Yippee disclaimer time! I don't own any o the characters here (DAMN IT) unless you don't recognize them. Squaresoft does. Damn you Square! Hiss!





The train stopped silently, the sound of a bell ringing the only clue that she had reached her destination. The sound startled her out of her lazy haze as she gazed at the documents Cid had given to her. Memory loss? Must have taken a whole mess of Curaga spells to cure his injuries. But she couldn't help but feel a ping of sorrow for him. The time when Edea took over his mind, praying on the weak little boy he hid inside his shell scared her more then she would admit. She wanted to make them understand, that what he wanted was to run and save them from whatever problem they would have encountered, not to try and sabotage their mission as they all came to that conclusion. In Seifer's own twisted way, inside, he just wanted to help. She sighed and waited for the bus to completely stop. Lifting her weary body from the seat she stepped off the train and sat down on the lift to the Presidential Palace.

The city was still a beautiful sight on tired eyes. The glass highways and shimmering almost ethereal buildings, all of it, was still enough to take the breath from her lungs. The technology in this place was wonderful, and Quistis found herself wondering if someway, some how, it would extend all of the world? Then again that might not be so pleasant. The ride was short, and she stepped off the lift. Walking toward the Esthar guards, they immediately stepped in front of her.

"Halt. You cannot pass with out permission."

"I have a pass."

"Show it."

She reached into her pocket. "Here."

Studying it, the guard nodded. "Please proceed."

Raising an arched eyebrow, she nodded and stepped inside. Outside the guards conversed with one another.

"Did you see her? Whoo! Whatta looker!"

"I agree. I wonder what she wants with the president?"

"You don't think Sir Laguna would...?"

"Would what?"

The other guard nudged him playfully. "Hey it's been almost twenty years since that Raine woman died. Maybe he's trying to see if the ol' pecker's up an' at 'um?"

This brought a snicker from both guards. Assuming their positions they continued their watch.

Inside the office, the ground beneath Quistis' feet lighted up with each step she took. This place is amazing, she thought. Laguna was thumbing through a Weapons Monthly magazine with his feet propped up on his desk. Ward was next to him, peering over his shoulder before lifting one eye and catching the woman in the room. tapping Laguna on the shoulder he motioned towards her, and returned to his standing position next to Kiros. Laguna placed the magazine on his desk and walked around to greet Quistis. Extending a hand and a goofy smile, he broke her out of her trance.

"Miss Trepe! Welcome welcome. Make yourself comfortable."

With a nod, Quistis sat in a chair Ward brought in. "President Loire, it was brought to my atten-"

Laguna waved a hand during her speech. "Please, please don't call me President Loire, Mr. Loire, or anything of the sort. Just Laguna okay? I thought I told you kids to call me that the last time I saw you."

Quistis nodded. "I'm sorry Pre- Laguna."

The older gentleman nodded and sat down, motioning or Ward and Kiros to sit down as well. "Sit down you two! Sheesh, rude aren't they?" He flashed her a goofy grin that made her lips curve upwards. She pulled out her glasses from her pocket and placed them on her nose. "Laguna, I you don't mind? I'd like to get to the problem here."

Laguna snorted. "Well I don't think you'll have a problem Miss Trepe. The boy is completely amnesic. He only made one assumption as to what he knows by muttering Instructor in his sleep. I sorta figured it out there."

Ward looked at Kiros and Kiros snickered. Laguna and Quistis both looked up at the two. Kiros cleared his throat. "Ward says that Laguna first thought it was a strange type of humanoid fish."

Laguna blushed. "Well geez, sorry guys but I had quite a bit on my mind y'know?! Anyways, Miss Trepe, He's in stable condition, but we've stripped him bare and kept him warm and he's almost healed. The fractures in his arm are still sore, and the bad one, in the leg, has been operated on and is knitting very nicely. Aside from all that, though, his memory banks have been robbed. He's completely empty up here." Laguna tapped his temple.

Quistis nodded. "How bad where the fractures?"

Kiros stepped forward. "I'll explain them. They weren't too bad, in the arm. Ward found him on the beach while going out for a jog. The broken bones in the arm were alright, easily fixed with a few curaga spells, but the leg had to be operated on. Apparently the salt water eroded part of the bone structure and caused the sodium intake in his blood to rise to a degree of high blood pressure. It can be controlled with a few doses of the medication we'll give to you once you leave, and after the bottle is finished it should be back to normal. The leg was damaged pretty badly, and will definetly leave a worse scar once it is completely healed, although it would be smart to walk on a cane for a few months."

Quistis nodded solemnly. "Seifer would never go with that."

Laguna said in a deep voice. "He may not have before, but he's changed, Miss Trepe. Like I said before, his mind is gone."

"Memories Laguna."

"Right. Like Kiros said, his mind is gone."

A groan escaped from Kiros and ward smiled behind his beard. Standing up Quistis straightened her skirts and placed her glasses back in her pocket. "Well, if you don't mind, I would like to see him now."

Laguna stood up as well, and motioned towards Kiros. "He'll take you to him. And come to me if you need anything! I'll inform the guards at the front to let you in freely."

"Thank you, Laguna."

The older gentleman smiled sheepishly and scratched the back of his head. Leaning down on his desk he scribbled a note on a piece of paper and handed it to Ward. Uhh guys? Can you go outside for a few? I gotta ask Miss Trepe a few more questions before she departs. So please give this note to the guards out front? Thanks guys."

Handing them the piece of paper, the two gentlemen stepped out leaving Quistis and Laguna alone. He shifted uneasily at first, and Quistis thought he would soon go into a panic attack ad start clutching his leg. Laguna leaned backwards on the desk, his eyes never left the floor. He scratched the back o his head again, black strands of hair falling about his face. Just that insignificant sign made him seem young again. He kicked the floor with one sandaled foot and spoke before her.

"So. How's he doing?"

An arched eyebrow went up. "Excuse me sir?"

Laguna traced his steps back behind the desk, and looked out at his beautiful city. He remained like that for a while until he spoke again. "Squall. How's he doing?"

Quistis blinked before answering. "Oh, he's doing well."

Laguna looked back at her. "I mean, personally, how is he? How is he coping? Is he dating anyone?"

He slowed down his questioning after her eyes went wide. "No, Miss Trepe, I don't mean it in a bad way. I seriously don't. I just want to know how the boy is doing. He's what, nineteen now?"

"No, almost though."

Laguna nodded, never turning back to face her. "We never did have the talk I asked him for. He's so much a man now. He is, isn't he?"

Quistis suddenly felt a little uneasy. "Ah, yes Sir, he is. If I may be so blunt, but why are you asking me these questions about Squall?"

Laguna pursed his lips together and sat down in his chair across from her. Crossing his arms in front of his chest he refused to meet her questioning gaze. He looked at anything, everything but her eyes. "You know, Miss Trepe, Raine was a beautiful woman."

Quistis suddenly felt uneasy. Where was this going? "Was she?"

Laguna continued, his eyes misting over a bit. "I don't know why I'm telling you this. But it just needs to be out you know? Raine, God, was she beautiful. So gentle and warm, but with the right bit of, how can I say it? Spunk. Yeah, spunk. She had just the right bit of spunk to keep me tame. She was like that, beautiful and spunky. Perfect combination for me, you think?"

Quistis didn't know what to say. She just merely nodded.

Laguna continued. "I didn't wanna leave her. I never did. But I had to get Ellone back. For her as well as myself. For both our sanity. We would have gone insane if we couldn't see her, feel her, hold her voice inside our heads. Raine asked me to go, and I didn't even hesitate. All that time, I didn't want to, but I didn't even hesitate. In some ways, I feel like a monster for doing that, leaving her. If only I was there, she would still be... alive. She wouldn't have died if I were there."

Quistis sat in her chair, hanging onto every word. Laguna Loire was spilling his heart out to her now, and she wasn't about to interrupt.

"Raine is my heart, my soul. I hadn't felt like that to anyone, except for Julia. but something about Raine pried my thoughts away from Julia. Sure, maybe Julia and I would have been together, but she was a fleeting wind to me, unlike Raine. Like her name, Raine poured on me, softening me with her heart. And that damned spunk! Man I wish I could see her again. I asked for her hand underneath one of those Winhill nights, you seen them before? Those Winhill nights?"

Quistis nodded. She had once before, and would agree that they were the most serene and beautiful night skies in all of the continent. They were calming and sweet, the air was crisp all the time. Those were Winhill nights.

"First, she thought I was joking, haha, that lady. When she realized that I wasn't, she actually had tears in her eyes. She was so happy, and despite what the whole town said and whispered about, I knew that her and I were meant to be. Sure, they blamed me for her death, and sometimes, I blame myself. Damn, if only I had been there for her..!"

He slammed his fist into the desk, frustration building up. Quistis jerked out of her haze but still said nothing.

"Raine drowned, while I was away, searching for Ellone. I wouldn't have gone if I knew...knew she was pregnant. Raine was carrying our child while I was gone. She carried that baby to full term. Gave birth to that boy, crying my name. When I found out I had never felt so low in my life. I should have held her hand when all this was happening. When she drowned, trying to save another child from the waves, the boy was sent to an orphanage. I didn't find out she was pregnant, or...or dead until I went back to Winhill with Ellone. They shunned me, Winhill did, or most of them did. But they all secretly believed I was responsible for Raine dying, that if I didn't show up she would still be alive. I believe it too. But every time I think about it, if I could trade the beautiful time Raine and I had for never meeting her at all, would I? I think it over and over, and the answer's still the same. Never."

He stood up now, looking much like the legend the Shumi straddled him to be. He again stared everywhere but Quistis' eyes. Drifting back to the window of his city, he continued on.

"You know where I'm getting at, right Miss Trepe?

Quistis slowly shook her head. Laguna took a deep breath before continuing.

"Raine's last name was given to our son before he was sent off. His birth name. I wanted to look for him, I did, but the boy was well near five years old by that time, and I figured he was adopted, with good parents, a daddy to be there for him, not an old moron like myself. He needed a stable environment, he did, to ensure his upbringing was better then anything I could give him. I never knew him. I regret that decision now. I just wanted to know him, see him, pray he was alright and alive. I never imagined meeting him again.. but my prayers were answered when you SeeDs came that time. I saw my son."

She shifted uneasily in her seat. This could not be happening. Laguna breathed a deep breath once more before continuing on. This time, he did meet her eyes, and looked at her with a melancholy smile. Taking in a breath, he finally asked her the question.

"Raine gave him her last name. Raine's last name was Leonhart. I need to know Miss Trepe. What is Squall's last name?"

Quistis blubbered out her answer, her face becoming ashen. "L-L-Leonh-h-hart. Leonhart."

Laguna let go of the air that he kept in his lungs. His head hung low, again staring at the floor. "God, he's beautiful. Just like his mother. He's grown up into the man his father never was."

Quistis was about to speak again before Ward and Kiros knocked on the door, and stepped inside. "Laguna, why are you keeping Miss Trepe for so long? She has to be in a hurry."

Ward made a motion with his head and looked at Kiros. "Ward says that maybe you got into talking about yourself again."

Quistis stood up and gathered her things. "Let's go. I'm ready."

Nodding, Kiros and Ward escorted the young woman towards the infirmary, leaving behind a shattered Laguna. It was a huge relief to finally get that of his shoulders, but also a huge pain to relive the fact he had abandoned not one, but two parts of his heart. His son grew up with out him, his assumptions that the boy would get a family he deserved where fucked. He was raised to be a soldier, not the life he wanted for him. he shook those thoughts out of his head, but they just kept returning, invading his mind. How was he going to tell him? Was he even going to make an attempt to? Talking about Raine opened a new scar in his heart. He felt the pain again, but he had to know.

He HAD to know. Didn't he?!

Laguna stood up and looked at his city, it's sparkling lights reflecting on his handsome features as two new tears formed in his eyes. They dropped down from his cheeks, catching every glint of light with them, like falling diamonds out of a pale and dark sky.