Disclaimer: I want to thank Karina Kineshi for her wonderful spotlight of Megumi Takani from Rurouni Kenshin that gave me the idea to highlight the many under appreciated secondary characters of Final Fantasy VIII. Her beautiful words are the true shine beneath this piece. I also want to thank Squaresoft for creating the characters that have captured us all.

This is a note to all Quistis lovers, writers, and even enemies. Thank you for inspiring me and welcoming me into this wonderful genre. A further thanks goes to Quistis herself. I wrote this fic to show our appreciation for the remarkable woman who has put up with so many of our stories. In our hearts she has received her true recognition.

Our Quistis's

She was the ice queen.

Standing firm in her SeeD uniform, she was an instructor to others. With cool and collected blue eyes she observed her student, the hero. With a light smile she scolded him, teased him. We thought nothing of it. She was strong, independent, and sharp. The typical mercenary. But when we listened to her words on the balcony of that fateful night, we knew she was so much more. We saw our own longings reflected in her eyes. Our hearts in her words. We could feel her strength. And her weakness.

She was us.

She was Quistis Trepe.

Her past was unknown to us and to her. The power of the guardian force had dominated all traces of childhood. We know of her carefree days spent in the orphanage surrounded by friends. We saw her tease Our Zells and watched as her wide eyes took in the beauty of coloured flames against the night sky. We heard her speak of fondness about Our Ellones, of how she longed to take the place of her older sister. The same friends surrounded her in her new life, only she was unaware.

So much had changed in the course of the years. Innocence lost, we saw that she had hardened. She had become a warrior, ruled by discipline. No longer did she play the games of youth. No longer did fireworks impress her. Only eighteen, she appeared much older. She was sagacious, mature, controlled. Perhaps it is best she did not remember…

As authors we have strived to give her the family, the acceptance and belonging she so craved. As an orphan she never felt the warmth of a mother's embrace. We gave her that and we took it away. We gave her hope, happiness, and we gave her pain.

Rape and abandonment are words she had come to recognize. We gave her a past of terror and made her face it again in the future. With a strong will and a determination to succeed against the odds she proved she was tough enough to take it all. Either with an air of detachment or a spark of passion. Despite everything, she carried on, ignoring the loneliness of her past and looking for the hope of the future.

Even when the emotions became too much for her, she continued to give her life for others. Sacrificed herself for the benefit of the world. Her courage and inner self-possession were admirable traits, set off by the fragility of Our Rinoas.

Her selflessness stirred us, humbled us.

Her name was Quisty.

She was a leader of others.

We forced her to travel the world. Sent her on missions no other would dare traverse. Tested her skills against sorceresses, demons, anarchists, and fellow SeeDs. We took away her friends and supports, pushed her into a world of chaos where she could rely on her abilities alone. She fought it all without a quiver. Faced the violent wrath of T-Rexaurs, Ruby Dragons, and rebellious Guardians without once backing down. We cheered when she came out the victor, and cried quietly when she did not.

Her battles became our battles, her losses our losses. When the bitter taste of failure touched her soul we felt her ache and longed to heal it. When she did succeed, we did our best to reward her. She had no need for money or fame.

Men wanted her and women wanted to be her.

Her title was Instructor No. 14.

When she slid the glasses onto her nose and once again took her position in front of the classroom we felt the world had once more regained its balance. But her life did not ease. Instead of sending her to Galbadia or Esthar in search of recognition, we gave her challenges to face at home. Instead of battling monsters and politicians, the war occurred within her own self.

New and former students grabbed her attention. She worked tirelessly, marking papers and writing lesson plans. Turned down opportunities to be with friends in order to achieve her new goal. She would prove to herself and others that she had what it took. Her career became her life.

Our Squalls, Our Seifers, and Our Trepies, berated her, undermined her confidence, brought her to the dangerous edge of self-doubt. But she did not fall.

We made her realize herself. As a bridesmaid, we forced her to stand and watch as the man she loved married another. Our Squalls would never be hers. Through the agony of unrequited love, she held her head high and smiled, saving her emotions for when she was alone. Straightening her shoulders, she turned her back on romance. Our hearts shattered when she dawned another mask.

She told herself she was not meant to love.

She became Headmaster, Lieutenant, and Commander. 

If Our Squalls would not fulfil her dreams we did our best to find those that could. We gave her new dreams, new hopes with Our Irvines, Our Zells, Our Lagunas, once even Our Raijins, and…

Our Seifers. The defiance and arrogance opposed her conformity and insecurity. They were opposites. But within, we saw what she needed. Protection, loyalty, and understanding lay under the surface of Our Seifers, there to lift her when she could no longer stand on her own.

The ruthless pursuit of dreams reflected in her own eyes. In green irises she found her acceptance. While they conflicted, they also fit, and two lonely souls could become one.

When her life was threatened, Our Seifers were there, even when she refused the aid. When she derided love with a scornful remark, he showed her the way. Together they could peel away the illusion.

As a lover, we gave her passion, saw to it that years of repression did not leave her cold.

We proved that she was meant to love.

She was a woman.

Just as we have made her strong, we have made her weak. Giving into temptation she has fallen from her pedestal, picking up addictions and helixing down deadly paths. Sometimes even the very Guardians that professed enduring fidelity were torn from the recesses of her mind. She was left alone, scarred and afraid. We shouted in outrage when her companions betrayed her one by one. Protested at the poor hand she had been dealt. Only to see her find her new place in the world, chin higher than before.

She has been a lover, a mother, a wife, a friend. And an enemy. When the ones she trusted turned away she did not always falter. We stared, amazed, as she gathered her resources and took on the world, striking down those who stood in her path. She used her powers against the very institution that unleashed them. Even when her acts turned villainous, a part of us rallied in support. We demanded her absolution and saw that she got it.

Her name was whatever we made of it.

In other moments we allowed memories to consume her. Battle-weary and alone, she hid in her room, with only her thoughts to guide her. Feelings of emptiness, uselessness, and mediocrity shadowed her mind.

With accomplishments made, her future lay before her in a barren stretch. The ultimate war fought and won, she had lost her direction. Our hearts in our throats we watched as the weapon that had once saved her, was now engaged against her. Often, someone was there to stop her from the final plunge. We sighed in gratitude. For when she died, a part of us died with her.

No matter what, we proved that life could make her happy.

Beautiful and flawed, we have given her a soul when others would not. We have seen beyond the mask and into her mind. We have brought the best and worst out of a woman that has incited us to take a look within our own hearts.

Remaining in the background, she was content to stay out of the sun, to play whatever role her creators assigned. To serve as a foil to the heroine. But we have nudged her forward, and she has proven herself more than capable of handling the spotlight. Through out attentions, she has blossomed. Her personality is a product of us.

She is no longer just the ice queen. To us, she never was.