Disclaimer- I do not, in any way, own Final Fantasy 8 or any of its affiliates.
Apostrophes on both sides of sentence of paragraph in normal font are thoughts. –Ex. 'The document manager doesn't recognize stars.'
Flashbacks are words in italics with little hyphen things. Ex: --The document manager didn't always suck.--
Author's Note- This was inspired by a song by Jessica Simpson. The real inspiring part of the song is below. This takes place after the game. I'm not sure if it really counts as AU but it wasn't meant to be. It just took a mind of its own. There's a lot of Squinoa-ish content from the game and stuff that I made up so…to those Squinoa haters…be warned!
Also, it would be best if the reader… (YOU)…have played the game, or at least most of it when you read this. I'll try to describe the settings and surroundings as much as I can though. It just occurred to me that my fics are a little unclear to those who haven't played the game… so this is just a precaution. Read on!
"Be great in act, as you have been in thought."
The darkness swallowed her whole; not even a flicker of light was visible to her eyes. The cold dampness of wherever she was settled on her like a blanket. Before, when she was a child, she thought that blankets kept her safe when she was asleep. So she wasn't exposed to anyone…anything. Especially those monsters under her bed. The monsters who took her mother away from her. But this felt different. It frightened her more than helped her. She lifted her hand up so it was in front of her face. Or at least she swore that her hand was there. But there was just an endless trail of nothing.
She called out tentatively…at least she thought she had. She could feel something echo out from her throat but sound was gone. So Rinoa Heartilly began to walk.
He sat against the wall, ignoring the trail of empty seats beside him and stared down at his arms. Or, at least the person sleeping soundly in them. He had a strange delight in hearing her steady breathing and seeing the soft rise and fall of her chest. Almost as much as he did watching her beautiful face shift lightly from one expression to another in her dreams.
He ignored the other passengers and kept his deep evergreen eyes trained on her. His eyes flickered up at the wide, almost grimy window across from him at the cloudy, dark sky. He had fallen for her...and she was his angel. Only his, nobody else's. So Seifer Almasy looked down at the angel clad in blue again.
"Where is she?"
"Look…I don't know…she just disappeared!"
"You were supposed to just watch her door until I came back!"
"Shut up!" Squall Leonhart took a deep calming breath. "What exactly did you see?" The Balamb SeeD looked up at the ceiling, recalling everything he had seen.
"I came back here after the intruder alarm had been disarmed and I saw a large shadow run out of the room, Rinoa in his arms. He seemed really suspicious of everything. Looking around everywhere like the walls were going to attack him."
"How do you know it was a he?"
"With no due respect Commander but I've checked out women all my life…some are pretty fine-" Squall rolled his eyes.
"Get to the point!"
"Uh right…okay…this guy…he had the slicked back hair that no girl would even touch…let alone style their hair that way. He had broad shoulders and I even saw a flicker of white. I think it might have been a coat. A long coat…like one that Irvine wears," he reported, his hands making large gestures.
"What color was his hair?"
"Answer the damn question!" he snapped. For a moment, he thought Squall might have jumped him if he had the chance.
"Blond, sir. Definitely blond!" he announced. "Commander, sir…not a soul had gone near that room except me, and I found this," he added, holding out a blue slip of paper. Squall snatched it from the SeeD's hands and dismissed him quickly. His piercing blue eyes scanned it, his heart beating painfully. All feeling left him for a moment as he seemed to drown in his own self-loathing.
"He has her…dammit," the Commander whispered to himself, the note fluttering down to the floor as he ran down the halls of Balamb Garden.
Seifer brushed the dark black hair away from her forehead again, as he had many times that summer they had together. 'Until he came!' The gunblade wielder shook his head, banishing the thoughts away. He wouldn't think of him. Seifer's thumb brushed against her soft cheek. Her face was flushed from the struggle she had put up. 'She didn't have to get hurt. I was doing it for her she just didn't understand. But she'll thank me later.'
"Thank you for traveling the OverSea Train service. Have a nice day!" a mechanical voice said in false delight. Seifer stood up, cradling Rinoa in his arms. He stepped off the flying train and paused.
"Don't worry my angel…we're almost there. Edea's expecting us."
At last, soft flickers of light appeared all around her, all of different colors. Blue, red, purple, any and all colors possible. They looked like small fireflies but they moved slowly. One flew right in front of her eyes. They were more like marbles with soft milky swirls in them that shined even brighter. But this dark world was still dim.
Smiling lightly, she lifted a small, slim hand to touch one. It floated right above her palm, but didn't get any closer. This blue light took away the danger the darkness had wrapped around her, if only for a moment. And it just took one second for her to close her palm, dimming the light. She opened her hand again and there rested a feather. A pure white feather. It seemed to illuminate her surroundings just a little.
Rinoa's soft brown eyes closed quickly, so used to darkness and surprised at the bright light that they needed adjusting. Slowly, they opened again and she stroked the feather delicately. It reminded her of someone…something, but she just couldn't put her finger on it. A soft gasp escaped her throat as dark red eyes appeared from the darkness. It growled at her. The feather fell out of her hand, gently swinging back and forth to the ground. Slowly, it stalked out of hiding, its body illuminated slightly by the light.
"What are you?" she whimpered, feeling a kind of fear she hadn't felt since finding Squall in the desert after their battle with Ultimecia. 'Who's Squall? Who's Ultimecia?'
You don't recognize me.
Rinoa laughed bitterly. "Of course I don't. If I did, I wouldn't have asked. Now I'm asking you again…who the hell are you?" she demanded, all traces of her fear subsiding. She felt an odd bravery that this 'Squall' in her subconscious had called 'fools courage'. The dog's eyes dimmed and a bright, sharp light appeared right on top of it. Almost like a spotlight. The canine had brown and white fur; it's tail was long and fluffy. It wagged happily as if it had a mind of its own.
Do you recognize me now master?
"Angelo? But aren't you-" The dog barked suddenly, in response to her half-asked question. She started to walk towards her best friend.
Yes…for a moment I thought the dreamers had taken you.
Her step faltered. "The dreamers…"
You recognize the name. Don't you?
"Yes…" she breathed, memories flooding into her mind. "My father—Caraway…a-and my mother…they used to tell me about them."
They take dreams of all living things and turn them into a suspended reality, their real life forgotten. Those people never wake.
"I remember…they trap you in nightmares so you may never wake up…but why…"
Why are you here? You're here because Fate has brought you here.
"But Angelo, I don't understand anything! I don't know why I'm here, how you're talking or alive, and who Squall is?" she cried, suddenly falling down to her knees. The fear and frustration she hid came spilling out. She had fallen painfully and bruises should have been on her knees…but she didn't have to look to know that there wouldn't be.
Fine…I shall tell you, master…but you must prepare yourself…memories are much harsher in here than outside.
Squall rode in silence, alone in his thoughts. Nida looked back at the Commander periodically, but not for long. He feared that if he did, he would crash the Ragnarok, but the real reason was that he didn't want to anger him more. He had given him strict commands.
The Ragnarok was a ship found in space two years earlier. It was of Estharian technology and naturally was more advanced than any other kind of ship SeeD, or other armies, had for that matter. Its appearance was outwardly intimidating. Red armor coated the outsides of the ship like the scales of a dragon, and two dark, glassy eyes were the windows that the cockpit looked out of. Clawed arms were pressed against its sides and were not used very often.
Squall and Rinoa had found sanctuary in that dragon-like ship and found out that it had been lost in space for 15 years at that time. When the Garden graciously offered for its return to Esthar, the government scoffed confidently. The Ragnarok was supposedly too 'old and unappealing for the People of Esthar.' So Balamb had kept it.
"Squall…why are we going to the Orphanage? Edea's orphanage?" Nida asked in a small voice. But Squall seemed to ignore him, too entranced in his thoughts to hear.
'Why would Seifer take her there? She was supposed to be safe, dammit!' the SeeD closed his eyes. 'I failed her…I was her knight…I was supposed to protect her—wait---you're still her knight…it's nothing…she'll come back…she has to.' He shifted in his seat. 'What if he hurts her? No, he wouldn't... would he? Hyne, he might just do it just to spite me.…it's all my fault…' A burning sensation rose up behind his eyes and traveled down his throat. He had only felt that feeling once before. While he was carrying Rinoa across the railway between Esthar and Fisherman's Horizon. And he didn't like it.
He was supposed to be the Commander and Headmaster of Balamb Garden after Cid had left. He was 'Squall Leonhart, son of Esthar's President Laguna Loire'. He had supposedly 'saved the world' single-handedly. But people always assumed and over exaggerated things. That was part of the reason he had stayed away from people for most of his life. That was, until he met her.
Squall squeezed his eyes together tighter, preventing the tears from falling. To Nida, it seemed as if he had a headache. Sadness welled up in his throat. 'I'm sorry, Rinoa…I'm sorry I couldn't protect you…I'm sorry I couldn't tell you that…I love you.'
:Look at the A/N at the end of the chapter
First you must remember your real life. Your reality.
"I don't know how-" A flash of pain went of in her head, making her double over.
--"Ah…Princess…I found a SeeD that might be able to help us," a man said almost shyly, carefully clutching at his stomach. The train suddenly jumped, rocking slightly. The man widened his eyes fearfully and ran down the small halls of the train, holding his stomach and mouth.
Who are you? Why did he call me princess? '
"Thanks Zone!" She saw herself answer brightly, a wide grin on her lips.
"The name's Seifer Almasy…" The SeeD said almost charmingly, grabbing her hand and lifted up to his lips. He kissed it gently, a tingling feeling traveling up her arm. She felt the warm blush rise up in her cheeks.
'Seifer…I know him…'
"Rinoa Heartilly…Leader of the Forest Owls."
'Rinoa…Heartilly? I thought my last name was Caraway? Forest Owls…Timber…we were in Timber…with Zone and Watts…he was my side kick…they both were, weren't they?'
'Great…now where am I?'
"I need to go back to the Garden, Rinny.." Seifer said blankly, almost expectantly. Immediately she recognized that look on his face.
'What a dumbass…he's expecting me to understand after….after what?'
"Seifer…what do you mean…?" Rinoa asked, a tremble in her voice.
"The school year starts in a week…and I'm going to make it to SeeD!" he boasted valiantly, almost landing a kiss on her.
"Seifer…you can't leave…you can't…we need you…Timber needs you!" She cried. "I love you! No! Not after…not after last night…" He patted her head lightly, like he was comforting a child.
"Rinoa…you can visit me…I'll be at the SeeD Graduation Ball…we can dance and you can talk to Headmaster Cid about the SeeDs…I'll even be assigned to your mission."
"But…" She breathed. But he was gone. And there was emptiness.---
"Wow…great memory…the man I love left me for school," Rinoa said sarcastically, throwing her arms up in the air. Angelo barked.
That was only the beginning…but remember…you didn't really love him…a 16-year-old heart can easily convince herself that she is in love. Remember master…you weren't…but you will be.
---The shooting star flashed across the sky, illuminating the darkness around it. Suddenly, her eyes left the gigantic window ceiling and fell on a man standing against the entrance wall. He was watching her. 'I know him…don't I..?' She smiled lightly, catching his surprisingly intense blue eyes. She pointed upwards, where the shooting star had been. He shyly looked away. His long brown hair fell around his face and just over his eyes. She walked over, determined to get him to dance.
'After all, a guy like that shouldn't just stand against a wall,' Rinoa thought at the time. Finally, she reached him. 'He looks cuter closer up.'
'I thought that?'
"You're the best looking guy here. Dance with me?" His eyes flickered at her face, taking in her appearance. She felt a nervous tingle make its way to her face.
'Great pick up line, Rinoa…you're a real pro.'
Those eyes shifted downwards, looking at the floor beside her. "Let me guess... You'll only dance with someone you like. Okay, then... Look into my eyes..." She went on the edge of her shoes, no small feat with the heels. She began to twirl a finger around in front of him. "You're-going-to-like-me... You're-going-to-like-me... Did it work?" she asked shyly, withdrawing her hand.
'Great job Rinny, you managed to make him dizzy.'
He shifted uncomfortably and looked to the side, as far away from her as possible.
"...I can't dance." He said gently in a deep, almost soothing voice. A wide smile lit up her face.
"You'll be fine. Come on. I'm looking for someone. I can't be on the dance floor alone," Rinoa said, grabbing his hand and pulling him to the polished dance floor. His head jerked back, his expression of complete surprise. He followed her like a defiant child.
Rinoa watched back as she saw herself put his hands in the right places. And they began to dance…awfully. Rinoa winced each time they stumbled or he stepped on her feet. They even collided with another couple.
'Great…you pick someone who doesn't know how to dance…to dance with you…idiot!'
He pulled away from her and brushed by, straight back to the wall he was leaning on, obviously embarrassed and flustered. She ran up and grabbed his hand again, pulling him back. Somehow, she convinced him to come back just as the Waltz for the Moon came on. Then they danced. Better than before…it was perfect.
'I know that…I remember…'
Nearing the conclusion of the song, he spun her into him. She felt warm in his embrace. An odd feeling of security rushed over her. His crystal blue eyes captured her attention. She leaned in just slightly and flashed a slight smile.
'I forgot about that arrogant blond when I danced…and good riddance!'
The major resolution was the burst of fireworks. They both looked up. His eyes on the fireworks against the dark sky, hers on the soft smile on his lips and the contented look on his face.
Rinoa saw herself peer over his shoulder and see a short, balding man in a red vest, not dressed in formal attire as the other people in the ballroom were.
'Is that…Headmaster Cid?'
She pulled herself away from him regretfully but purposefully and walked towards him. She could've sworn he looked back at her…---
'He did look back. He did.'
'So I came for Seifer…but instead I ended up with Squall?'
"That was Squall right? He's the guy I'm in love with," she said breathlessly. Rinoa could still feel his arms around her.
That was him. You do remember him now, don't you? Do you see anything else?
"What'll become of me?" She had asked quietly, looking out onto the field of pink and red roses.
"Don't worry about it. There've been many good sorceresses. Edea was one. You can be like her."
"But Edea's still... I can't guarantee anything, either, if Ultimecia possesses me again..." Rinoa turned back to him. "You saw me. She controlled me in outer space and made me break Adel's seal. What might happen next time? What will I end up doing? Will I end up fighting everyone?" She looked down at her feet. " ...Scary thought, isn't it?"
'Rinoa...Even if you end up as the world's enemy. I'll...I'll be your knight.' Rinoa stood, contemplating her next words.
'I'm…I'm a sorceress? No…I can't be…if I was…no! ….wait! Squall…thought that?'
"If I fall under Ultimecia's control again... SeeD will come kill me, right?" She took a deep shaky breath. " And the leader of SeeD is you, Squall... Squall's sword will pierce my heart..." She smiled lightly." I guess it's okay if it's you, Squall. Nobody else." Her voice seemed so heavy, as if she were on the verge of tears. "Squall, if that ever happens..."
"That's enough! I'll never do anything like that. The sorceress I'm after is not you, Rinoa. My enemy is the sorceress from the future...Ultimecia," Squall busted out, making her jump.
"Ultimecia lives in the future and possesses me. She uses my body as her extension in this world. How will you save me?"
"I'll come up with something... There's gotta be a way." Rinoa turned back to the field of flowers, her hands on her necklace. "Don't worry. Trust me."
"...I trust you. Well, until you find a way, maybe... Maybe I should stay in Esthar, at that memorial? Wouldn't that be better?" She suggested, not even looking at him.
'The memorial. The Sorceress Memorial in Esthar…'
"No…That'd be pointless. I'll just end up going after you again. Rinoa... Just stay close to me."
"That's what started everything."
"What are you talking about?"
"You don't remember?"
"Something I said?"
"Oh, just forget it!"
"No, it's because of the GF. That's why I forgot."
"That's just an excuse," Rinoa giggled.
'A…a GF? …a Guardian Force."
"Yeah." She turned back to Squall and stepped a little closer. "Can I tell you a story?" Squall nodded. "I had a dream. It was a scary dream. We make a promise. We promise to see shooting stars together. I get dressed up and put on your ring. But the thing is I can't remember where I'm supposed to meet you. I started to panic. I really want to see you, Squall, but I don't know where to go. I start running through the mountains, the desert, the plains... Through Timber, Balamb, and Galbadia... When I realized I couldn't run any longer... I...I just want to see you so badly... So I scream, Squall, where are you? Then I woke up. I was crying. I'm sorry. You don't have to say anything. I just felt like I had to tell you." She ended it quietly with a voice that could barely be heard.
"It was just a dream... It doesn't mean anything. Don't worry about it," he said awkwardly.
"...I guess you're right."
"How about this... I'll be here..."
"The reason why you couldn't find me was because we haven't promised yet."
"I'll be waiting for you. If you come here, you'll find me. I promise."
"I'll be here, too. It's a promise! Thanks, Squall! Next time, we'll meet for sure!"---
'This is where I want to be Squall…there with you…'
"ANGELO! BRING ME BACK!" Rinoa ordered loudly.
I apologize, master…but I cannot. You can't live in your memories. It is not in my power. I cannot bring you back to your reality, either, because Fate has brought you here and will bring you back.
"Angelo…I miss him so much." The dog trotted towards her, nudging her lightly. She gave a sloppy lick on Rinoa's cheek. She sat up straighter.
You'll be back together soon…but you don't totally remember everything…do you? Just the times before the Forest Owls and bits of the present. There's so much more pain…and death in your past…and even more to come.
"We're here Rinny," Seifer whispered to the sleeping sorceress, brushing away the stray strands of black hair off her face. He pushed past the ruined wood door and went towards the back, where the beach was. Edea stood alone, the dark gray waves crashing behind her.
"Seifer you came! And…excellent…you brought her too…very good…now lay her down!" she commanded in a powerful voice. A slab of levitating marble appeared at her bidding. The ex-cadet gently put her down and kissed her again. Edea's dark lips curved up.
"Excellent…now the sacrifice will begin!"
I sit and wait; does an angel contemplate my fate and do they know the places
Where we go when we're gray and old
'cause I've been told that salvation lets their wings unfold
So when I'm lying in my bed thoughts running through my head
And I feel that love is dead I'm loving angels instead
Author's Note- Thank you for reading this. It is quite cumbersome…I know. I've worked insanely hard on this so please review. Also, you may see a lack of 'Whatever's in Squall's character and this is my reason: Rinoa's effect in Squal is a good one so he doesn't brush off questions or statements with that word. He became more outgoing and stuff. Special thanks go to Ki-Kiri for being such a good beta and editing this…
And about how Squall is Laguna's son there's plenty evidence in the game so listen up! (You can skip it if you want.)
It's never really stated out right. Why would SquareSoft (now known as SquareEnix…) say that? C'mon…they love toying with us. Ok…so Ellone tell us that Raine was with child.
Ellone: When I was kidnapped, Uncle Laguna went on a journey to find me... But because he did, Uncle Laguna wasn't able to be by Raine's side when she died.Raine wanted to show Laguna her new born baby... Raine kept calling out for Laguna. So no matter what, I wanted Laguna to stay in the village...But it didn't work.
Ok….at the ending we know Laguna gives Raine a ring…an engagement ring. After all, the ring was on Laguna's left hand, right finger, as was Raine's when Laguna put it on…so…we know they were married. Why wouldn't they have a child at that point?
Next bit. On the Raganarok before the fight into the Lunatic Pandora. Laguna, Ward and Kiros are all on board, giving the gang a pep talk. After, you are able to talk to them individually.
Laguna: Let's talk when it's all done. I have a lot to tell you. Well if you don't want to hear it, I'll understand.
Kiros: You look very much like your mother.
Kiros: Ward says "Good job you don't look like your father".
In the D-District Prison, there is a Moomba that follows Zell everywhere. Also there are several other Moombas who say the same thing. They call Squall "Laguna!" and jump up and down a lot. Back at the Garden, Squall's Study panel or the Information selection when you see the menu screen, you can look up monsters and see that Moombas identify people with their blood either tasting it or otherwise I'm not sure…so if Laguna was Squall's father, they would recognize Squall for it. Which they did.
Squall has absolutely no visual resemblance to Laguna which backs Ward's point. I haven't seen much of Raine but I can see a familiarity.
Oh…but why is Squall's last name Leonhart? Well…I believe that the people of Winhill do not like outsiders. You can tell when you play Laguna in one of the flashbacks and you go to the store, they kick him out and want him to leave. So when Raine dies (presumably at child birth) Squall is given her last name instead of Laguna's because of Winhill's hate for outsiders. I also believe that Squall's 'Griever' Ring was originally Raine's…but that's just me.
It is for these reasons that I believe that Laguna is Squall's father. For those who disagree, EAT MY SHORTS! (jk) Also, if you can prove me wrong, I'll give you a cookie! (Warning: Offer does not include cookie)
Constructive Criticism is appreciated!