just sound ridiculous when I use on them but ah well.) but one of them dies before the other.


Now that would seriously make me cry.

And don't even think about writing it.

Re: two-story house with white fences

Uh, you do realize one of them pretty much has to die before the other, unless they both die in an accident/battle?

That's hardly what I'd call a happy ending.

And with all seriousness, the happiness index for S&S is probably amongst the very highest of all the couples I've shipped.

Re: two-story house with white fences

No I just meant if one of them dies young and the other has to live on......*cries*

Re: two-story house with white fences

Oh yeah. Some Japanese fic writers like to pull that one. It's just so convenient to have Seifer shot as a war criminal, it seems.
HOLY SH- I'm in awe!!! I've never liked any 'next generation typed' fics, but this leaves me utterly amazed. I'm feeling so many kinds of emotions now. I can imagine how Squall had fallen in love with Seifer just the same way Soleil did with Sven, and their struggle for love, and even their rings having the same initials SA, SL. It's like, they're continuing what Seifer and Squall couldn't, and because of that I'm happy they make it in the end (the wedding scene was very moving). But on the other hand, I feel sad for Seifer and Squall, their regrets, what they could never have... As I was contemplating what happened in the fic, I almost cried~ D:

Wonderful work! I love the silent SxS theme running through. I hope you write more!

Uhm... friend? :D

Hihi! :D

Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it very much, as it's always interesting to see the readers' interpretations. (Some people, like the one above you, like to do a hit-and-run sort of feedback. :P) Even though I put S&S into a rather cruel position, the story really was written with tenderness. Like I said in the postscript, it's a love story...and I'm glad that people saw a credible link between two pairs.

You are certainly very welcome to friend my LJ, although very often I do not post in English. I have quite a few SxS pieces written already however, and you can find my English writing (plus my babbling about various English fics I come across) under this tag:

http://snowlight.livejournal.com/tag/english+fanfiction
wow. i totally love this. the idea and how you played it out.
I love this. The writing is amazing. You tell a story by telling a side story, and the message comes through so clearly without ever having to be said at all.

The initials on the rings were a very awesome touch. :)

Just brilliant. Wow.
Thank you. <3 I'm glad it worked for you!