Chapter 12 Be With Me

Author's note: An extra long chapter, because it's an extra-long ending!!!! Hope you guys are happy, and thank you!!! Shoutouts are at the end, if you reviewed me, find your names!!! Muah!!


Mrs. Almasy stared open mouthed at this boy who dared accuse her. She gaped noiselessly like a goldfish and finally recovered her indignation. "Why you - "

But she should have known this one won't stand there and be dressed down. He ignored her obvious rage and continued what he wanted to say.

"She's been working so hard all these years and this is how you treat her? She's forsaking her own personal life just to make you happy - and the moment she stumbles you desert her. It's a wonder to me why she even calls you 'Mother'!!" He was growing angrier but a look from Seifer stopped him from going any further. Angry as he was, he didn't mean to insult her, but he couldn't help feeling bitter over what happened. She had been struggling... fighting against the odds, but now... she was left floundering.

Mrs. Almasy had gone pale now, clutching her husband for support. Mr. Almasy had not uttered a single word, but now he turned to Squall. "We... appreciate your concern for our daughter."

Squall knelt down beside Quistis and stared at her. "If you really care for her... as your daughter... you'd know what to do." He stood up and looked soulfully at Mrs. Almasy. "I have no doubt she would still forgive you, but that's who she is. She's changed me... maybe you'll allow her to change you, Mrs. Almasy."

He started to walk out but was gently halted by Seifer. "You care that much about her," Seifer said it as a question, but somehow it came out as a statement. And Squall did not answer. He walked a little way, but stopped, deep in thought. He looked over his shoulder and regarded Seifer. "Tell her... tell her I'm not giving up. She... her dream is much more important that mine..."

Quistis buried her face in her hands, heart weighed down by sorrow. He was gone... he was truly gone. And she had been such a fool!

Mrs. Almasy gently embraced her daughter. "I was too occupied with society's standards that I failed to see what a wonderful daughter I have... even without her grades," She said fondly. "It... it took a stranger to make me see..."

He wasn't a stranger, she sobbed silently. He was my friend...

Perhaps you can say you're the only guy in my life... a memory of a beautiful sunset returned to her mind, and fresh tears brimmed in her eyes again, but she quickly wiped them away. I can't cry anymore. I can't waste this life crying.

Seifer sighed deeply and closed his eyes. Just then Quistis' cell phone rang and he picked it up. "Hello."

"Is this Miss Trepe? I'm Nida Banks from Balamb Garden."

His heart tightened. "No, this is Seifer Almasy, her brother. Hello, Instructor Nida."

"Oh, Seifer, it's you." Nida chuckled. "Well, this must be some luck. I'm pleased to inform you that Miss Quistis Trepe has been accepted into Garden."

His heart leapt and his eyes swiveled to Quistis. His look must have given her an idea, because she turned pale. "What is it...?"

Seifer nodded. "Thank you... Instructor. I - I'll inform her. But wait, I thought you had rejected her application?"

"Ah yes, but unfortunately one of our prospective students pulled out at the last minute... and he recommended her in his place. Since Miss Trepe's records are just as impressive, we have no problem about it."

"Who's the student? Perhaps we can thank him?" Seifer's voice was barely audible... he could feel it...

"Ah... a young man named Squall Leonhart. Well good day, Mr. Almasy."

Seifer flipped the phone shut and gazed quietly at the phone for a while.

"What is it, Seifer?" Quistis was already fearing the worst.

Seifer took a deep breath. "You've been accepted into Garden," He said slowly and Mrs. Almasy gave a shriek of joy. "Oh!!!"

He looked straight into his mother's eyes. "Squall Leonhart GAVE UP his place for Quistis."


'We've arrived, Miss Loire," The attendant duly informed Ellone and she nodded. She had phoned Squall and told him to meet her at the airport - she had half-expected him to balk and take a commercial flight but to her surprise he was waiting in the lounge, strangely quiet.

"Hi Squall!' She greeted him cheerfully and he simply nodded. She frowned. "It looks like you're traveling light..."

He nodded briefly and simply let his sister chatter all the way to the Ragnarok. That made Ellone feel even more worried. It was like his soul had been frozen.

As they lounged in the plane, Ellone continued to chatter, but he only replied in monosyllables - very like his old self. She wondered desperately if there was anything that could make him talk...

"Your decision was very abrupt," She said as she poured him a glass of juice. "Does Quistis know?"

Splash! His glass jerked violently and the juice missed his glass onto the carpet. Ellone cried out in alarm and hastily called the attendant while Squall had gone, face ashen. Ellone hastily hurried after him. So that was the problem, she thought. Well if it means tearing him inside out to know, she'd do it!

"Squall, what's happened to you - " Her words trailed off when she saw him staring out of the window. "This isn't like you at all!"

"This is me, you mean," He said at last, staring out of the window. "This is what I am, sis."

"No!' Ellone stamped her foot. "What did she do to you?!"

Squall's eyes flashed but instantly dimmed again. "She didn't do anything," he said softly. "I... I was the one... I destroyed her..."

"Don't tell me..." She breathed in alarm but Squall shook his head. "Because I was accepted in Garden, she tried to kill herself," He continued morosely. "She thought I had lied to her... that I had merely used her..."

"That's not true!" Ellone burst out and was taken aback by her comment when Squall stared at her. "What do you mean?"

She took a deep breath. "I know you love her," She said bluntly. "Either you're being an idiot or you're such an egoist that you can't acknowledge your feelings for her."

He closed his eyes. She had looked at him with such anger and hurt. I loved you, she had said. A stab of pain made him open his eyes again. "I love her." He said quietly, making Ellone blink. He ran a hand through his hair. 'That's why I'm leaving."

"Oh please," Ellone rolled her eyes and sighed. "I know this is your business, but... what am I going to tell Laguna? That you got duped by a girl?" The situation was too funny if it wasn't so serious for him.

"Whatever," He said and Ellone shook her head. "Maybe you're going to kill me, but I'd say this is the worst thing you've ever done to yourself."


Ellone smiled slightly. What a story for Laguna!


"And there's the Library, thought I think you know, right?" Seifer grinned at Quistis and the latter smiled back. It had been difficult to get to eat those first few days when he broke the news to her, but bit by bit she came out of her shell. Talk about girl power, he thought wryly.

"What's that?"

He looked to where she pointed. "That's the military academy. Garden has that you see, but we don't take part in that. That section is maintained by SeeD. We just provide the facilities - "

He stopped abruptly when Quistis stiffened. She had just seen a familiar figure walk out of the SeeD section and it wasn't one she wanted to see... unfortunately the person also saw her. "Hey, Quistis?"

Seifer frowned at the boy with the chicken-like hairstyle smile and walk up to them. He looked at Seifer and nodded at him, recognizing his uniform. "Say, you made it too? Where's Squall?"

She flinched but smiled slightly. "he's not here, I don't know where he went."

Zell's jaw dropped. "Huh? Where did he go?"

Seifer quickly intervened. "I'm sorry cadet, but we have business elsewhere." He was tempted to call the boy 'chicken' but refrained from doing so. SeeD cadets aren't the kind of people you want to face in a brawl. Zell nodded and grinned at Quistis "You deserved it man! Congratulations!"

Quistis watched Zell walk away, whistling happily. Seifer quickly cleared his throat. A reminder of Squall was the last thing he wanted right now... "Let's go see the Headmaster, hmm?"

If only Squall was here, Quistis thought as they walked down the corridor. Garden was more like a sanctuary than an academy and militant school. Lush trees dotted the surroundings and the walls were covered with beautiful carvings and etchings. Even the uniform screamed 'class!!!'... it wasn't hard to imagine Squall in it... her heart sank but she quickly forced herself to think of something else. In truth, she had enough of thinking. The days when she curled up in her bed, thinking; She had been wrong. She had been a fool, an idiot and every other thing that even closely resembled foolishness. She had misunderstood everything and forced him to leave... but she couldn't help thinking; Squall had risked first his reputation, then his life... and now he gave his future to her... what does it mean?!

He loves you...?

Girls and their romantic notions, she thought harshly. A guy leaps from a fifty-foot cliff to save you and you think he's crazy about you.

You're stunning.

You know more about me than anyone else ever will. Me... just me.

"Damn it!" She had swore and had thought of ending her life... but then a voice had reminded her - Squall didn't save her for nothing. He wanted her to live.

"Life here's great," Seifer's voice brought her voice back to earth. She blinked and looked up to him. "Did you hear what I said?" he asked and she smiled quietly. "Life is going to be great, Seifer."


"I swear I'm going to pass him off as a new sculpture if he keeps sitting there,' Laguna sighed exasperatedly to Ellone and his daughter giggled. Since Squall's return, Laguna had given him a wide berth, thinking the boy needed some time alone after Ellone's little story. But this was getting ridiculous. It's been three weeks and there's no sign of him coming out of his world.

Ellone peeked at her brother and sighed at his silhouette against the afternoon sun. She hated seeing him like this... but what could she do?

Do what you do best, a little voice whispered to her and she slowly smiled. A plan began to form in her mind, but she was dubious it would work. Somehow Squall was immune to her magic touch.

No time to wonder, she resolved. He's going to turn to stone if you don't do anything anyway. Worst that will happen is he'll blow his top off... you can handle that. "Laguna, can you do me a favor?"

A few hundred miles away, a regal-looking man was sitting at is desk when his secretary poked her head in. "General Garai? There's a call from you. Mr. Loire."

"Laguna?" The general frowned. He picked up the line and smiled. "Laguna, is it you?"

"Yep, it's me. How's things?" Laguna sounded cheerful, just as he remembered him to be. "The usual... you know it's not easy running one of the elite academies. So... don't tell me this is a courtesy call?"

"Well actually, I have something to ask you. Do you have room for another student in Garden?"

"I suppose there is - is it your son? Squall, isn't it?"

"Glad you remembered. Yes, he's a nice young man now."

"Ah... I remember Ellone. She was brilliant. So you want Squall to enter?"

"I know this is a bit sneaky but..."

But General Garai was already checking Squall up. "He was registered in Acauld High as Squall Leonhart... and he has been offered a place here, but he refused."

"I know that, but since you already have his records..."

"Don't worry, Laguna. I'll see what I can do." Garai assured him. "He's perfectly eligible to be admitted, so there's no trouble, hmm?"

"Thanks mate."

Garai smiled and hung up. Squall Leonhart... He checked his records again. As astonishing young man... promising too. Just like Ellone. But strangely he had refused and instead put another girl in his place. Quistis Trepe.

"I wonder..." General Garai mused and called his secretary.



He looked up and saw his sister standing over him. She smiled and sat down next to him, on the grass. "This is a nice place," She observed, watching several petals fall from the tree above. They had visited Winhill, and Squall had taken off to sit here. Ellone knew, he was hoping against hope that... Quistis might come. But that was unlikely.

"...I've been a slob, huh?" Squall said after a moment, smiling wryly. This was the first time she had seen him smile after weeks of being cast in granite. "Yep." She agreed laughingly. "You were one hell of a slob."

Squall nodded. I can't be like this forever. Like a heart-broken boy, sniffling. Which is what he was anyway. "Let's go back."

We're leaving, Ellone thought secretly, but we're not going back to Esthar. Well not me anyway. "Okay."

They entered the Ragnarok and she hurried to the cockpit, where she contacted her father. "Well?"

"All done, Ellone. It's up to you now."

She grinned and mock saluted her father. Then she turned to the pilot. "What's the nearest launch pad to Balamb Garden?"

"There's an airstrip a few hundred metres from the facility, miss. Shall I land there?"

Ellone thought for a while. "Go ahead."

"Where are we going?" Squall asked curiously as Ellone entered the lounge. She smiled. "I have some errands to do... just relax, okay?"

He regarded her suspiciously before settling down. She breathed inwardly. He'd better not blow his top before they arrive...

"This is Ragnarok, requesting permission to land," The air control of Balamb Military Airstrip listened closely and identified the aircraft approaching the airstrip. "Permission granted, Ragnarok. Please land at runway 1."

Squall's suspicion increased but Ellone looked quite calm and cool. Where are they? He looked out and saw something he wasn't prepared to see. "What the hell - "

"We've arrived, Miss Loire," The attendant smiled. "The limo is here."

"Perfect," Ellone stood up and looked nonplussed at a panic-looking Squall. "Aren't you coming? Don't just stand there."


"I'm going to see Laguna's old friend," She said daintily. "And YOU are coming along."

"Try me."

She held up a warning finger. "If it means hitting you over the head with a fire extinguisher, I will. Now do you want to walk there or carried on a stretcher with a bump on your head?"

Who can say no?

Squall was still looking apprehensive. Calm down, he thought. Garden is a huge place. Chances are we won't even meet. But a part of him was hoping that small chance might occur.

"Welcome, Miss Loire, Mr. Loire," The guard smiled. "General Garai is waiting for you."

Ellone beamed at him and walked across the quiet grounds. Halfway across, she stopped. "This place is beautiful," She said softly. Squall simply nodded. Ellone sighed and took out his phone, which he had neglected and she took for safekeeping. She handed it to him. "Tell her."

He looked in confusion at the phone.

"Tell her how you feel," Ellone said softly. "Even if you don't want to see her, she has a right to know, Squall."

Squall looked at the massive building looming before him. Somewhere deep in this place, Quistis was carrying on with her life... her life which didn't have him in it. "... I can't."

"I maybe not the greatest sister," Ellone smiled sadly, "But I still want the best for you. And the best - " She indicated to the building and smiled. "Is waiting for you."

He hesitated.

"...And thus the air pressure will increase due to..." Quistis jumped when her phone vibrated. The lecturer was oblivious to everything, droning on about the laws that govern gaseous behavior. She fished about in her pocket for it and took out her phone. A message. She blinked at the name and her hand suddenly felt clammy.


"Miss Trepe, will you kindly put away your mobile?" The lecturer called to her wheezily. "We're in the middle of a class here,"

Her finger moved to open the message.

I need you. I'm here.

She let out a strangled cry and got up suddenly, heart pounding hard. It can't be - no it can't be! She rushed to the window and desperately searched outside. Her window overlooked the front gate - and...

"It's no use," Squall burst out and was about to flip his phone shut when Ellone stopped him. 'What kind of an idiot are you?" She hissed. "You want to give up now? No way. Tell her," She said calmly.

Quistis clutched the windowsill, looking down, unable to breathe. It was impossible... but it was him. She couldn't mistake those eyes... and - isn't that - Ellone?!

Squall dialed her number, aware that his hand was shaking. Would she listen to him? Or would she just ignore his call?

Quistis slowly raised the vibrating phone to her ear, unsure of what to do. Unsure of what was actually happening. "Miss Trepe!" The exasperated lecturer was losing his patience. "I demand you to observe the proper..."

"...Quistis," His voice was hoarse, shaky. But it was his voice. It was definitely his. She wasn't dreaming!

"Miss Trepe!!! Are you listening to me?!"

"Squall..." She mumbled, feeling faint. Everything around her was jumble of sound and color... until she heard something that was as clear as day.

"...I need - I - I love you..."

She gave a cry and dropped the phone. "Miss Trepe!!!! Return to your seat immediately!!!"

Too late, she had bolted for the door amid a confusing uproar. There was nothing else she could hear, nothing else she could see.

Squall was at a loss. Where is she? What should he do?!

Ellone smiled happily and retreated silently into the shadows. She wanted to see this.

"What's going on - Ah?!" A student was pushed out of the way by a by a blonde hurricane. Quistis halted before the elevator, debated whether to waste precious seconds, then made a mad dash for the stairs.

Seifer walked out to the front and was surprised to see Squall. "Hey, you - " His surprise was cut short by a growing roar coming from behind him. He turned around. Looking astonished. An earthquake?!

"I think you'd better get out of the way," A lovely brunette pulled a confused Seifer away just seconds before his sister came running out. "Quistis?!" he choked, but he might as well had kept quiet, because the next moment she was flying into Squall's arms, tears running down her face.

"Now that's worth my time," The brunette laughed and Seifer was aware she still had a hold on his arm. "Do you mind? That's my sister there?" He was agitated and the girl turned an amused smile to him. "Is that so? Well, that's my brother too,"

Quistis quickly wiped the tears off her face and smiled at him. "Welcome back," She choked. Squall managed a laugh. "I've been to hell and back, you know."

"I'm sorry," She murmured and hugged him tightly. "I'm an idiot, a jealous idiot. Just don't leave me."

"Hey," he whispered lightly. "I can't... I'm the only guy you have, right?" He chuckled and she laughed, burying her face in his chest. He was here, she was here... what else does a girl need?

"Besides, I like that jealous part - ow!" He winced when she poked him. "At least I know you won't pour anything on me anymore, right?"

"Don't count on it," She smiled and looked up at the sky. It was a perfect, perfect blue, and they had those perfect, perfect clouds... "Look at the lovely sky..."

"That's your brother?' Seifer yelped in disbelief and Ellone tidied her hair. "Of course. I believe we haven't been introduced. I'm Ellone Loire."

"THE Ellone Loire?" His eyes were shining now. "Incredible! Your yearbook picture was of some pig - "

Just then her phone rang, and she picked it up. 'Yes Laguna?"

"How did it go?"

"I haven't seen General Garai yet, but your son did meet his girl."

"Excellent. That's the whole point, isn't it?" Laguna laughed and Ellone grinned. "Want to see it?" She aimed her phone and snapped a photo.

Far away, Laguna grinned. The photo was slightly blurred, but there was no mistaking the glow on his son's face. "Just like us when we were young, hm?" He looked up at a portrait of his and Raine, taken on their wedding day. "Our son's leading a happy life now." He smiled and flipped the phone shut.

Ellone laughed and turned to Seifer. "So what was your name again?"

"Seifer Almasy," Seifer made a comical bow and grinned. "Some brother you have there."

Ellone laughed. "Seems like you're accustomed to dishing out flattery. You're not really her brother, are you?"

"No." Seifer grinned. "Does this mean I can take you to lunch?"

Ellone regarded him amusedly. "Well, I have to take my brother home first."

"Is that where he's gone to?" Seifer looked puzzled and Ellone whirled around in horror.

Squall and Quistis had disappeared. "Oh no..." Ellone groaned.

"Calm down, Ellone," Laguna was trying to pacify his daughter's hysterical ramblings. "It's okay, it's not like Squall's piloting the Ragnarok, okay?"

"How am I supposed to get back?!" Ellone wailed and Laguna sighed. "I don't know. Take a commercial flight, won't you?"

Ellone furiously hung up and sighed. "If it's going to be commercial, I might as well take an evening flight," She sighed again and looked up at Seifer. "So what about lunch?"


"Open your eyes."

"No! When I said the sky looked lovely I didn't mean I wanted to ride above it!!!"

Squall sighed. She could be stubborn when she wanted to. "It's perfectly safe, okay?"

She refused to get up from the seat. So Squall did the only thing he knew how to make her stand up. He grabbed her firmly around the waist and carried an angry Quistis to the window. "Put me down, or I'll - "

"If you don't open your eyes I'll kiss you," He warned and instantly her eyes flew open, surprised. Instantly she knew she had been tricked when her sights fell on a fluffy white carpet outside the window. "Argh!!"

Squall laughed when Quistis gripped his arms hard. "Squall Leonhart, wait till we get back to the ground..." She muttered and smiled when he rested his chin atop her head. Forget heights. After a fifty-foot fall alone, being this high with the one you love is nothing.

"Should I ask if they want any refreshments?" The attendant peeked worriedly into the lounge and the pilot simply laughed. 'Come on Leah. Don't you know when to leave two people in love alone?"

"And what are you doing? You're making a beeline around Trabia instead of heading straight to the Airstation?"

"She said the sky was lovely. So why not enjoy it, hmm?"

"I'm getting tired standing," Quistis sighed and Squall nodded. But when he peered at her, she was smiling, her eyes closed. "Didn't I say I'd kiss you if you closed your eyes?"

"Well what are you waiting for?" She countered, laughing.


Thank you so much:

noname: Finish reading it, won't ya?

lovelace: Don't blame Irvy - he's just gullible. Thank you!

easy kid: Speechless? You honor me so!

sailorjr5: Puppy eyes don't work on me, but I did what u wanted.

madame headcase: Thanx for ur constructive comments. I did this without a dictionary, so I wasn't sure...

Arlando909: Thanks for your praise, but there are much better romances out there, I'm sure of it!

Dark Phoenix : Oh ye old faithful! Thanx for your support, so here goes!

frost: Thank you, it's amusing to know Squinoas also appreciate my story

punkygal : thanx, but this is the last update!

lucentia: Yup, everything's okay in the end.

Yuki: Don't be sad, another one will follow suit!

Ahena9784: Hope this one makes your laugh instead! Thanx!

Cailin: Well, Irvine always had a soft spot for Rinoa, even if she's a little wild. He's just not willing to accept Squall's got it bad for Quistis.

East : Thank you! (sobs)

me: I don't like putting my characters in a state of inaction. Anyway, it's a fair world, no one dies.

chococat : Is she now... apologies there. Anyway, she lives.

beatlejunkie : I don't know if I can write more, but I'll try...

lost_star : Thank you, read on.

Teline: No gunblades raised here, just friendly brotherhood.

Spiritblade: Any more reviewers like you and I'll be seven feet under ;

Lilika: Off you go...

Lady of Silence: I did mention Zell, but I made his disappear. He made a comeback in the last chappie, so don't cry!

Ry : Thanx for the advice, will do!

Anime-diva : I dunno...

FF9 Zidane: Thank you, I got you, hook, line, and sinker (snickers)

Lady Deathstryke: No catfights, maybe in another fic.

Winnowill: Er... I don't bash normally, but if I did, apologies.

Lady in Blue: thanx, happy you enjoyed it.

Sheylan: Thank you, read my other works too!

Kriger: Finished already...

Megs: It's headed in the right direction.