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# 8 ; colour coded
a monster in disguise
title: colour coded.
chapter: 1/1.
fandom: Final Fantasy VIII.
rating: PG-13.
summary: She'd never admit it, but darkness calls louder than light. Ellone/Rinoa, Ellone/Quistis.

author's notes: Written for my very favourite Moogle at ff_exchange.


It was difficult for Ellone to be in the same room with Rinoa at first. They stood too close and Ellone could hear everything - the muffled screams, the pleading to stop, the scratching of bloody fingers against a wall she couldn't find. Magic pulsed under her touch, and energy lept between them.

Quistis was different. Quistis was calming, the sound of her voice like a soothing balm. Quistis could never understand the darkness of magic - it was a tool, lifeless and at her disposal.

The nights were worst of all, because it was never Quistis she went to.


In the Esthar Presidential Palace, Laguna kept a lush, fertile garden for her. Esthar itself was not known for organic growth, and she had always felt most at home with the smell of newly cut grass - it was easy to pretend she was back in Winhill, closing her eyes and watching the landscape grow from sounds and smells against her eyelids. She didn't care to speculate as to his motives: he wanted to see her smile; he wanted to keep her at arm's reach, still five year old Ellone with the penchant for getting into trouble. In the garden - in her sanctuary - it didn't matter.

When Rinoa came to visit, the first thing she wanted to see was the garden. Everywhere she had stepped, death followed. Everywhere she had touched, death obeyed her commands. Flowers shrivelled beneath her fingertips, grass crunched underneath her boots.

A few days later, Ellone gave Rinoa a potted plant. "Don't touch it, and it will live."


Quistis made Ellone promise never to use magic on her. "My mind is my own," she had said. "I don't want to wake up and be someone else."

Rinoa begged and pleaded, fingers clenched against her skirt and her head resting against Ellone's knee. "Take me back. Help me fix it."


When Ellone's dreams took her out of time, it was Rinoa that anchored her. Her memories were louder and more vivid than any Ellone had ever seen.

A spitfire of a child tugging at her mother's skirts; a teenage girl running away from home; the fumbling touch of a boy who became a knight. A pall was cast over them, the Sorcreress' shadow at the very corner of her eye. It was the magic that made Rinoa this way. The Sorceress didn't understand happiness or the bond between lovers - it only saw what it could destroy.


Quistis, Ellone realised, was Blue, like her magic. The colour of water: she was infinitely adaptable; molding herself to each new situation, the quintessential SeeD. The colour of the sky: she was security; a kind touch and an encouraging smile. The colour of bluebirds: an old fable about happiness; wings fluttering even when held; locked up only by her own desires. Ellone knew that one day Quistis would disappear, shedding off all notions of practicality to fade into the sky.

Rinoa was Black, belied by her pale white skin as it was the only thing holding the girl together. The Sorceress in her writhed in its own darkness, desperate to fill out the negative space of its host. It chained her to the ground and claimed her in stasis - never changing, never growing. Not even the death that laid itself at her feet would have her, no matter how much she begged. She was the fixed point, the irrefutable argument. Her magic was vast and colourless, a tornado that Ellone couldn't look into the centre of.

Ellone was drawn to both of them. Quistis' touch was kind, her mouth welcoming. Rinoa was elements at odds, the Sorceress clawing at her for power - more, more, more. Ellone could taste the magic on her lips even when they were miles apart, and wanted.


"I'm sorry, Elle," Rinoa said, holding the wilted flower in her cupped hands. "I couldn't keep it alive."

Eventually, Ellone thought, wrapping her arms around the younger girl, the same would be true for everything else.


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