It was seven full days before Squall was up and about again, and even then, it was on crutches, as he'd aggravated his leg injury attacking Seifer. The doctors figured that Ultimecia's influence had started to affect him when he watched the videotape of Seifer, making him ignore, and thus worsen, his leg injury.

On this particular day, he rose early, slowly climbing to the top of the hospital, to get a look at the sunrise. He backed into a wall, and let himself slump into a sitting position. The sun was peeking over the horizon, bringing with it a new day. It's going to be a beautiful day, Squall thought. Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted by someone standing above him.

"Anyone sitting there?" Seifer enquired. During his spell in hospital, Seifer had had plenty of time to reflect upon his actions. While it was true that he was under the direct influence of a sorceress, he was still repentant for what he'd done. And, in Seifer's opinion, he'd done far too much. He knew he'd never be accepted back at Balamb Garden, he'd burned his bridges with Fujin and Raijin, and he couldn't even stay in Esthar, due to what he'd done to Ellone. He truly was a man with nowhere to go.

"No, make yourself comfortable," Squall answered. Seifer slowly lowered himself into a seated position- the shoulder injury he'd suffered was easily as bad as Squall's leg injury, if not worse. He was absolutely certain he'd never wield a gunblade ever again.

"We get discharged today," Seifer said, solemnly.

"Yeah," Squall said, not wanting to look at his newfound friend, for fear of the guilt he might feel.

"Is the Ragnarok coming to pick you up?" Seifer asked.

"They'll be here at about half past one," Squall confirmed. "Selphie, typically, is throwing a 'welcome back' party, even though I've only been gone a week." Seifer smiled. How he longed to be accepted as a part of that crowd. How he longed to be accepted as a part of any crowd. But it was not to be. "How about you?" Squall asked. "Where are you going?" Seifer's answer astonished Squall.

"Prison," Seifer answered, almost enthusiastically. "I've had a word with President Loire, and I've agreed to stand trial for my actions. Terrorism, brainwashing members of the public, grievous bodily harm- I'm looking at 15 years minimum." Squall was incredulous.

"Seif," he said, upset at the thought of Seifer rotting away in a prison cell, "that's not right. You shouldn't have to stand trial. You were brainwashed by the sorceress, for pity's sake!" Seifer shook his head.

"It's where I belong, Squall," he responded. "But I'm not upset. I'll have time to think in prison. Maybe I'll write a book or two." Suddenly, the sun burst over the horizon, bathing the two men in it's warm, morning glow. Squall and Seifer smiled together.

"Be sure to send me a copy," Squall said. "I'll be sure to write you, every week." Seifer laughed.

"Hell," he said, chuckling, "there's a book in that already!" Squall found himself laughing too- Seifer had a point.

"Seriously, though, Seif," Squall said, "I'll have a word with my father, see if I can get you out for a couple of days."

"Days?" Seifer asked. "What days?"

"Well," Squall started, "my wedding, for one." Seifer looked at Squall.

"You really want me there?" He asked. Squall nodded.

"I'd be offended if you said no." Seifer reached over and shook Squall's hand.

"You got yourself a wedding guest, then!" The two of them laughed some more, before they both decided they'd had enough fun, and stood up, walking side by side towards the door down into the hospital.

Seifer was sentenced to 18 years solitary confinement 6 days afterwards, although he was told he'd only have to serve 15 years. He didn't mind in the slightest, and started writing his first book of many on his first day in prison. It went on to be a number one bestseller, partially due to the fact that Squall agreed to write the foreword.

Squall arrived back at Balamb Garden on the evening of his discharge from hospital. As expected, Selphie (and Irvine) threw him a huge party. Squall wasn't really in the mood for the party, which was on a scale to match the one they'd thrown after defeating Ultimecia (for the first time, as it turned out), but he attended nonetheless, and found himself having a good time. He resumed his duties as Garden commander with new-found aplomb, and found himself enjoying every day more and more, no longer minding the fact that people looked up to him, and no longer minding the fact that he inspired people, for he realised that he was bringing out the best in them, and he liked it.

Squall and Rinoa were married at Winhill church a mere three months later. All their friends were there, including Seifer, who mainly kept hidden at the back. After the ceremony, however, Squall made a point to go up to him and talk to him.

"Seif," Squall, still in his groom outfit, said. "Glad you could make it." Seifer smiled- he certainly had changed from the man he fought three months ago. Although he was only 19, he looked at least 35. His hair was slightly greying, as was his beard (which he'd trimmed down to a goatee), and his face just looked, well, old. However, his voice was the same old Seifer.

"I wouldn't have missed it for anything," he answered. "Make sure to treat her right, OK?"

"Of course," Squall answered back.

"Good," Seifer said, "or I might have to break out of prison and come looking for you." Suddenly they heard a voice behind them.

"Squall!" Irvine, the self-appointed cameraman/official photographer shouted. "Come on!" Squall looked back at Seifer.

"Look's like I'd better be taking my leave," Seifer said, sadly.

"You won't stay for the reception?" Squall asked, hopefully.

"No," Seifer said, shaking his head, "there's just too much bad blood. The ceremony was enough for me. It was good seeing you again, man." He started back towards the van, where the Esthar soldier was waiting for him, but not before shaking Squall's hand.

"See you soon, Seif," Squall shouted after his receding friend.

"Sure!" Seifer shouted, stepping into the back of the prison truck. Squall waved as it trundled off down the road.

"SQUALL!" Irvine yelled from behind him. "What's keeping you?" Squall turned, and headed back towards his friends, and his new wife.

Later, at the reception, it was Squall's turn to make his speech. Zell had made his, which was typically humorous, and General Caraway had made a speech, asking whether Squall was aware of what he was letting himself in for, which also generated a few laughs. Now, it was Squall's turn to speak.

"Thank you, everybody," he said, calming the ripple of applause which had swept through the small, yet packed, hall. "I'd like to thank everyone for coming, and Zell and General Caraway for their... well... speeches." A small ripple of laughter swept the room. "Seriously, though, I'd like to talk about one person who has made these past seven months into the best seven months of my life. My darling wife, Rinoa. Angel," he said, turning to face his bride, "I'm not sure whether or not you're aware the impact you had on my life. When I first met you, you were like a breath of fresh air in what was becoming a stale existence. Everything you did intrigued me, to the point where all I could think about was you. Then, you got hurt, and I didn't know what to do. It was then that, with my typical timing, my true feelings for you became clear for the first time. You are far more than part of my existence- you are my existence. I consider it an honour and a privilege to spend the rest of my life with you, Mrs. Leonheart." Squall reached down, and helped Rinoa up, and for what was nearly the millionth time, they kissed each other. This time, however, they both knew that their life was unalterably changed for the better.

Later, after the dances had started, Quistis was feeling slightly lonely. She'd seen Squall marry Rinoa, and soon Irvine and Selphie would be tying the knot. She looked down at her bridesmaid's dress. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, she thought to herself. Just then, Zell came up to her. He stood there, scratching his head.

"Wanna dance?" He blurted out. Quistis looked up at him, unsure whether she heard right.

"Yeah, you know," Zell started, "I was reading this book Rinoa gave me about proper wedding behaviour, and the best man's always supposed to dance with the bridesmaid." Quistis smiled.

"I'd love to," she said, standing up.

"Awesome!" Zell said, enthusiastically. He led her onto the dance floor, and they danced with each other for the rest of the evening, smiling...

Meanwhile, Irvine was dancing with Selphie. They'd been engaged for three months, and hadn't regretted rushing into it. Irvine looked down at his fiancée, who was looking as beautiful as ever in her bridesmaid's dress, which just seemed to fit her like a glove. All his life, he'd been chasing woman after woman, never going with the same one twice, but deep down, all he wanted was one woman to be with him forever. He just hadn't realised it until now.

"Sefie?" he asked, causing his fiancée to look up at him.

"Yes, Irvy?" Selphie asked back.

"Have I ever told you how much I love you?" Selphie nodded.

"Yeah," she said, "but you can say it again as many times as you want!" Irvine smiled.

"I love you with all my heart, Selphie Tilmitt." They shared a brief kiss, before they resumed dancing. Selphie leaned her head into Irvine's chest and smiled. She was looking forward to her life with the man she adored...

Whilst Irvine and Selphie were declaring their love for each other, the more mature members of the congregation, namely Cid, Edea, Laguna, Ward, Kiros and Ellone, were sitting, watching the young adults.

"This is a wonderful day," Edea said, unable to properly convey her emotions over seeing the children she helped raise finally grow up and become adults. Laguna, sitting next to her, smiled.

"It sure is." He'd gained a son, and now, a daughter-in-law. "I can't wait for the grandkids to start rolling in!" Everyone chuckled- Laguna had a way of lightening almost any situation. Cid and Edea took the opportunity to take to the dance floor themselves, which prompted Ellone to stand up, and walk over to Laguna.

"Would you like to dance, Uncle Laguna?" Laguna smiled, and stood up.

"I'd love to." Before he could go any further, however, his leg was hit by cramp, and he stopped, and sat back down. "Ow, ow ow ow ow ow," he complained. Ellone did not look impressed.

"Well I never!" She said, incredulous at her adopted father's bad timing.

"Sorry," Laguna said, "just give me a couple of minutes." However, Ellone had had other plans, and within moments, had whisked Ward out on to the dance floor. As it turned out, Ward was one hell of a dancer, and Laguna and Kiros exchanged baffled looks, as they saw their usually taciturn friend have a good time on the dance floor.

In the shadows, General Caraway was sitting, observing the daughter he'd only just regained. She's now a young woman, he thought to himself. He found the thought of her being married at the tender age of 18 almost impossible to accept, but ever since they'd made the effort to talk to each other again, he'd started understanding her more. He came to understand that he couldn't wrap her in cotton wool, or expect her to obey his every command. She had found true love with Squall, the Garden commander, and while it was hard for him to accept, he understood that he must accept it nonetheless. After all, he thought, better to have a married daughter than no daughter at all… This way, he was even the father-in-law of one of the most powerful military men in the world- it may prove to be to his advantage...

Squall and Rinoa stood together on the balcony outside the reception room, overlooking Winhill's town square. It was a clear night, and the stars were out. They exchanged no words on the balcony, only feelings, for words were not necessary. As Squall looked into his love's eyes and they moved their heads together to kiss each other, Squall thought to himself one thing-

Every day's just going to get better and better. As they kissed, fireworks went off in the town square, bathing the couple in light, and putting the finishing touches on the scene. A beautiful day, with a beautiful woman, Squall thought to himself as he kissed his wife again...

THE END.

Note- Squaresoft owns copyright on all the characters, even the ones I made up. Hope you liked it, if you want a sequel I may be amenable to the idea. Drop me a line at and I'll see what I can do.

Neb