A/N- Okay, not much to say here.  This wouldn't leave me alone.  It's odd, but I like it.  And keep in mind…the whole pregnancy thing is only half the story…

If you're wondering why Squall and Rinoa are speaking French, please do check out my "Theory on nationalities in Final Fantasy VIII" which can be found at:  blackmourdragon[dot]tripod[dot]com[slash]ff8nation[dot]html

Que les Choses Ont Chang

Part One-La Nuit

"The moonlight plays upon your skin, a kiss that lingers takes me in."

-Darren Hayes

            The silver glow of the full moon reflected in her ebony eyes as she watched him slowly explore the lines of her body.  She giggled when he tickled her belly button with his tongue, burying her hand in his silky brown hair.

            "Then what?" she asked.

            "Then," he said between kisses to her abdomen, "I told him that if he had a problem with the grade he'd gotten, he'd have to take it up with his instructor, or at least the Headmaster.  I have absolutely no power when it comes to the academics, only when it comes to military tactic.  Honestly, I wish everyone would remember that."

            She giggled again.  "I guess he felt that, as someone who was a student not too long ago, you might sympathize."

            "Whatever," he muttered.  "I always got good grades."

            She made to reply, but he interrupted her.  "Rinoa," he said, looking up at her.  "I do not want to talk about work anymore."

            Feigning innocence, she asked, with wide eyes, "Well then, Commander, what do you want to talk about?"

            He smirked, moving up her body to meet her lips with his.  "Quelque chose qui n'implique pas parler."

            "Ah oui," she replied, lifting to return the kiss.  "Good idea."

            They kissed lightly at first before they found in themselves the desire for something deeper, and when her mouth opened, his followed suit, and they tasted as well as touching.  His hands ran lightly along the sides of her body, hers wrapped around his shoulders and held him close.  When he broke the contact of their mouths to instead kiss his way down her body, she held him no less tightly, and she gasped softly when his lips found her breasts.

            There were times when it was drawn out, when everything moved slowly, and they wound their way around the inevitable, enjoying the journey as much as the destination, but tonight was not one of those nights.  Tonight they wished only to be together, and as they joined, she saw his gentle affection in the soft steel blue of his eyes, mixed in somehow with the passion to create a glorious picture.

            They moved together in the ancient rhythm, in the rhythm they had known to some extent all their lives, but had perfected together.  He held her tightly, and told her how much he loved her, how much he needed her, how much she meant to him.  She found herself incapable of speech, and hoped that he could see it in her eyes, and feel it in how she clung to him.

            When it was over, he found he no longer had the strength to hold himself up, and he collapsed atop her, wondefully exhausted, listening to the wonderful, soothing beat of her heart.

            "Are you all right?" he asked.  "Can you breathe?"

            "No, I can't," she gasped, still shaken.  "But don't you dare move.  I couldn't be more perfect."

            Eventually, they parted, but remained together, pressed tightly against each other.  She lay her head on his shoulder, and they talked, this time he was the one asking about her day.  They talked until her eyes began to close and her speech slurred.

            "I love you, Squall," she said, slipping an arm across his body.  "Bonne nuit, mon âme."

            "Bons rêves, mon ange," he whispered back, drifting off with her.

            Squall woke the next morning just after dawn, as was his habit, and blinked into the darkness.  His brain came slowly into focus, and he tried to remember…what day was it?

            He sighed.  "Sunday," he whispered in relief, and burying his nose in Rinoa's hair, he went back to sleep…

            Only to be awakened an hour later by Rinoa's hasty retreat from the bed.  Blinking foggily, he sat up in time to see her disappear into the bathroom, and sounds of retching soon followed.  Grimly, he got up to follow her, kneeling next to her, rubbing her back and holding her hair out of the way.

            "It's not like I even have anything in me to throw up," she whimpered when she was finished, leaning back against him and panting just a little.

            "Rinoa, this is the fifth time this week you've been sick.  Are you showing any other symptoms?"

            She shook her head weakly.  "No…I get sick in the morning.  A couple hours later I'm starving.  I feel fine all day, until the next morning again.  I don't know…maybe it's something in the cafeteria?  I never was quite sure about those hotdogs…"

            Squall shook his head, absently stroking up and down one of her arms.  "That doesn't make sense.  Food poisoning lasts at least a day, not just a couple of hours, and I haven't heard about anyone else getting sick…"

            Rinoa sighed.  "And I didn't eat in the cafeteria at all yesterday…"

            Squall blinked as something terrible occurred to him.  "Rinoa…" he said carefully, "You know what this looks like, don't you?  Sick in the morning, then ravenous afterwords?  It looks like…but that can't be right, I mean, you're on birth control, right?"

            Rinoa was silent for a long moment, then, "Squall, I didn't tell you this, because, like you, I couldn't believe it might be, but…well, I'm late…I haven't gotten my period.  It should have come by now."  She looked up at him.  "But…I don't know how it could have happened!  Squall, I swear to you I haven't stopped taking precautions!"

            "Ah, quel foutoir," he said, running a hand down his face.  "Unfortunately, nothing is one hundred percent."  He shook his head in disbelief.  "I just didn't think we'd be the .01 percent that it doesn't work for."

            Rinoa turned to look at him, her brow furrowed.  "Well, we don't know for sure, right?  I mean, I could just have a virus, and I'm not always regular, and…Well, look, we'll find out for sure.  We'll drive to Balamb and we'll pick up a test, okay?  Or…goodness, surely Dr. Kadowaki has something, right?  We'll find out for sure by this afternoon."

            That may have been true in the past, Squall thought to himself grimly, but even I know enough to know that the medication regulates the menstrual cycle.  If she's missed it…either she's pregnant—he almost flinched as the word finally appeared, though only in his thoughts—or something else is seriously wrong.  It was then that he noticed Rinoa, watching him, waiting for an answer and looking more and more upset because, he knew, she could always tell the direction of his thoughts from his expression.  Determined to at least keep her calm, he was about to reply when they were interrupted by a knock on their door.  Squall moved to answer it, grabbing a pair of boxers and putting them on before opening it.  If it was someone they didn't know, hopefully the sight of the Commander in almost nothing would be enough to scare them away.  If not…well, no one in The Gang would care, though Irvine would probably tease him, and Selphie would make some kind of comment…

            He paused, his hand on the knob.  When had he, like Seifer, acquired a posse?

            Opening the door revealed the best possible situation for his modesty, though perhaps the worst for his sanity.

            "Guten morgen, Squall!" Zell greeted him cheerfully.  "Are you ready?  Well, actually, I can see you're not, but, are you almost ready?  Should I come back?"

            Squall blinked at him.  "Ready?" he asked blankly.

            Zell rolled his eyes.  "Yah!  You and I were gonna train together today!  Remember?  I was telling you how I was feeling a little rusty, and you said you'd come to the training center with me this morning?"  He grinned, pounding the Ehrgeiz togther happily.  "So are you almost ready?  Oh hey Rinoa!"  He waved, and Squall turned to see Rinoa emerge from the bedroom, securely wrapped in a bathrobe.

            She smiled.  "Guten morgen, Zell.  Well, Squall?  Are you going to get dressed, or are you going to the training center like that?"

            This time he blinked at her.  "Um…" he said, "Just…give me a minute.  Here, Zell, make yourself at home."  He shut the door as Zell got comfortable on their couch, flipping on the television, and gently pushed Rinoa back towards the bedroom.

            Once they were safely inside, he turned to her.  "Are you sure you're all right with me doing this?  I can tell him we have to go another day.  Are you sure you don't want me with you?"

            She shook her head, waving her hand as if to send him off.  "You know how Zell is.  He'll think you hate him, or he did something wrong and you're angry.  He always thinks everything is his fault."

            Squall had to concede that she was right, but still…

            "I don't want you to be alone though…if it is true, then…"

            She shook her head again.  "Don't worry, I'll get Quistis or Selphie to come sit with me."

            As uncomfortable as Squall was with the thought of anyone, even one of his closest friends, knowing about this ordeal, he supposed, in this instance, he could hardly deny her female companionship.  So all he said was, "Quistis.  Selphie will tell Irvine and Irvine just can't keep a secret.  Whatever happens, I'd rather spread the information on our own terms."

            Rinoa nodded, giggling, and he was relieved to see her smile again.  "It's true," she agreed.  "All right, Quistis it is.  Now go.  Zell's probably getting really impatient."

            Three hours later Quistis was watching Rinoa fidget while they waited the ten minutes for the results of the test they had obtained from the infirmary.

            "Rinoa, sit down!" Quistis implored her.  "This isn't going to help anything.  You'll just wear yourself out.  You're wearing me out!"

            Rinoa did as she asked, sitting across from her.  "I know, I know!"  She fell silent for a moment, leaning forward, bouncing her knees up and down.  "You know," she said, a bit hesitantly.  "I'm really glad you came to sit with me."

            Quistis smiled.  "Come on.  By now you're like my sister.  I wouldn't leave you alone with something like this."

            Rinoa sighed.  "You know what else?" she asked, leaning in very close.  "I…well, I kind of hope it's…true.  I mean…I hope the test is positive.  I know…I know it's not the best time, I mean…we're so young and everything, but…but, Quistis, it seems like we've been together forever, like we've known each other forever, as…stupid and cheesy as that sounds, and…I want to have children with him, but I'm not sure he'd ever agree to it right out, you know?  I can just hear him saying 'I wouldn't be a good father,' and that would be that.  But…I think he would be.  I think he'd be wonderful, and…Oh, Quistis, is that bad?"

            Quistis moved to sit next to the younger girl, pulling her into a light embrace.  "No, I don't think it's wrong.  I think it makes sense.  Having children is one way to solidify a relationship.  And…a lot of people see it as that…love continuing on, even after they die.  If children are made with love, then even after you're gone, that's still there.  If I know you, that's exactly what you're thinking, isn't it, Rinoa?"

            Rinoa smiled ruefully.  "No 'if' there, Instructor.  You know me better than I know myself.  You're right.  That's—"

            She was cut off by the alarm on her watch.  She looked up at Quistis, then back down to her watch, as if trying to confirm that the time really had passed.  "Okay," she said.  "Ten minutes."  Taking a deep breath, she stood up and made her way to the bathroom, with Quistis on her heels.  Rinoa picked up the test and looked at it.  Quistis waited behind her.  She saw Rinoa take a shaky breath, put her hand to her chest, and then smile so big it seemed like her face would split.

            Quistis knew before the other girl ever said anything.

            "Two blue lines," Rinoa whispered.  "I'm pregnant."

            He was not fighting well.  Even Zell had noticed, and commented, but Squall had refused to tell him anything.  Poor Zell was used to that, and hadn't put up much of a fight.  It's not my fault, either, he thought defensively.  I should have never listened to Rinoa and come here.  She should have known I'd pay no attention to Zell or anything we were fighting.  I should have known I'd just end up irritable and impatient.

As they made their way through the training center Squall found himself grateful that they had yet to run into one of the T-Rexaurs that hid out in the foliage of the training center.

            And now, as they faced yet another Grat, Squall began to wonder what the hell he was doing here.  This is ridiculous, I should be at home with Rinoa, not here fighting some stupid…

            He blinked as the Grat suddenly froze.  A thick sheet of ice formed from the ground up, incasing the creature, and then huge jagged spears exploded out around it.  The ice shattered, falling to the ground in tiny sparkling diamonds, and the Grat collapsed forward, twitching once or twice, then laying still among them.

            Squall looked at it, then at Zell, surprised.  He'd almost never seen Zell use magic before…

            But Zell was looking just as confused as Squall.  He turned to look behind him and saw Rinoa standing there, with Quistis beside her.  She was grinning up at him, looking like the little girl she was when he first met her.  And there was something so sweet about that thought that he actually found himself returning the smile.

            "Hey Squall, can I talk to you?" she asked.  "Sorry to interrupt, Zell."

            Zell waved one gloved had in dismissal.  "Nah, it's okay.  I was gettin' bored anyway.  And Squall is no fun, but of course he won't tell me what's going on.  I think I'm gonna get to the cafeteria early and see if I can't get some hotdogs before they're all gone.  I'll see you later, okay?"  And he turned to go, leaving Squall with little choice either way, it seemed.

            As he passed Rinoa, he put one arm around her, giving her a mammoth squeeze, and whispered, "Whatever it is, don't be nervous.  You know he'll never stop loving you."  Rinoa blinked, shocked at how aware Zell was of the situation, and then slightly ashamed for being shocked.  If any of their friends knew them well, it was him.  She smiled up at him.

            "Thanks," she whispered back, and he smiled, leaving her behind with Squall.

Quistis turned to follow him, waving as she went.

            Rinoa moved to sit on a low, smooth boulder, bringing up her legs and folding them in front of her.  She patted the space beside her, and Squall accepted the offer, sheathing the Lion Heart and sitting down.

            "…Well?" he asked, trying not to appear too anxious.

            She answered his question with another question.  "Squall, can I ask you something?"

            "Um…yeah, I guess so.  What's up?"

            She turned to him, looking worried suddenly.  "Do you…do you want to have children with me?"

            He knew his question had been answered right there.  So it was true.  But how did she feel about it?  That was the real question.  She…had seemed quite happy when she'd first come, but…now…maybe it had been an act for Zell?  He supposed she could just have it ended, but something about that thought made his heart ache just a little.

            He blinked.  Rinoa was still watching him, waiting for an answer.  "I do…" he began carefully, trying to think how to answer her honestly without making her feel she was being forced into anything.  "I would like to have children with you someday, Rinoa…"  His doubts came screaming to the surface, and he looked away from her.  "But, look at me, I wouldn't be any kind of father.  I'm barely any kind of boyfriend.  Rinoa," he met her eyes again.  "It was positive, wasn't it?"  She hesitated, but nodded.  "Rinoa, you don't have to keep it, if you want to end it, I'll understand.  It would probably be best, anyway.  You're only nineteen, and…Oh God, Rinoa, I'll never touch you again, I swear it.  I'm so sorry this happened.  Christ, it's all my fault…"

            She silenced him with a hand to his mouth.  "Squall…" she began.  "I…you wanna know something?  When I found out it was positive, I was…I was really happy.  I want so much to have your children, and…even though it's a surprise, I really want to keep it, if that's okay with you, Squall?"

            "I…we're not married, Rinoa," he pointed out.

            She shrugged.  "So what?  That's not what's important.  Our friends won't think any less of us, and what really matters is that this baby be raised by parents who love it, and each other.  Marriage doesn't guarantee that, you know."  She looked at him pleadingly.  "Come on, Squall, please?  I think you'll be a wonderful father.  Will you raise this baby with me?"

            Something about her tone sounded almost like she was asking to keep the puppy that had followed her home, but…he knew how deeply she felt, knew how deeply she loved, and could guess she already loved the idea of this baby, even if it had yet to make itself known in any form other than a positive pregnancy test.

            And intense nausea in the mornings…

            He sighed.  It was going to be a long nine months.

            I won't ever abandon her, but…I don't know how to feel about this…I'm not ready for it, and frankly, neither is she.  I wish…I don't know…I don't wish she would agree to terminate it…not really, but…I wish…it hadn't happened.  I just…

            "Squall?" her voice interrupted his thoughts, and his eyes snapped to her face.  She sounded…terrified…he hadn't heard her sound like that since Ellone had sent him back to the moment that Ultimecia first possessed her.  He remembered that she had called for him in her mind, and to this day he hated that he had been unable to answer her plea for help.  Looking at her now, he felt almost as helpless as he had then, watching the events like a mere spectator.  She wanted him to rescue her, to absolve her, almost, of something that wasn't even really her fault, and he didn't know how.  "Squall, I'm sorry," she continued, looking slightly frantic.  "I shouldn't have…asked you to…I'm sorry…I'll do whatever you think is best…Squall please say something!"

            He suddenly felt very guilty.  She was frightened.  She'd been frightened the entire time.  He knew her happiness had not been a lie, exactly, but she had been using it to mask her fear that he might do something drastic because of this.  "Rinoa," he finally managed, though his voice sounded weak in his ears.  "Rinoa, I love you."  Here in the training center, with no one around to hear him but the plants, the grats, and the odd giant lizard, he felt free to say it to her.  "I love you more than anything.  You know that.  And…I won't ever leave you alone, especially not with something like this.  I can't…quite bring myself to be happy about it.  Not yet.  It's still too new and…" he took a deep breath, preparing to be painfully honest… "frightening.  But I can promise you that I will try.  I will do my best."

            A sob escaped her explosively, as if she had been holding it back for his answer, and she buried her face in his shoulder.  "It's enough," she whispered, "thank you," and he put his arms around her, squeezing her gently to him.  A moment passed, and then her voice filtered up to him again, still thick with tears.  "But Squall, you had better have been joking about never touching me again, because I'll hurt you if you were serious."

            He laughed.  He couldn't help it.

Translations:

"Quelque chose qui n'implique pas parler."—Something that doesn't involve talking.

"Ah oui"—Oh yes

"Bonne nuit, mon âme."—Goodnight, my soul.

"Bon rêves, mon ange."—Sweet dreams, angel.

"Ah, quel foutoir."—Oh, what a mess.

"Guten Morgen"—(German) Good Morning.