Title: Wish You Were Here

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Squaresoft-Enix U.S.A. No ownership claimed, no money made, no copyright infringement intended. Continuing to read this fic is an agreement to take no legal action.
Summary:They came at us out of nowhere. And they took you back with them. You're gone. …And I would do anything in my power to get you back. (Leon-fic)

Notes: If you don't know who Rinoa is… FOR SHAME! FOR SHAME! GO PLAY FINAL FANTASY EIGHT RIGHT FRICKIN' NOW! NOW! I DEMAND IT! And all that crap about the things Sora did to the gates in the Waterway? Yes, I really did that. And no, it didn't work.

As for the rest, I simply cannot conceive of a living Rinoa. Maleficent would have tried to use her before letting the Heartless destroy that world. The only reason Rinoa therefore wouldn't have been with Squall was… she's dead. It's not a happy conclusion. But it's an honest one. And no, Sora never sees Squall as suicidal. But Squall is not going to talk to a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD about his deep-seated psychological problems.

By the way, I'm pretty sure KH mentions that it's been nine years since Squall's world was destroyed. That makes him AT LEAST 27 years old (he was 18 when his game ended). So don't go "nuh-uh you are SOOO wrong about his age!". I know whereof I speak.

Wish You Were here

"I'll be here… Waiting for you…"

"Where? Why? HOW?!"

"…So you'll find me… Just look…"

They say the Goddess helps those who help themselves. I know that's a lie. Pretty well all I've ever done for my entire life is help myself.

I've helped no one but myself. …That time I saved the world doesn't count. I didn't REALLY want to save the world. But one thing led to another and another and another and suddenly problems are popping up like the T-Rexaur heads in those arcade games where they give you a mallet and a time limit and you have to bash as many of them as possible...

Nine years without you. Nine years of dreaming of a field of flowers without you there…

Nine years of waking up and hearing the song Eyes On Me. The song your mother sang you to sleep with, the song you sang to me when I remembered my special little cell in the desert prison in Galbadia.

Hyne, that was confusing.

Just as confusing as the sudden childhood memories I have of this place. Of the knowledge that no, those facades shouldn't have crumbled, and those vines are alien to this place, and how to navigate the waterways and claim all the treasure Sora and his friends didn't.

Damn. If I were more expressive, I'd whistle under my breath. That boy can loot a place. The exact way I used to loot places, come to think of it. I used to walk right into people's houses and rummage through their cupboards, taking whatever I wanted or needed.

SeeD training at its best.

I rub my hands over the warped metal where somebody blasted the gates with Firaga. The metal's also been dented from where people have slammed against it, and I see more than a few scratches.

Hm, somebody should have known that these gates, if you slam them with a decent blade just so here and here, and then plant a good kick to the very center, will fold in on themselves rather than, say, denting.

Allowing you to get your treasure and then mosey.

All I ever needed to know about criminal activity I learned from Zell, by the way. All of it. …and maybe Irvine. Actually, yes, I definitely learned some things from Irvine.

You probably would have objected to my looting the Bastion. And I probably would have shrugged and said, "…Whatever." But I probably wouldn't have put anything back, and you wouldn't have made me, because you would have known that we'd probably need it as some point.

Hyne, I wish you were here. But you aren't. And so I wear your angel wings on my jacket, and I took Seifer's cross and put Griever's head on top of it, because Seifer so badly wanted to be your Knight, after we killed Ultimecia.

I never thought he had that about-face in him. Hell, I never really thought he'd want to be a Sorceress's Knight.

A bunch of Defenders and Large Bodies appear in the Base Level after I leave the Waterways. I destroy them with the same ease with which I destroyed those betentacled, gas-breathing monsters in the training center. I forget their names.

I almost forgot Headmaster Cid's name. Cid Kramer, husband and Knight of Sorceress Edea Kramer, Headmaster and Chief administrator of Balamb Garden.

I still remember that paunchy, bespectacled man in the stupid red sweater. I remember the frantic confusion and general milling about in Balamb Garden when Norg tried to take over.

I grab the spiky glowing thing and automatically step onto a cage that descends on a laser.

They really put Esthar's technology to good use here in the Bastion, don't they? Hyne, I remember Esthar.

I wish you were here, to nod and tell me 'yes, they put Esthar's technology to good use'.

Damn Maleficent. Damn her to an eternity of darkness and pain, for taking you from me.

You're gone. I'm narrating to a dead woman. I'm proud of you. I still love you. But you're gone, and you're never. Coming. Back.

I nearly fall off at the great Gates. I manage to keep my balance, though, and turn a vengeful blade on the Wizard that tried to splat me all over Rising Falls.

It wouldn't have worked, anyway. I'd have just fallen back to the Base Level, with a few bruises, but otherwise no worse for the wear.

I would know. The first thing I did when I first got here was try to throw myself off, screaming your name.

I wasn't quite right in the head, at the time. I was distraught over your death, could think of nothing but joining you.

Ah, my Rinoa. My angel-winged Sorceress, with the powers of Adel and Ultimecia. I miss you. I wish you were here.

I cut my way through the Heartless, searching for something, seeing visions of Maleficent instead of my actual opponents.

The kind of rage I'm in, that haze where you see only red and strike at just about anything that moves, isn't healthy. SeeD taught me it could get you killed.

"Leon…" Sora says, looking hurt. "You didn't have to…"

It turns out I've saved the Hero. Uh oh. Doing things like that could get me into trouble.

"Sorry, Sora. I wasn't really seeing anything." And I could have killed you, too. Oops?

"Are you okay?"

He's a great kid. He really is. He's like… Selphie, Zell and Quistis all rolled into one: optimistic, compassionate, and energetic.

I think that if we'd ever had a kid, he'd have looked kind of like Sora and bounced around shouting "Whatever! Whatever!"

Your outlook and my vocabulary, eh?

Sora has the most vivid eyes I've ever seen, except for maybe Selphie's. Those vivid green… His vivid blue. Like Zell's. Oh Hyne, he has Zell's eyes and it hurts so much to even look at him right now.

And now those vivid blue eyes are looking straight at me and he's asking if I'm okay.

I want to tell him the truth: I just want to die. I want to be with you. I wish you were here, or I was there, because Hyne, nine years without you, and it's been excruciating, every minute of it.

Do you remember when we first found the Ragnarok? We were both in that tiny machine, thinking we were going to die.

Oh, Hyne. We were going to DIE. And then we practically drifted into the side of that ship.

But I look at him and I look at Zell's eyes and I tell him, "Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little tired, is all."

Just a little tired. I'm not tired. I'm exhausted, I miss you, and I can't do this anymore.

Your body reaches its peak in physical shape at twenty-five. I'm two years past that. My body isn't decaying. I'm not slipping. Not really. But I'll start slipping soon. I can tell.

I wish I could summon Shiva. She'd make this all better. She'd let me forget you and move on. Hell, she'd probably make me forget you.

It would be nice to forget you. It'd be better to have you here, but it'd be nice to forget, if I can't have that.

I head towards the Library, and I hear the sound of enough footsteps to know that Sora's fallen into step behind me.

Why am I not surprised? That kid used to come into that tiny place in Traverse Town and just kind of… stare at me. Like I was some sort of puzzle.

I guess he hasn't seen a lot of people with facial scars.

I reach the Library with a minimum of fighting. Sora and company are happy to take care of it, and suddenly, I don't want to fight any more.

You died fighting. Your blood, all over Maleficent's hands. Your stomach, pierced by Maleficent's staff.

Your hands, clawing the marble floors of Balamb Garden as you fought to stand. They left a train of bloodstains.

She'd wanted you as an ally. With the powers of both Adel and Ultimecia, how could she not?

They came at us out of nowhere. Just a fine day in the Garden; Irvine flirting with Selphie, Quistis reading a book, Zell clamoring for hotdogs…

And now you're dead, Selphie who-knows-where, and Quistis and Zell vanished.

Hyne, I wish you were here.

At the Library, I go stand in my corner, looking at my favorite bookshelf. If Sora needs me, he'll come and stare at me for a while.

I wish you were here.