Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VIII....
Author's Note: Well, here is one of the new fics I will be writing. The other one is also going to be a Squinoa, but unlike this one, it will be an alternate universe. That should be posted sometime next month. As for this one, it takes place after the game, which you can probably tell from this first chapter. It's going to be a Squall/Quistis/Rinoa/Irvine rectangle (?). By now, you have probably realized that music plays a big part in my life, and it is a great inspiration for me to write. The song that really finalized my thoughts for this fic was "Hotel Paper" by Michelle Branch, off of the CD of the same name. So, you could really consider "Hotel Paper" to be the theme song in this fic. The significance that song has to this fic probably won't be apparent until later chapters, so bear with me. I might incorporate it in a later chapter, as well. That's basically it for now. Enjoy!
To Love You More
"It's a beautiful night, isn't it? Perfect for gazing at the stars."
"I suppose that it is, if you're one to like those kinds of things. Personally, I'm just happy to be alive."
The girl nodded. "That's true. When I thought that you had died...."
The boy held out his hand to her, sweeping her up in his arms. "I'll never leave you, Rinoa. I...love you."
Rinoa's eyes filled with tears. "I wish that things could stay this way, but I know that isn't true. I love you so much, but there will come a time when I am gone. Don't lose faith in me, Squall." She sighed. "It's no use, though. Another woman will steal your heart."
"You're being ridiculous. I would never do that to you, Rinoa."
She just shook her head sadly. "It's inevitable. When I return, I am going to have to fight for you like I have never fought before. Please, don't forget me entirely."
Squall held her closer to him, feeling a strong sense of dread. "Don't leave me, Rinoa," he whispered and kissed her with everything he was feeling.
Rinoa kissed him back, enjoying what she knew was one of the last kisses she would share with him. Out of the dark came a huge bird, screeching loudly. The bird swooped down and picked Rinoa up in its claws.
"Rinoa!" Squall cried in despair.
Tears streamed down her face. "I love you, Squall. Please, don't ever forget that." Then, the bird opened it's claws, releasing Rinoa so she was free to fall through the air.
Rinoa gasped and sat up in bed. Her heart pounded in the darkness of her room and she repeatedly had to tell herself to calm down. It was just a dream. Get a hold of yourself, Rinoa. Still, she couldn't help recalling how real everything had felt. It had started off as the night where Balamb Garden was celebrating the defeat of Ultimecia. Why would she be having a dream like that now, six months after the fact? Rinoa trembled, having a very bad feeling.
"Rinoa?" Squall's voice called from beside her. She jumped, forgetting that he was there. Squall sat up so he was facing her. "Are you alright?"
She shook her head, afraid that if she spoke, the tears would fall. She hated to show any weakness in front of Squall. He was always the strong one, so she felt as if any weakness she possessed would just be holding him back.
Squall frowned, concerned with her lack of speech. Usually, it was the other way around. He put his hand on her shoulder reassuringly. "It's okay. You can tell me."
Hearing the gentleness and concern in his voice made Rinoa break down. Squall wrapped his arms around her, understanding that, right now, she needed him to just be there. Stroking her hair, he simply held her, whispering occasional words of comfort in her ear.
Slowly, she pulled apart from him. "You will probably think this is really stupid and childish of me, but I had a horrible dream."
Squall squeezed her hand reassuringly. "If it's gotten you so upset, then it definitely isn't stupid. Do you want to tell me about it?" He couldn't believe that he was the one reassuring her. So many times, it had been the other way around. Rinoa had really rubbed off on him in the past six months.
Rinoa relayed the dream she had had. "I know that it was just a dream, but do you think it could be some sort of message? It just felt so real."
Squall shook his head. "Rinoa, I know you're shaken up, but a dream is a dream. Nothing is going to happen."
"I can't lose you, Squall," she whispered.
"You're not going to. Come on, Rinoa, let's try to get back to sleep. You have to leave early tomorrow morning."
"Oh, that's right," Rinoa said as she remembered that she was leaving for Trabia tomorrow. Selphie and Irvine were there right now, and they needed some help in getting Trabia Garden back on its feet. Rinoa really hadn't had much to do, so she volunteered. Quistis was away on a mission, and Zell was busy instructing a fighting class. Squall had his hands full with commanding Garden.
"Two weeks...I wish someone else could go."
Rinoa yawned, feeling better already. "It'll go by fast." She snuggled closer to her boyfriend, feeling so peaceful to just have him there with her.
Squall said nothing, just closed his eyes and let himself fall asleep in the arms of the woman he loved. Two weeks seemed like forever to be away from Rinoa, but he's get through it. He had to.
The next morning, Rinoa stood just outside of Balamb Garden, waiting beside the Ragnarok. Nida was making some final preparations with the airship, and then they would be off. Zell and Squall were there to say goodbye.
"Say hi to Selphie and Irvine for me," Zell told Rinoa. "And don't forget to tell them that adding hotdogs to their menu everyday is an absolute must. Some people just can't live without hotdogs, you know."
"Actually, Zell, everyone can live just fine without hotdogs. It's you that was born on another planet."
Rinoa giggled. "Squall, that was mean!"
Zell lifted up his hands in defeat. "See what I have to deal with?"
Nida exited the Ragnarok then. "We're all set to go, Rinoa. Your luggage has been loaded in and the controls are all set. All we need is you."
Rinoa nodded and turned to Squall. "This is it." She kissed him slowly, unwilling to let go.
"God, I'm going to miss you," he whispered.
"I know. I'm going to miss you, too. Look on the bright side, though. I'll be in good hands and two weeks will be over like that," she said as she snapped her fingers.
Squall kissed her one more time. "Call me when you get there."
"I will." She started towards the Ragnarok and then stopped, calling over her shoulder, "Be good! And don't overwork yourself!" She smiled one more time and entered the airship.
Squall and Zell backed away as the engines came roaring to life. Minutes later, the Ragnarok was up in the air and shooting off toward Esthar. Squall sighed.
"Hey, you okay?" Zell asked. "You look pretty down."
"I couldn't do it," he said quietly.
"Couldn't do what?" Zell asked, puzzled.
Squall produced a small velvet box from out of his pocket. "Propose."
Zell's jaw dropped. "Whoa, man! Why didn't you do it?"
Squall sighed again. "The timing wasn't right. She has a lot on her mind with going to Trabia. I figured I would wait until she came back."
"Then why are you carrying that thing around with you?"
He shrugged. "I guess I wanted to have it with me, in case I changed my mind. And not a word about this to anyone, you hear?" Squall glared at him.
"Yes, Sir! Your secret's safe with me!" Zell nodded enthusiastically to show just how safe it really was.
"Good." Squall turned around and headed back to Balamb Garden. He couldn't brush off the feeling that everything was about to change.
Rinoa looked out the window at the vast expanse of clouds and sky. The view from up there was spectacular. She loved being up in the Ragnarok. It always seemed to give her a feeling of serenity and peace. She supposed that the feeling had started ever since she had first been there with Squall. She had been so scared then, and unsure, but Squall had made her feel safe and protected. It was the first time that he had really let her get close to him.
She sighed, missing Squall already. Of course she wanted to go to Trabia Garden and help Selphie and Irvine, but she wished she didn't have to go alone. Nida was just going to drop her off and pick her up two weeks later. She was hoping that Selphie and Irvine would keep her so occupied that she wouldn't have time to think of Squall. Knowing Selphie, that was definitely a possibility.
I hate being so weak. Rinoa sighed again. I can't even take two weeks away from Squall. I'm so pathetic. It was just that, she hadn't been away from him so long before. Squall had gone away for a week long mission once, but that was it. He was mostly busy with paperwork, so she occupied her time helping Dr. Kadowaki in the infirmary. The times that she did get to spend with Squall were some of the best times of her life. He was like a completely different person from the person he had been when she met him. She would like to think that some of it had to do with her, but she hardly gave herself credit. Smiling to herself, she entered the control room.
"So, Rinoa...you excited about seeing Irvine and Selphie again?" Nida asked as he piloted the Ragnarok.
Rinoa smiled. "Of course! I haven't seen them in a month. It's too bad that you can't stay, as well."
"Yeah," he agreed. "It would be nice to take a vacation. Unfortunately, I don't think your boyfriend would be too pleased if I did."
Rinoa laughed. "No, probably not. Can you blame him, though? He's been loaded with paperwork, so the last thing he has time for is to find a replacement to pilot Garden."
"What about you?"
Rinoa frowned. "What about me?"
"Does Squall find time for you? Or does his job consume his life?" Nida asked.
Nida's question startled Rinoa, but she answered it anyway. "Squall has certain responsibilities to Garden. I don't expect him to drop everything in his life for me. We make time to see each other. Sometimes, I wish we had more time together, but I respect the fact that as Commander, Squall needs to do his job."
"And what does Squall think of your...special abilities?"
Rinoa stared at him. "You mean my sorceress powers? Why would you bring that up? Squall is completely fine with my being a sorceress."
"No offense, but I can't help feeling that many people in Garden will feel relieved that you'll be away from them for two weeks."
Rinoa was really starting to get angry. What was he getting at? "Nida, if you have a problem with my being a sorceress, why don't you just come out and say it?"
"Okay, then, I will. I think that you are despicable, Rinoa. I don't know what the hell Squall sees in you, except for a nice piece of ass. All sorceresses need to be stopped, including you. You're just as bad as Ultimecia!"
Rinoa was shocked. She had never expected Nida, of all people, to confront her about being a sorceress. Seeing the evil grin on his face, she suddenly became afraid. "Nida...what's going on?"
"Squall became too trusting when he met you. He couldn't even spot a traitor among his own men." Nida lunged toward Rinoa, knocking her backwards. In that instant, he hit a few buttons on the control panel and the Ragnarok began descending rapidly.
"What are you doing?!" Rinoa screamed. "If we go down, you die, too!"
Nida just shrugged. "It's a small sacrifice to make up for the good of all mankind. I'm a hero."
"You're a murderer," she hissed, trying to stand up, but failing miserably.
"Squall would never have the balls to kill you, even if you were Ultimecia's incarnate. So, it was up to me, and only me. My life is nothing compared to the billions of lives I am saving by destroying you."
The plane was continuing to increase in speed. At this rate, they would hit the ground soon. "Please, Nida," Rinoa begged. "Don't do this. You don't want to end your life any more than I do."
"How the hell would you know what I want?" he spat. "You are not leaving this aircraft alive!"
Rinoa closed her eyes, clutching her necklace for support as she braced herself for the crash. This was really it. She would never make it to see Selphie and Irvine, or any of her friends ever again. She would never get to see Squall.... The Ragnarok crashed into the ground with a huge thud. The last thought Rinoa had was of Squall, before everything around her went black.
Author's Note: How did you like the first chapter? Feedback is greatly appreciated!