Chapter Thirty: Completion
Author's Note: The Finale (sorry it's so rushed, but it brings closure)! See profile for full notes.
All Standard Disclaimers Apply: I do not own Final Fantasy.
His heart had been racing the moment he put his jacket on. He had practically run down to the front of the Garden and jumped into the awaiting car. Within moments, he found himself standing at the Balamb town train station; ticket in hand and no luggage at his side. He briefly wondered if he was crazy. He'd just dropped everything without hesitation. He didn't tell anyone, other than Xu, that he was leaving. He didn't even report to Cid. It was too spontaneous. Too unprepared. Yet the second the train arrived, his heart began racing once more and he climbed on with only one thing on his mind: Rinoa.
The trip there had been much too long for his tastes. It seemed to be endless and he had been bored out of his mind. He spent much of his time going through the only other thing he had brought with him other than the clothes on his back; Rinoa's album. By the time he rolled into the Trabia train station, he had the entire album's lyrics memorized. He hadn't even heard the entire CD, yet.
Tugging his leather jacket tighter around him, he braced himself for the cold as he stepped off the train. The people who had gotten on with him had changed from thinner, fall clothing to thick snow wear. Coming to Trabia without the correct clothes was definitely a crazy idea, however, he was already there. It was much too late to turn back.
"Yes!" a voice piped energetically behind him. "He's here!" He turned around and saw a warmly dressed yellow blob running toward. "Squall!"
"Selphie!?" He could've sworn she had been at the Garden that morning... "What are you doing here?"
"No time for questions!" the hyperactive brunette said as she pulled out a thick black jacket out of a large paper shopping bag she had been carrying. "It's cold, but this on!"
Unsure of what to say, the blue eyed Captain nodded and gratefully put on the warm jacket. "Selphie, what-"
"Come on! Come on!" She said. She grabbed his hand and tugged him forward. "Irvy's waiting in the car!"
"Car?" Was he being kidnapped? He wasn't sure if he liked where this was going.
His eyes adjusted to the setting sun as he was dragged out of the station. He was pulled to the front of the train station, where a large black SUV was waiting. Irvine waved from the front seat and started up the vehicle. Selphie pulled open the door to the back seat and shoved Squall in before jumping into the passenger seat. "Told you we wouldn't be late!" Irvine beamed as he pulled out into the street.
"I got there just as he got off the train!" Selphie told him. "We still could've missed him."
"Will someone please tell me what's going on?" Squall growled from the back seat.
"Zell!" Irvine shouted over his shoulder, completely ignoring Squall's request. "Give him his suit!"
Squall's eyes nearly popped out. "My WHAT?"
"Here you go!" Zell, who had been sitting only Hyne knew where, popped up and shoved a black dress bag in Squall's arms. He began crawling his way over the back of the seat and on to the spot beside Squall. "The back's free. You can change back there."
"Just do it!" Selphie yelled. She whirled around. "Or we will stop this car and turn around, mister!"
Squall sat frozen in his chair. "Selphie, what is going on-"
"Irvine! Turn the car around!" she screamed.
"Okay, okay!" Squall let out a frustrated growl and crawled over the back seat. He landed in the back of the SUV with a thump and groaned. He unzipped the back and looked down at the dark colored SeeD uniform. "Wait...what is going on? You three just kidnapped me-"
"Nuh-uh!" Selphie retorted. "You came willing! Else you wouldn't have been on the train."
Squall stared at the trio as if they had lost their minds. "I can't believe this is happening..." Instead of wasting his breath, he quickly changed into his uniform. As soon as the last button was in place, the vehicle came to a stop. Squall looked out the window. They were back at the Ice Crystal Resort. His eyes narrowed as he looked around the snow covered area. Something was...different.
"Out!" Selphie said as she opened the back door. Squall was quickly ushered out and stood in front of the massive lodge. "Go on!" Selphie said as she stood by the SUV excitedly "Get inside!"
He was about to ask if they were coming, but decided against it. Like he needed those three crazies following him... Slowly, almost hesitantly, he walked up the steps of the resort. He paused before the doors, his mind lost in what could be behind them. He took a deep breath and mentally prepared himself for anything. He placed his hands on the door and pushed them open.
A rush of warm air met him as he stepped into the high vaulted lobby. He froze as the door swung close behind. That was what was different. Aside from him and his three kidnappers, there wasn't another person he'd seen at the resort. Last time, it had been crawling with guests and employees. He looked directly ahead of him. The front desk was empty. Slowly, he took a step forward. In the lounge pits on either side of the lobby, the fires were going, but no one was inside of them. It was as if everyone had vanished.
"Hello?" he called out hesitation. There was no answer. He reached the center of the lobby. "Rinoa?"
Suddenly, music flooded the lobby and Squall shifted into a fighting stance. For a moment, he wondered if someone was going to jump out, but no one did. Nothing changed except for the addition of the music. He waited a moment longer. Nothing.
His body relaxed as he remained standing in his spots. Outside the large windows, the sun that had been setting when he arrived had vanished in the horizon. A thick, star speckled darkness had settled in. The sound of low motors began to murmur and he whirled around. His eyes darted around until they caught sight of the moving ceiling. High above him, panels were being drawn into the wall to reveal a large glass dome at the top of the lobby. As the lights turned on around its edges, the crystal shaped hanging statue above him lit up like ice.
'So that's where it got the name...'
Squall stared up at the sky a moment longer. It the night was clear and that far away from any city, he could see the stars clearly. The music began to fade into a familiar piano piece. A waltz...he could recognize it in his sleep. A smile reached his face and he looked down and shook his head. He heard the door open behind him and stood up straight. He took a deep breath put on a straight face.
As seriously as he could, he turned around. A bright, beaming smile met him as a woman in cream made her way across the room. "Squall," she said as she stood in front of him. "I know this is a bit unorthodox...but I have a question to ask you."
He nodded and reached out; wrapping her smaller hands in his. "Anything."
He could see a slight flash of nervousness in her eyes and momentarily wondered why. She took a deep breath and stepped back. She pulled her hands away from his and raised them to the back of her neck. A second later, the silver chain that was perpetually hanging around her neck slipped to her hand. Pale fingers pulled out the larger silver ring with the lion engraved around it. She cleared her throat.
"Squall," she began seriously. "Several years ago today, I approached you on a dance floor in Balamb Garden," she began as she reached for his hand. Her large brown orbs stared up into his blue ones lovingly. "And a year ago...you found me here," Squall's eyes widened. He hadn't even realized that. "In that year, I would like to say that I've fallen in love with you all over again...but I haven't."
His heart froze. She removed his ring...she hadn't fallen in love with him... Rinoa watched as all the color drained out of his face. She could practically feel the fear of separation coming from him.
"I'm not done," she sighed. "Honestly, Squall..." she murmured under her breath. She took another breath and squeezed his hand. "I never stopped loving you...and I don't want to go another day without knowing you're by my side. So..." She lifted up his ring and took hold of his left hand. His eyes widened. "Captain Squall Leonhart..." His heart began to slam against his chest. "Will you do me the honor," His face was turning red. "Of marrying me?"
Rinoa looked up into his eyes eagerly. His mouth opened, but nothing came out. Was he hesitating? Her eyes widened and her heart began to race. The nervousness that had been in her stomach began to churn. Within a second, dread was crawling up her body as her hands began to shake. Her smile was faltering. Was he going to say no? Then, his eyes rolled back...and Squall crumbled to the ground.
"Stop laughing..." Squall growled as Rinoa sat beside him, gently stroking his hair as they had dinner in one of the many restaurants of the resort. The crowds were now let back into the main area of the resort as the group had dinner.
Across from Squall, Seifer and Irvine could not stop laughing. Their red faces had tears streaming down their cheeks as they leaned back against their chairs and laughed. Zell was trying desperately not to laugh, but every time he looked at Squall, another burst of laughter would escape. Quistis couldn't stop smiling. Selphie was giggling. Squall glared at the short brunette. She had filmed it...the entire thing. Even up to the part where Rinoa started screaming and everyone rushed in.
Apparently, he had stopped breathing. Rinoa chuckled and returned to her salad. "The point is he said yes!"
"That was so sweet," Shizuka smiled intently. "It was the first thing he said when he woke up."
"Yeah, too bad the first hand he grabbed was Seifer's," Irvine choked out. Seifer immediately stopped laughing and shot Irvine as glare as half the table erupted into another round of hysteria. "That was the best proposal ever, Rinoa!"
"It's not funny," Rinoa told them, despite being unable to keep from smiling. She was still quite giddy that Squall accepted. "He could've gotten hurt."
"I can't believe you forgot to breathe," Laguna said from Squall's left. He looked at his son worriedly. "Was it that much of a shock that Rinoa proposed to you?"
It wasn't so much of a shock as...well, it was shock. He never expected Rinoa to ask him to marry her. He'd always thought he would be the one to ask...and in an equally romantic way! A small piece of his manhood had been injured...he suddenly felt inadequate for not proposing first. Grumbling, he looked back down at his food and continued to poke at it. And Seifer hadn't helped. They had been in the middle of moving him to one of the couches when Squall woke up and grabbed the closest arm before proclaiming 'yes'.
Seifer had dropped him like a rock and sent everyone else tumbling down with him.
Luckily, that had been a short lived embarrassment, as Rinoa dove forward, squealing with excitement as she threw her arms around him and planted her lips on his. "Still...what man faints when his girlfriend asks him to marry her?"
Finally, Squall pushed his plate forward with a scowl on his face. "I'm going for a walk."
"What?" A series of voices chorused and tried to stop him, but Squall was already out of his seat.
Rinoa put her fork down and threw everyone an apologetic look. "I'll go talk to him," she said. "You guys go ahead and eat." she added as she stood up and placed her napkin by her plate. She quickly wove through the tables after Squall.
"I told you not to say anything!" Quistis hissed as she glared at Seifer. "Now look what you did!"
"Hey, I wasn't the only one!" Seifer replied and pointed across the table at Irvine. "Kinneas wouldn't stop joking anyway!"
"And don't try to deny that you weren't laughing, either, Quisty," Irvine told her, earning him a glare from the instructor. "I saw you trying to hold back!"
"But I didn't go cracking jokes at his expense," Quistis sighed, exasperated. "Now he's mad on what's supposed to be one of the happiest days of his life..."
"Squall!" He could hear her calling out to him as he stepped through the doors and met the cold air. "Squall! Wait a minute!"
He finally stopped and lowered his head. He released a heavy breath and slowly turned around. Rinoa burst through the doors and stumbled to a stop in front of him. "Sorry..."
"It's fine, they deserved it," Rinoa assured him as she took a tentative step forward. She looked at him worriedly. "Are you...are you okay?"
His voice lacked any emotion and Rinoa frowned. "Squall..." she said. "Irvine and Seifer will stop once they lose interest-"
"It's not about that," Squall told her. His breath crystallized in front of him. He looked down at the beautiful woman in front of him and raised his hands. He rested them on her bare shoulders. Even in the cold night air, she was warm. "Rinoa...I was supposed to ask you to marry me."
For a moment, the woman stared at him. "What...?"
His hands released her and turned around. "I was supposed to ask you to marry him, not vice versa."
"Squall, what does it matter-"
"It matters a lot!" Squall exclaimed. "I did want to propose you know." He told her softly.
A small smile reached her lips. "Well, you did say yes..." she said as she crossed her arms.
"But you didn't get a proposal deserving of you," Squall told her regretfully. "I was supposed to take you somewhere and give you a ring...not the other way around. I was supposed to go down on one knee and hold up a little black box with a ring. Instead, you had to do it all yourself."
Rinoa narrowed her eyes. "Do you think you failed me?" she asked, in an almost disbelieving voice. She stepped forward and placed her hand on his arm. She gently pulled him aside; forcing him to look at her. "Squall, just because I proposed to you doesn't mean you did something wrong...it means I wanted this badly enough to ask myself..." Her hand slid down his arm and she looked at him sadly. "If anyone is to blame, it's me...Squall, if you're not ready for this-"
A pair of lips swept down and covered hers. Large brown eyes fluttered before closing. She leaned into him as his arms wrapped around her bare shoulders. A soft breath caressed her cheek as he pulled away. Deep blue eyes looked down at her. "I'm ready for this...I've been ready..." he whispered in a low voice. His hands rose and cupped her cheeks gently. Thumbs gently stroked the corners of her eyes. "Rinoa Heartilly, I would be honored to be your husband."
The truth behind those words was so strong, it was almost frightening.
Rinoa's eyes widened as tears began to rim them once more. "Sometimes, I don't think it's real..." she whimpered as her arms wrapped around him. "That I'll wake up and I'll still be alone...and every morning when I look over and see you, I know it's real," She closed her eyes and buried her face in his shoulder. "Thank you, Squall."
Strong arms wrapped around her body and a heavy head rested against hers. His eyes closed as he planted a small kiss against her temple. 'Thank you, Rinoa...' he thought to himself silently as he smiled. 'For drifting back into my life.'
"Aww..." Selphie cooed as she stood pasted by the window, watching the happy couple embrace. "Isn't that sweet..."
"It really makes you believe in love, doesn't it?" Laguna added as he dabbed the corners of his eye.
"It's inspiring!" Selphie stated determinedly as she pulled away from the glass.
"Inspiring?" Quistis chuckled as she peeled herself away from the window. "How so?"
The green eyed brunette gave the blonde and the Esthar President a huge smile. "Rinoa proposed to Squall...I think I'll do the same!" Quistis nearly tripped over her own feet. She looked at Selphie as if the woman had grown another head. "It's about time, don't you think?"
The brunette chuckled to herself and began heading back to the restaurant. Back at their table, a cowboy hat wearing SeeD began choking on his drink.
Thank you for reading!