Disclaimer: Since this is the last disclaimer for Moonlight I figured I may as well make it a legit one. Okay, I do not own Square-Enix nor the characters created by them. The only character I own is Louise Evans. Michael Sinclair who appeared in previous chapters is the property (hehehe) of mariedel. Lastly, the plot is mine…mine, mine, mine! ^.^ enjoy!

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Chapter 17-Dancing in the Moonlight

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And when the stars fall I will lie awake…

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Rinoa shivered as she sat on the park bench. She looked up at the sky and the numerous clouds slowly filling up the great expanse. Each star slowly disappearing until only the light of the moon was visible. Returning her gaze to the ground, she stared at the grass and then glanced at the root of a tree at her feet. She followed the roots with her eyes up the trunk until she saw a small, roughly carved heart on the wood. This place…its memories. This is where it all happened. Shaking her head slightly, she replayed the fight that she and Quistis had just had, the first they'd ever had. I can't believe Quistis said what she did. I can't believe this night had to end this way…

A familiar voice interrupted her thoughts.

"I never thought I'd be underneath this tree with you again."

"Did you follow me?" Rinoa asked irately.

"Actually I was already here. What's wrong?" he queried as he saw a tear escape her eye

"Nothing," she sniffed. "I just had a fight with my bestfriend, not that it would mean anything to you."

"Do you mind if I sit?"

"You're going to anyway," she shrugged. "So where's Louise?"

"Ah, Louise, the girl who just called off our engagement? Well I guess she's gone back to the party," he strategically stated.

"Called off the engagement?"

"Yep."

"Why?" she asked nonchalantly.

"She didn't want to get married. Mutual understanding kind of thing: we didn't love each other in that way."

"Oh…" Rinoa whispered in acknowledgment.

Squall looked up at the tree above him and smiled. "This place sure brings back memories, doesn't it?"

She scoffed, as she cast her glance down at the ground, "Not good ones."

"Come on…you don't think all the times I took you here were good?"

Of course…I'm not gonna say so, though.

"I took you here nearly every weekend 'cause you said you felt closer to music here."

I know…I did – I do…

"We spent all our time here underneath this tree…"

This is where it all happened…

"…I told you I loved you underneath this tree."

As the words left his mouth, Rinoa felt as if she were about to cry. A mere tear escaped her eye as she stood, casting her gaze downwards, blinking them away. She was about to walk away when Squall took hold of her hand. She lifted her eyes from the ground to meet Squall's. She felt her mouth go dry as she continued to stare into his glassy orbs.

"Those were the happiest moments, Rin – all the times I spent here with you. You're all I'll ever need to be happy. Please tell me you forgive me," he whispered as if afraid to disturb the emotion passing between them.

Rinoa's glance shifted from Squall's intense gaze to her hand. She relished in its warmth, closing her eyes momentarily as the memories came flooding back. Still staring at her hand and the firmness of his grip, Rinoa almost smiled.

How easy everything could be now…Squall and I together forever – it's all so simple. But still…how can I be sure that it will last this time…?

Rinoa closed her eyes once again and bit her lip - this could've been the biggest mistake of her life.

"Squall I…" her voice trailed as tears began to fall. "I just can't."

He frowned, genuinely surprised at her response and…disappointed. "What do you mean 'you can't'?

"We can't…I can't just pretend that nothing happened and pick up where we left off."

"I'm not asking you to do that," he persisted gently. God, Rin, don't do this to me.

"Oh, but you are. Do you know how many tears I've shed because of you? Do you honestly know how much I hurt – am still hurting?"

"Of course I do, Rin. I hurt just as much as you did, you have to believe me," he coaxed as he took both of her hands in his as if to emphasise his point.

"How do I know that that won't happen again, Squall? My…my heart is too fragile for that to happen again, and I don't want to put my hopes into something that'll just vanish one day."

"Rin…Rinoa, don't you trust me?" Please say that you do…

She momentarily paused before continuing. "That's the thing…" She took her hands from his, sad at the loss of heat and feeling of comfort his touch gave.

Squall prayed on his life that she wouldn't say what he thought she would. His thoughts dreaded the next scene, and as much as his heart willed it to be untrue, nothing could change what was to be…for the mean time.

"…I don't know if I do anymore," she said in a mere whisper before turning from him and running as best she could to her car, praying that he wouldn't follow.

Squall watched helplessly as she disappeared into the distance. He knew she didn't want to be followed, so he resigned to sinking down onto the park bench.

This is the third time I've had to watch her run away…

…it shall be the last.

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Rinoa opened the door of her house, darkness surrounding her as she closed it. Blindly, she walked to her bedroom and sat on her window seat. Sighing, she stared out the window and hugged her knees to her chest. What have I done…?

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* ~ * ~ *

"You know I was talking to my dad last night-"

"Whoa!" Rinoa feigned surprise as she took a bite out of her apple. They were both sitting at the base of a huge cherry blossom tree, leaning against its trunk.

"No seriously. I was talking about you to him-"

"Should I be scared about where this is going?"

"Will you stop interrupting-"

"I'm not interrupting you," she grinned as he elbowed her side softly. "I just think and talk faster than you do."

"Anyway," he continued as he rolled his eyes, "As I was saying: I was talking about you to him and then he started going on about some shit about rings and crap."

"Rings? What the hell?"

He shrugged, ignoring Rinoa's wide-eyed expression. "Exactly what I thought. I mean, you know and I know that we're to young for anything like that. But what he was going on about was some sort of ring exchange."

"Umm…explain?" she asked whilst chewing.

"Well, apparently there's this sort of tradition that when two people love each other they give each other rings as a symbol of that love…or something. It's suppose to mean that they'll love each other no matter what."

"Like…engaged?"

"Nah…not exactly. Don't freak out or anything, Rin, it just a symbol…as I said, some stupid tradition in my family, I dunno."

They sat in silence for a while until Rinoa tossed her apple core onto Squall's lap.

"What the hell?" Squall exclaimed while brushing it off with the back of his hand.

"I got an idea."

"What? To throw your apple core on me? Great idea."

"No!" she scowled as she elbowed him in the side. "Why don't we?"

"Why don't we what?"

"Exchange rings! You give me that ring with that thing on it-"

"How many times do I have to explain what that 'thing' is? It's Griever-"

"Yeah I know, sorry…I love getting you worked up about nothing. So anyway, you give me your Griever ring and I'll give you my mother's ring."

"D'ya wanna?"

"Don't see why not," she shrugged. "Besides, it's tradition."

"And you know how much I lo-ove tradition," Squall replied sarcastically.

"Come on, it'll be our thing. Go on, let's have it." She took her necklace off from around her neck and slipped her mother's engagement ring from it and held it in her palm. Squall took his from his finger and held it out to her. She took it as she placed her's into his outstretched palm. Giving it a quick kiss, she slipped it onto the chain in the place of her mother's ring and put it back on.

Rinoa stared at the ring on her chest as she leaned in closer to Squall. "You know that I love you, right?"

"Yeah, why?" he answered as he too observed the image of his ring on her necklace.

"I just want you to know and remember that, okay?"

"Okay."

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~ * ~ * ~

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Rinoa frowned at the realisation: What happened to my ring? She glanced outside the window again just as droplets of water began hitting the glass. After all this time I never bothered to question it: why didn't I take the ring back? And why didn't he give it back?

How on earth did I manage to delude myself for so long?

Quistis was right…I do love him.

I don't know why I ever doubted it.

Outside the rain began getting heavier and Rinoa grabbed a jacket, quickly putting it over the dress she was still wearing from the competition, and her bag before running out of her room, down the corridor, out the door and to her car. Pulling out her cell phone from her bag, she quickly dialled for Quistis as she backed out of the driveway, ignoring the fact that what she was doing was illegal.

"Hello?" her friend answered.

"Quisty?"

"Rin? Oh my God, where are you?!"

"I have some things I need to take care of, but I need you to do me a favour."

"Sure, anything."

"Okay, I need you to tell me what Squall's address is."

"I don't know it."

"Well you're still with Seifer, right? Get it off him."

Rinoa heard Quistis talking distantly to someone else and after a few seconds she returned. "He lives in apartment 4C in the Hillview which is number 78 on Minic Road."

"Thanks, Quisty."

"Listen Rin, I'm really sorry about what I said earlier."

"Don't be," she smiled. "You were right." And with that she hung up.

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"Hello? Rin?" Quistis said into her phone as Rinoa hung up. "She just hung up! After saying something that cryptic, she just hangs up!" she complained as she shoved her phone back into her bag.

"What did she say?" Seifer asked.

"Well I said 'sorry' and she goes 'don't be, you were right'."

"Sweetie," he smiled at her, "I don't think that was very cryptic at all."

"You mean…she…"

"Is finally doing something right," Seifer finished. Holding out a hand to her he grinned. "Well done, objective complete."

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Rinoa quickly parked her car along the side of the road and ran across the road to where the front door of the apartment building was. Hastily making her way up the stairs, she pounded at the door. Having no response, she concluded no one was home and ran back down the stairs.

Squall, who was lying on his bed, still dressed in his suit, was shaken out of his reverie when he heard a rapping on his door. Who the hell? Standing up, he meandered to his door and opened it. Realising that there was no longer anyone standing there, he ran to his window overlooking the street to see who it was. It only took a second to realise who it was.

"Rin! Wait!" and with that, he quickly bounded across the room and down the stairs, not bothering to close the door behind him.

She had stopped in her tracks at his voice and continued to stand in the rain, not really caring about how she looked or how much her dress was getting ruined. When Squall came out of the brightly lit foyer of the building, he stood in front of her puffing.

"What are you doing here, Rin?"

"I need to talk to you."

"Come on, let's go inside then. You'll get sick standing out here."

"No," she said defiantly as she grabbed his arm and beckoned him to stay with wide eyes. "The shield only goes down for so long, so if this is where I have to do this, then so be it. It's now or never, Squall."

"Alright, what is it?" he asked softly.

"Why didn't you give me back my ring?" Rinoa breathed deeply as the words left her mouth as if it took all her effort to lay aside her pride and come clean.

"What do you mean?" he replied with a hint of a smile.

"You don't remember? The ring I gave you when you gave me yours? My-"

She stopped when Squall pulled out a chain from his pant's pocket. On it were two rings: Griever and Rinoa's ring. "You mean this ring? Your mother's engagement ring?"

Rinoa stood then in awe, gaping at the sight of the two rings together at the bottom of the chain.

"I always keep them on me…always together."

"Why?" she asked shakily as she continued to stare at the rings. God it's been such a long time.

"I needed to believe - to know - that you still loved me."

"I do, Squall," she whispered before lifting her gaze to meet his. Then she smiled, and repeated in a stronger voice, "I do. That's why I didn't take it back. The day I gave you back Griever, I thought you didn't love me anymore. But I never asked for mine back because the truth is…I never stopped loving you."

"And I never stopped loving you. So…I guess you can have this back now," he said as he gently placed Griever in her palm. She took in the sight of it against her skin, and the rainwater beginning to surround it in her palm. She smiled as she brushed her fingers over the contours and closed her fingers over it.

"Squall, I know we can't change the past, I know that all too well. But I wanna make the future right…our future…that's if you still want to."

Slowly, he cupped her chin with his fingers and gazed longingly into her eyes.

"If you're asking whether or not I still want to be with you despite our mistakes - the answer is yes. Now and forever."

Then, closing the gap, he kissed her as the rain poured down on the two, consecrating their future. Rinoa closed her eyes as his lips touched her's and marvelled at the softness of his touch and the comfort of his arms around her. Pulling away slightly, Rinoa leant her forehead against Squall's chest, smiling as she felt the rain pouring on them.

I can't believe I almost forgot how this felt. It feels so right.

Slowly, he tightened his hold of her as he ran a hand through her drenched hair. After a while, Squall glanced up at the sky as the clouds parted, and the rain ceased. Feeling the rain stop, she, too, looked up to see the sky.

Bringing her eyes back down slightly, she caught Squall's stare and gazed back at him with a small smile which he mirrored.

This is where their future began - under a shower of life, beneath the light of the moon.

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…You are my shooting star *

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THE END

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A/N - WoW! I bet you all thought this day would never come! And I've taken my time, haven't I? OMG! My second fic finished! AH! Its such a great feeling! Really, it is! So on that note, I just really wanna thank everyone who's been with me through this long and winding ride in particular Mariedel and Buttered Angie who've been great friends and listeners during the endless conversations and with always happy to give suggestions. They both are great writers in their own rights so I suggest you go off and read their fics (mariedel on fictionpress and buttered angie on ff.net) because they're smashingly good! You guys rock my world! Thankyou!

Secondly, I'd like to thank all the people, yes that's you, who have read this fic and have reviewed and encouraged me to continue. After all, I write to please you guys and your feedback means more than you could possibly imagine. So to all those who reviewed:

Noacat-I honestly hoped you liked this ending, I'd hate to disappoint one of the few readers who've stuck with me from the beginning. Thanks for every review you've taken the time to write! Cheers to ya!

Graywords-girl-I updated when I said I would. How'd you like it? I hope you did! thanks for your support and lovely comments ^.^

SabreHero-*rubs head* no need to get all violent about it! *pouts* I updated okay? So how was it? hope you liked it! thanks a bunch!

zornoid13-thanks for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. cheers ^.^

Tai-Style-Louise is 'special' she based on my verily bestest buddy who probably would act like that in that situation. But anyway, thanks for all the great reviews! You rock!

angel-brokensorrow-what?! Rinoa doesn't end up with Squall?! Wait…they did! hahaha, I don't know where you got that from dude, but keep in mind…*SQUINOA ALL THE WAY* don't ya ever forget it! thanks a billion for everything!

Earth's Rain-I'm so happy you've enjoyed my fic! Thanks for reviewing and all the compliments, I do hope that you enjoyed this final chappy! ^.^

Jean-I'm so sorry, did I really kill you that much?! I updated as soon as I could! I promise I did! I'm sorry for making you wait, but I couldn't help it. school, unfortunately, takes a up a lot of time in my life. So anyway, thanks so much for showing your interest! It means so much to me!

Etherealist-have I ever mentioned before that I love you name? well I do…hehehe. Anyhoo…thanks for your continual support and for showing you interest. Thankyou so, so much!

Buttered Angie-AH! Omg! How did it feel being the first person to read the complete thing? Feel special? Hehehe, I'm so glad that any scene to do with denial reminds you so much of me, I'm really *tear* touched. And about you getting interested in ff, I think its only right since you've brainwashed me into meteor garden and f4 and all the korean dramas you have yet to fill me in on. So basically, thanks so much dude! *muahz* you maketh me verily happy ^.^ ACK! Damn shakespeare…hate that dead guy! Thanks again! I luv VIC! He's so similar to s****! Its scary! But I don't care!

Knighted-sorry about the cliffy, but trust me, if you'd seen the original way that chapter was meant to end, you would've hated it more! No joke! I hope you get to read this when I post it, I'm touched that you wanna read it that much! Oh and about new fics!? I've got a ton of more ideas which are still undergoing the thought processes, but don't worry. I don't think I'll be disappearing from the ff world just yet ;)…thanks again!

Wind Chime Bells-I waited one week, will that suit you? Hope you enjoyed this final chapter, it really has been a ride hasn't it? I mean, wow! 8 months! I shouldn't have stretched it out that long, but hey, I don't think I could've helped it. thanks for your continual support! I'm eternally grateful to you!

jisATsU siLENcE-hope you liked this chapter, I've really appreciated all your reviews. Just want you to know that your comments are going overlooked. Thanks heaps!

Angelprinczess29-AH! Omg! Another fic down, I'm sure you know exactly how I feel. So I've updated, now I eagerly await your's, missy! No pressure, but I can't wait! You have to know how much I luv your fics, I say it practically all the time. So once again, I just wanna say that its an honour to have you reading my stories and that I thoroughly appreciate all your comments. Thanks so much! ^.^ you rock!

RococoTheFlyingMonkey-thanks for the review! Hope you enjoyed reading my fic!

!~*moonlight chick *~!-gotten that new computer yet? I sorely need one too :(, but I don't think I'll be getting one soon. Thanks so much for every single review you've typed up, its great to write when you know people are actually enjoying the read. So thanks so much for all your support!

Mariedel-reviewer number 300! How more special could you be?! Hahaha you owe me an update! If you don't update at least once these holz I swear I'm gonna chuck a hissy fit! I may even throw another banana peal at you so b-e-w-a-r-e! ^.^ jokes lang hahaha. How's your sakit ng ulo? Hahaha, hope the maths homework didn't make it worse! Anyhoo…thanks a lot for putting up with me! And b-e-w-a-r-e! I have three more fics in the making! *muahz*! Cheer to ya!

Wcigtdniw-Sir John himself I see! Out of all reviewers, I must say you are one of my favourites. I've prolly said that before haven't I? Well, lucky for you, you were actually reviewer 301! Better than 298 eh? Hehehe I thought so. So no more Squika? Aww! I loved every moment of it! thanks so much for all of your heartfelt, and truly appreciated reviews, they mean so much to me, as I have also said on a weekly basis. Did it ever occur to you that I purposely put typos in specifically for you? Hahaha, you like picking my fic apart so I add little stuff to see if you pick it up…which you always do. So well done! And thankyou oh so much for you wonderful reviews! You honestly rock my world! Thanks, John the trumpeter and thank Theo for me as well ok? Thanks dude!

baka_shinji_01-sorry about the cookies. Next time I swear! You got close to reviewer 300! 302 is pretty good! Thanks so much for your reviews! And I'll keep the cooking and milk in mind ^.^

TrinForever-I promise to read your fic soon! I really will, I'm just totally swamped with school and only just started reading fics again. so thanks for your support and I'll get to your fics soon! Thanks again!

dark eco-done, done and done! ^.^ thankyou!

FreyA-wings-last but not least, thanks so much for taking the time to review! Winter sonata does rock! And I'll buy the dvd's soon I hope. Thanks again!

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So thankyou once again to everyone! Please R&R and tell me what you thought! I'd really appreciate it! oh, and don't forget to keep a lookout for my new fic Close To You which will be posted in the near future. Thanks again! 3 e.t