A companion piece to I’ll Be Here, from Rinoa’s POV. I wanted to explore an idea centered around Rinoa being a sorceress and what that could mean in a KH setting.
The Man in Red rarely moves. I’ve never actually seen him move from his chair. Occasionally I wake to find that chair of his empty. But I’ve never seen him move about the room or from the chair. Either he’s in it or he’s not.
He told me once, after the first time I noticed him gone and he noticed my open eyes, that he patrols the area; for what, I don’t know and can’t ask. As far as I know, he and I are the only living things left in this abandoned place. He found me somehow; appearing mysteriously after the others just as mysteriously disappeared. I woke to find them gone and the Man in Red, in his chair, watching me watching him.
That’s how it’s been for us, for however long it’s been. I’m not even sure how long I’ve been here or how long he’s been here. Ten days or 273 years, I really couldn’t say. Time flows so weirdly for me in this vacant windowless lab. I don’t have anything to judge it when I am awake nor how much has passed between my moments of consciousness. I’m not sure where I am either not even after I woke up here the first time.
There had been a repulsive man standing before me that time. The room was bright and sterile, the machine hummed in my ears, nearly drowning out everything he said. He explained my purpose as a part in another’s plan, madness coloring his voice as he paced before me, his eyes darting to and fro behind the lenses of his glasses, pleased with capturing me. He excitedly paraded those strange shadowy creatures before me, proud he had harnessed my power to make them. Occasionally, a man with long silver hair and a long white and black coat would be there when I woke up, speaking with the “doctor”, sometimes I woke to find him standing before me, staring at – evaluating – me. Usually it was just the mad doctor and his assistants, not that they came near me. But now he’s gone and their gone and the lab is dark and no one comes here except the Man in Red.
I’m not even sure if my companion is real or if he’s just in my head.
Maybe that’s why he’s here or he’s not.
Although… I’m not sure why my brain would conjure up someone I don’t know as a companion. But there are times I feel like he may only be a figment of my imagination or maybe an echo from another time altogether? I wish I knew his name sometimes. I wish I knew where we are. I wish I could ask, but I can’t ask anything of him, given my position. My forced silence is a strange thing to me, like the emptiness I feel from my lack of power. I suppose if he’s not real and this is all in my head, I could have done a worst job at creating a companion.
I can not deny that he is handsome, but there is a sadness that clings to him like his cloak. There’s a melancholy evident in his strange eyes. I sometimes picture a rain cloud over him, floating there above his head. I’d laugh about it if I could. It reminds me of someone I knew once, a few someones I knew once actually…
He lounges casually but it’s forced, there’s an alertness to him even at rest. I’ve spent my life surrounded by soldiers and mercenaries, recognizing one trying to look relaxed and unobservant is easy. Maybe he worked as a guard wherever he is from, disappearing to patrol as he does and watching over me when he’s present. Or maybe he was a soldier at one time? I’ve had enough experience with those to have created one up as a companion. I don’t think he’s my warden. I’ve had one of those before too, but I don’t care for thinking of the General.
He’s serious. That drips from his voice – the tone he uses, the words he chooses –in the brief moments he speaks at me. Given my position, I can hardly call it speaking with me. He even apologized once for “speaking too much to a woman in a crystal” with a self-deprecating laugh; his voice, though, is low and raspy, eloquent. I’ve woken to him humming unfamiliar songs on even rarer occasions. Oddly, I find the humming comforting; perhaps it reminds me of my mother? I’m not entirely sure. Her memory is more faded than any other.
I wish I could wake to a familiar face, still.
Then there’s his gun. It’s a large three-barreled affair that he carries at all times only removing it to clean it with the small kit from his belt. He’s meticulous in the care of his weapon and as he cleans it, hearing the soft swish of the cloth, I mentally tick off the order of the cleaning and the names of the tools he uses. I can almost smell the gun oil in the air. This knowledge would probably surprise the Man in Red. He just doesn’t realize that there was once a time when I would watch another serious young man with a low eloquent voice clean his own gun with piano player fingers.
I hate the watching now, but it’s all I can do. Watch and wait and wish.
Watch my crimson cloaked companion shift in his chair as he sleeps. Wait for him to return from a patrol. Wish I knew his name. Watch the power pulsing in the cage I’m in. Wait for my bonds to loosen. Wish I was home… Want. That’s another thing I can do in this prison of crystal and steel. Want for the familiar. Want for freedom. Want for that other young man.
I can’t even remember his name.
I remember him. I remember the diction of his voice – methodic, confident, sure – and the measure of his walk – just as sure and confident as his words. I remember the stormy color of his eyes – that always said more than his voice – and how his eyebrows quirked at our friends’ antics. I remember how he hated being alone even if it was what he claimed he wanted. I remember promises whispered in serious tones under warm sunlight and the way his low chuckle of a laugh sent shocks through me. I remember the way his surprisingly silky hair slid through my fingers and the texture of his leather jacket under my palms – how the lining at the collar tickled my nose when his arms wrapped around me. I remember the feel of his slightly chapped lips and his calloused fingertips on my skin… I wonder why he isn’t my imaginary companion at the times my mind refuses to believe the Man in Red is real. There’s a lot I remember of that other man – vivid and clear and real – and I remember everyone else’s names. But I don’t remember his name.
Maybe he’s the one that’s not real.
But I know - as sure as I’m stuck here in crystal and steel and abandoned labs – that he is real. There’s a whisper in my mind that I need to find him. I’d laugh at that too if I could. But… I’m trapped and weakened now. Silent and still – forced to only watch what happens around me. Drained of what had made me feared and a concern once, made me protected and loved at one time. I can feel my power returning now that scientist has disappeared and that the machine has been shut down. It’s a strange sort of relief to feel it thrumming in my veins, however weak it is.
I once believed in princesses and knights and being rescued. I had a knight and I relied on him to protect me, but he’s gone, like everything else that would be familiar to me. This wasn’t something that I wanted, this power – thrust upon me by another as it was – and I never wanted the trouble it has caused me – though it gave me my knight – but… It’s a comfort to feel it flowing through me again, to feel its tendrils reaching and seeking and finding the imperfections in the crystal around me, burrowing its way out of my prison. Freeing me in its own way.
I once made a promise to wait, but I can’t wait any longer and I can’t rely on my nameless knight to save me this time. This time the princess will save herself, I think. She’ll go and find the dragon and slay it herself if that’s what it takes. I can’t remember your name, but I’ll know you by the sound of your voice and the scar on your face – my heart is sure of that. So, wait for me. I’ll come and find you. I promise.
Her ears buzzed with white noise as she tried to catch her breath, blinking to dispel the bright white spots interfering with her vision where she knelt disoriented on the ground, bits of crystal digging into her skin. Hurried footsteps approached her from across the room and she looked up to find gold tipped boots and red swirling cloth before her. She struggled to sit upright and a hand gripped her arm gently to assist her as her companion knelt opposite her.
“The Man in Red,” she croaked out in broken tones, letting her eyes shut as she shivered from the coolness of the room, pulling her arms closer to her body and grasping the rings hanging from her neck. She felt him withdraw his hand only to have the weight of his cloak wrap around her shoulders. Opening her eyes and looking up into his crimson ones, she gave him a small smile.
“It’s Vincent, actually,” he murmured, the corner of his lip twitching as he watched her tug the cloak closer to her. Her head was clearing and the white spots were fading.
She nodded, happy to know his name finally. “Rinoa.”
And so my weird KH-head canon where Vincent and Rinoa wander around and meet up with other not-in-KH Final Fantasy characters begins. She is, of course, searching for Squall and everyone else (mostly Squall). He’s hoping to find Cloud, Tifa, and the others. I’m sure Zell, Irvine, and Quistis show up there at some point. I imagine Balthier would make a fine Gummi ship captain. XD
As for why she can’t remember his name? Well, the idea behind that was that when Squall changed his name, it made Rinoa forget it, so now she remember everything about him, but she can’t remember his name no matter what. Even if someone tells her. I blame that whole Sorceress-Knight bond they have going on (and possibly my love for Harry Potter).
Anyway. This is a companion piece to I’ll Be Here, which I wrote… forever ago – shortly after Kingdom Hearts came out. So I suppose my writing is a lot different in it, but it’s a different kind of story, I also suppose. It’s odd. I’ve had this sitting here on my computer for ages just waiting to be finished. I opened it today and poof! It wants to be written.
And would this technically be considered a crossover? Hmmm…