Luna's Past ~ Part One
She was a good runner. Always has been. But this was the first time Sakura ran for dear life. Her senses were sharpened so that she no longer felt pain. Her muscles screamed to stop, her lungs were about to burst, and her heart pounded so hard that it hurt. Tears blinded her as she ran through the streets of downtown Esthar. Nobody noticed her; she was too fast. Sakura also lost sight of her dear guardian, Kereberos, but she really didn't care right now.
Fear can have so many advantages.
The mirror shattered, the ravens were flew away disturbed, and the Leonhart twins had the feeling that there was something awfully wrong.
Lily knew the two long enough to tell that they felt something odd that fluctuated the so well-kept balance of the Leonhart family for twelve years. She stopped reviewing the map and looked at Luna next to her.
"Luna...what's wrong?" she asked, her emerald eyes slightly narrowed.
All attention focused on Luna who had unexpectantly froze and her face paled. For a second, she seemed lost in thought, but maintained her composure by shrugging off the nagging feeling that filled her mind.
"Nothing, really," she replied calmly without the usual cheefrulness in her voice. "Just got the shivers, that's all."
Lily waved the issure aside and resumed her work at the map. As outgoing as Luna was, there were things where she'd rather keep secret.
Everybody else resumed what they were doing; either helping Lily with the map of the crystalline castle or just hanging out, except for Rinoa. She knew, she just KNEW that Luna didn't have the shivers; it was something else. But she kept on thumbing through the photo album she found. It was entitled "Memories of a Past Life", which was an odd title in its own way, but it made sense. The handwriting looked familiar on the captions. It was mainly pictures from Phoenix, Luna, and Alex's childhood at some sort of orphanage. She assumed that it was the one that they were raised in.
All the pictures seemed the same: a play, somebody's birthday party, and just for fun pics. She recognized Phoenix and Luna almost immediately because they still looked the same now. Rinoa smiled to herself at a very cut picture of Alex taking his first steps. A toddler he was back in the picture, cute with still some baby fat on him. Then there was a picture of a birthday party, probably Lily's because she was grinning from ear to ear in front of a cake with the number eight on it. But what was odd about the picture was the Ellone was in there. A very different and much older looking Ellone, but nevertheless her. Behind Lily was a man in his late twenties with pale blonde hair, emerald eyes, a fading scar on his face, and a very bushy beard. The man looked oddly familiar to Rinoa, but sh just couldn't quite place it.
Flipping the very last page was a picture of a very beautiful family. Four wonderful children: twin girls who looked around seven, standing and grinning happily in front of their parents, a four year old girl with a boy's hair cut grabbing onto her mother's light blue dress, and the mother holding an infant in her arms standing next to her proud husband. A picture perfect photo for a family: hers.
Phoenix typed on the computer furiously, trying to get that nagging feeling that something was wrong off her mind. Then the screen suddenly blanked out and faded into another image of her boss staring right back at her.
"Phoe, it's good to see that you're all right," he said comfortingly. "You have anew assignment and only you."
His eyes focused back into consciousness. Wha...what happened?
Alex found himself in a dungeon, chained to the wall. It was very dark; the only light was dim and far away. The sickening smell of blood seemed to be verywhere, it's copper taste filling his mouth. The air was stuffy and he was trapped with nowhere to go.
Alex tugged on the chains that bound his wrists. The chains were rusty, but strong, so he couldn't break free. Then he tried his legs and got the same result.
"Just great," he muttered to himself.
Something scuttered across the floor as he head the sound of a metal door opening. He turned his face away from the bright light that came through, his eyes accustomed to the dark. Two figures stood in the doorway, both of equal height and build. Fluffy wisps of smoke came from the one on the right as it through the cigarette down and stepped on the stub, its burning ember fading away.
Alex's eyes grew accustomed to the light and stared coldly at the two figures. The one with the cigarette came towards him, lifting his chin with the end of a whip. Alex stared coldly into Princeton Deling's eyes.
Deling smirked arrogantly, a sense of victory was shown through his eyes.
"Well, if it isn't the baby of the family," he chided at Alex, chuckling to himself. "Trying to act high and mighty all of a sudden? Trying to be the hero?"
Alex snarled in reply, refusing to answer. Stupid bastard.
Deling shoved Alex's chin even harder with the end of the whip, his smirk getting wider.
"Now, tell me, Alex," he said dangerously. "Where are your sisters hiding? Where are the others at?"
"Go to hell."
Something in Alex's sapphire eyes flashed, and Deling stepped back, a bit startled. Alex continued to glare at him. Then Deling went into hysterical laughter. The unknown figure out int the doorway still stood, unmoved. It was like he was a statue.
Deling's laughter subsided after a few moments. "Hannya."
The figure behind him stepped forward, his face covered by a demonic mask. Deling tossed the wip to the man. "Take care of the boy for me."
The bars closed shut and all was left was darkness. Alex gritted his teeth at every stinging apin that cut his flesh as his torture began.
"Whad do you mean only me? Isn't that mission a two-person job?" Phoenix asked confusingly at the screen.
"Yes, it is a two-person job," Atamos answered. "But the man who's taken it specifically asked for you to be his partner."
Phoenix was still a bit suspicious. "Do I know him?"
Atamos chuckled to himself as if the question itself was ridiculous to ask. "Oh, yes, you've known him alright. Quite a long time, from what I've seen. He seems to know you inside out."
A cold shiver was sent down her spine at the last statement. No way, it couldn't be...
"When do you want me to leave?" she asked.
"Tomorrow at the most. He'll rendevous with you at Timber. You'll begin from there," Atamos answered.
She thought for a moment, her eyes closed to concentrate. After a few minutes, she opened the, resolved "Alright, I accept."
She was almost there. So close that she could see the building. PUlling out the remainders of her strength left, Sakura ran as quickly as she could to the dojo....
Everybody stopped their work and Luna ran outside first followed by the others. Kereberos was floating around the dojo, looking desperate.
"K-chan, what's wrong?" Luna asked worriedly.
Kereberos came swinging towards them, her beady eyes filled with fear and anticipation.
"Oh, Hyne, you're still here! Did Alex or Sakura come back?" she asked desperately.
"K-chan, what the hell happened to htem?" Phoenix came out of the home, looking as if she was ready to leave.
Phoenix had no trenchcoat on this time, revealing a slight build on her arms.
"Did something happen to them?" Rinoa asked worriedly.
"Where are they now?" Quistis asked.
"How come you're here without them?" Selphie asked.
"K-chan, explain to us!" Lily commanded.
Just before the creature asnwered, Sakura cam running in, gasping for air and tears streaming down her face. She looked like she was crying all the the here and started crying again on Phoenix's shoulder. Everyone began crowding around them as Saruka's silent tears became gasping sobs and wouldn't lok up, still wrapped her arms around Phoenix's neck.
Phoenix slighly noticed that her tears began to ebb and softly asked her like an older sister calming a little one's fears of monsters in the closet, "Sakura, what's wrong?"
Sakura spoke between sobs, "There...was a... car and big...big guys came out...an'...an' chased after us...then...then Alex said to run...an'...an'..."
A vision came through the twins. One of Alex, Sakura, and Kereberos walking through the streets, and a black car following behind them. Then they realized what had truly happened after Sakrua left. Phoenix and Luna secretly shared looks to each other as Sakura continued to cry. Squall felt something twinge inside of him, but being a master of hiding emotions, left it to himself.
"It's okay, Sakura," Phoenix said assuringly to her. "We'll take care of it, okay?" She then looked at Gene. "Gene, would you mind taking her ot my room? She needs some rest after running practically the entire time."
Gene nodded and knelt down to Sakura's height and extended his hand. She willingly took it with one and wiped her tears away with the other still looking miserable. They watched thme go and disappear within the interior of the home.
Luna sighed. "Okay, change of plans..."
"Why?" Seifer asked.
Luna continued to walk inside, refusing to answer the question. Then she paused at the door. "Alex is gone. We need to find out where he is."
And with that explaination, she went back inside. The gang couldn't believe how Luna changed her attitude so quickly. Phoenix stood up.
"Well, let's get moving. I'm not going to be here, so I'll leave it to you."
"What?!?" Zell asked startled along with everybody else.
"You're just going to desert us like this?" Quistis added.
"I have another assignment," Phoenix answered softly. "Me and my unknown partner are going to infiltrate one of Ultimecia's castles located just above Obel Lake. There hasn't been any activity there so far except for an increase of monster activity."
"Wait a minute, I don't mind you going off, but," lily interrupted, "an 'unknown partner'? Why would Atamos not tell you who your partner is? Better yet, why can't it be one of us coming?"
"Atamos has his reasons," Phoenix simply answered. Then she headed for the gates. "I need to get to Timber. Anybody willing to drop me off?"
"I'll do it," Selphie volunteered rather happily, possibly because she wanted to fly the Ragnarok again. She followed Phoenix out the gate.
"Dammit," Lily cursed to herself and walked back inside. The hell is Atamos doing to us? "C'mon, you guys. We better go see what Luna's up to."
Everybody followed suit. But just before Squall entered the door, he paused and turned his head, sapphire eyes narrowing into slits. He felt that there was someone there, watching them.
He snapped back to reality at the sound of Rinoa's voice calling him. She looked at him with worry.
"Squall, is there something wrong?"
The emotional barriers that he kept up for everybody else broke down in front of her as his shoulders relaxed. Rinoa was the only one he ever showed his real self to, even before he realized his own feelings for her.
Squall shook his head. "No, it's just my imagination." At least, I hope so...
She smiled, filled with relief, and extended her hand to him. "C'mon, we gotta help out the others and find Alex."
He returned the smile and took her hand into his. "Yeah, let's go."
The shadow watched them disappear into the home, its crimson eyes glowing. After collecting the information it needed, it disappeared in a cloud of blue smoke.
"So they still live there. I should have known," a voice said.
That voice belonged to a man in his mid-twenties reading a book called The Art of War. He wore dark clothing that contrasted the beige color of his trenchcoat. Midnight strands of hair covered his eyes as the candle's flame flickered and reflected off of those mysterious eyes.
The man named Hannya hung upside down out of the window, the devil mask peering in.
"Yes, Koneko hasn't changed a bit," he replied through a muffled voice. "But it seems that her group has already gathered those involved with the Time Compression. They are more than what we expected."
"You were almost discovered, you mean," the man in the trenchcoat replied.
Hannya nodded. "Her father is very sharp. I can see why she and the others have picked up his skills despite having sorceress's blood."
"How is alex?" the man asked.
"Unconscious," Hannya answered. "The boy can withstand pain greatly. It's amazing that he's still breathing, actually."
"That's good," the man replied softly. A pause.
"Alright, attacke the home, Hannya," the man ordered. "But don't harm Koneko or Sakura. Deling wants those two alive. And take Beshimi and Hyottoko with you as well."
Hannya nodded in acknowledgement. "Yes, Commander." And with that, he faded into the darkness.
The Commander closed the book, staring into space. Luna, so fate has destined for us to meet again.
"Alex has been abducted, we know that for sure," Luna said to the group rather despondently. "But we don't exactly know where he is."
"SEARCH?" Fujin suggested.
"No, that's too dangerous," Squall replied. "We're already being hunted down by Ultimecia, and time is a bit limited if we want to find Alex alive."
"But how are we suppossed to find him, then?" Quistis asked. "There are so many places to look for, including forests and other secluded areas."
"You gotta remember that the kid's only been gone for a few hours," Seifer noted.
"He's right," Lily agreed. "So they probably havne't taken Alex that far."
"And the Airstation's heavily guarded right now, if I remember," Irvine commented. "So, they couldn't have flown out without any suspicion."
"But there could be a traitor," Zell pointed out.
Luna shook her head at that suggestion. "That's highly unlikely. Esthar's government is close-knit. Practically all of the soldiers know one another. If there was a traitor, they would've killed him or her by now."
"Then why don't we look around the city, ya know?" Raijin suggested.
Since they were sitting down, Fujin punched him in the shoulder. Hard. "IDIOT."
"Fujin has a point," Megan said. "For as long as Alex has been gone, they've probably taken him out of the city by now."
"They did," Gene's voice confirmed as he entered in the room. "Sakura told me that just before she turned the corner, she sneeked a glance at Alex finding him getting carried into a black car."
"That means that they're definetely out of the city," Squall concluded, working out the specifics.
Then, "Why don't we ask Sakura to find his whereabouts?"
That came from Rinoa, who hadn't spoken ever since they began the discussion. "I mean, can't she use her tarot cards to find out where he is?"
"Rinoa, how did you know that she could do that?" Luna asked incredulously.
"Well...um...she showed me."
"What the hell are tarot cards?" Zell asked, totally clueless.
"They're those cards that can supposedly tell someone's past or future, brainiac," Seifer answered matter-of-factly. "They have some people like that in Balamb. You're a native from there and never even knew that, Chickenwuss?"
Zell gritted his teeth, fists clenched tightly.
"C'mon, you guys," Lily interrupted, rather bored. "We don't have enough time for this. Either settle your differences or you gotta deal with me."
Zell managed to settle down a bit reluctantly. Seifer chulcked to himself in delight. Zell continued to glare at him.
"Anyways," Luna continued, "Sakura could help, but I'm not sure right now. Especially exhausting herself out so much."
"Why don't you leave that to me?" Irvine suggested. "I happen to be a natural with kids, so I'll talk her into it, if that's all right with you?"
Luna thought for a moment, then agreed. Irvine got up and left the room.
"So...now what?" Zell asked.
"You know, somethin's been buggin me," Seifer said, frowing. The frown made his scar seem to dig in deeper. "I wanna know how the hell Alex got abducted. Hyne, by just looking at him, he seems to be the type who can take care of himself."
"Actually, he can," Luna smiled slyly.
"Could've Deling saw our mission through?" Quistis inquired.
"That's a possibility," Luna answered, her sapphire eyes lost in thought. "But then the men that attacked Alex and Sakura would have to be pretty skilled in fighting. Alex is a master at the gunblade despite being only twelve. And Sakura can summon up creatures from her Triple Triad cards."
"How did Alex get a Flame Saber?" Squall asked quietly.
Luna smiled absentmindedly. "It was a memento of our fathers....why do you ask?"
The picture of the perfect family in the last page of the photo album flashed through Rinoa's mind as she gripped onto Squall's gloved hand tightly.
"Just wondering," he simply answered, wondering why was Rinoa gripping his hand so tightly all of a sudden.
Sakura looked down at her swinging feet, pondering the question asked. Irvine sat patiently next to her, waiting for an answer.
"Mm...I think I can find him," she finally said, smiling to herself yet still staring at the floor.
"Can you try, Sakura?" Irvine asked her. "I mean, it would be a really big help if you did, but we don't want to force you."
It was rather easy talking to Sakura. She was a very talkative girl, always one who loves someone to talk to. Strange as it was, Sakura seemed to forget the entire incident of running for dear life and was willing to cooperate.
After a few more minutes of silent thinking, Sakura looked up at Irvine, smiling sweetly at him. "Yup! I'll do it!"
Irvine patted her on the back gratefully. "Thatta girl. Now, why don't we tell the others, huh?"
She nodded eagerly and began rummagin through her backpack for her set of cards.
She had arranged the cards in a four-square style on the table and stared at them intently. Everyone had surrouded the table, and silently waited with anxiety as Sakura flipped over the first card. It was a picture of a sword.
"This is Masamune, one of the five legendary swords in the world," Sakura began to explain. "Either someone is the holder of a swordlike weapon or the weapon shed blood. I'm guessing the holder of a weapon. Probably Alex because he has a gunblade."
The others just kind of stared at her in shock as Sakura flipped over the next card. This time it held the illustration of a beautiful white castle. "The card here is Alexandria Castle. The place where those guys took Alex took him here: to a place that looks similiar to a castle or a really nice and pretty house." She flipped over another card instantly. It was as if she knew where everything was going to take place. The card was of two angels, each with one wing as if they were tryin gto help each other fly. "That's the Angels' Reunion."
"Is that a good thing or bad thing?" Rinoa asked. The drawing looked so eerie to her.
"Um...it depends," Sakura said. "This is the first time I've ever had this card show up before. It can mean two things: a reunion between close friends or loved ones or a reunion between enemies or rivals."
"...." Squall thought carefully. That sounds pretty familiar
Suddenly, a loud boom interrupted their session. Everyone gathered their weapons, ready for the attack.
"Magan, look after Sakura," Luna said to her friend before grabbing her sword and leaving the room with the others. I have a bad feeling about all this...
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Okay, I'm going to make my notes at the end instead of both beginning and end unless it's something that I REALLY have to tell you guys. So, what'd ya think? Strange? Odd? And yes, I did stop just before an action scene, so please don't kill me! If ya wanna know what happens next, R&R!