AN: Hello fellow FF8 fans. This will be my first piece for this particular pairing and game, so don't be too harsh. The premise of the story is that Rinoa didn't enter Squall's life when the game said she did. Instead he went through all those things alone. This first chapter should introduce a few choice characters. I hope you enjoy it. Please Read and Review.

As awlays, i do not own FF8 or its characters.

She never came to the garden that fateful night and danced her way into his life. She never ran into a cold member of SeeD destined to save the world. She never met her one and true love.

He continued to live out his days in Garden, alone. He fought against the tyranny of Galbadia, alone. He fought and defeated the most evil sorceress to ever lived, alone. He subdued and captured the most powerful GF known to man, alone. He now commanded the mightiest military force Hyne had ever seen, alone. That fateful night on the balcony as a shooting star passed by he remained, alone. And when he finally left Balamb Garden for Esthar, he too did that alone.

However alone or not, he still made a wish upon that star….

He stood in a large room in the presidential palace. The decorations on the wall told their history to both those who were listening, and to those who chose to turn a deaf ear upon them. Behind the mahogany desk which was sorely out of place for such an advanced country, was a man who wasn't used to being so serious in nature, but now was not the time for jokes.

"You understand I am only here because you are my last option" spoke the scarred-warrior.

"I understand" Few would recognize a stern voice upon President Laguna

"This changes nothing between us. I still hate you." His words were as icy as his demeanor.

"I know" The president would have done anything at all to help

"So we are in agreement? I get to run this new Garden my way. I don't answer to you, to the military and defiantly not any financers." That was the reason he left Balamb. Even though he was the commander of the entire Garden he was still a puppet in someone else's plan. It was time to cut the strings.

"And in exchange we will partake in missions of our own choosing for the benefit of Esthar."

"It is a deal" 'Please don't call me sir. Just once will you refer to me as father?'

"Good, I have no business here then, sir. I will be on my way"

The man behind the desk stood up and spoke, his face remaining as stern as it had throughout the conversation. "And where exactly will you be staying? There is plenty of space here ya know. Besides, it's big enough where you won't need to run into me if you don't want to." President Loire wasn't going to push his luck on the matter.

As the ronin SeeD walked out past two tall steel grey doors he stopped and turned his head back just enough to look his father in the face. "Whatever."

The President nodded and sat back down knowing fully well that was the closest he would come to getting a yes. His son left and the doors closed on their own leaving Laguna feeling quite abandoned in his own home. He reached over and pressed a button on the intercom, signaling the two people he could always count on. "Kiros. Ward. Help my so-err... Squall gets settled in. Then leave him alone. It doesn't look like he is in the mood for company" 'Ever' he thought to himself.

He leaned back into a massive plush chair that looked several sizes too large and swiveled it around so he could see the view of Esthar, his Esthar. 'That boy needs someone. Not exactly much I could do there.'

The ringing of a phone interrupted his thoughts. The President unconsciously reached over and grabbed it in a hurry. Not too many people had THAT number.


A kindly old voice replied on the other end of the line, the kind you would expect from a loving grandparent. "Did he reach?"

"He did. You were right. He does want to start his own Garden. Thanks for the warning Cid. It would have been rather awkward if I didn't know he was coming. Was he…was he always like that?" The father had met his son several times before, but he was never that cold.

"He's gotten worse I think, as the battles went on. The more he fought the further he drew himself into his shell. The only people who would deal with him tried to pull him out but they just…couldn't." Even Cid wouldn't call them friends. Squall just didn't have any. They weren't needed. That logic helped him defeat Ultimicia, then it would help him with just about anything.

"Cid, was I wrong for leaving him at the orphanage like that? I just...I didn't realize he would turn out this way. What did I do to him?" No matter how much he tried, the President was constantly haunted by the trials and tribulations of his past.

Cid paused for a moment before speaking. There had to be a delicate way to spin this. "Don't be too hard on yourself. It's his life to do with as he pleases. You can't make him change. It's got to be something he wants to do."

"I see, well thanks Cid. I'll keep you posted on how things are going." He hung up without waiting for the man on the other line to offer kind farewells in return. Too much hung on his mind. 'I better get started on building that Garden, don't need to give the kid another reason to hate me'

And there President Laguna Loire, husband to Raine Leonhart, Father of Squall, and Ruler of the largest city in the world would spend his day when his two companions where unable to distract him.

A few short months later

The new Esthar Garden had been built and ready for opening thanks to technology that could only be found here. It was a Garden that trumped all others with its size, mobility and cutting edge specifications. As promised the famed hero that saved the world would be in charge and answered only to those he chose.

It was the first day of classes and students were lining up at the registration office, eager to get their dorm assignments and start their new lives as SeeD candidates. One particular girl was acting rather spirited as she was almost bobbing up and down on her feet with excitement. Her dark raven hair was just beyond shoulder length and strongly contrasted with her smooth creamy skin which was always best accentuated by the moonlight. Her lips brimmed with life as they held an attractive red that came naturally to her.

"Next" yelled a staff member who appeared rather overworked on just the first day.

The young woman walked up to the man and gave a huge grin, forcing him to respond in kind.

In a voice that embodied what it meant to be sweet and innocent she spoke "Good morning sir! You look rather tired. If you wanted to take a short break or something I don't mind waiting." It was daylight outside yet her smile still shown through.

"Why thank you young lady, but I shouldn't put off my duties. That is so kind of you."

Not satisfied with the answer, she reached into her bag and took out a cool bottle of water and handed it to the elderly gentleman. "Well at least have some water, you'll feel better." The young lady did not look like she would accept no for an answer.

Touched by the young girl's generosity he gladly accepted and drank to his heart's content. "My, I wish my daughter was as well-behaved as you. She seems to find every opportunity to fight with me. You certainly are pretty. Must have all the guys after you. Bah, listen to me here rambling on, I really shouldn't keep you. Do you have your Student ID?"

She nodded and slid something across the table to the man who looked at it and pulled a file from his records. "Ah yes I see, you will be in the…hmm. C wing. Room 213." He was startled when he saw a frown upon the once shining girl's face

"Aw the C wing, I was really hoping for the A wing. Oh well, maybe next year…" Her melodious voice was now drenched with disappointment as she solemnly hung her head down.

"I won't here of it. Lemme see what I can do" After fiddling around his computer for a few moments the old man grinned and looked up. "There, the A wing, room 7."

But now the young girl felt terribly guilty "Oh! I didn't mean to impose! I would have been fine with the other arrangement, honest!" She truly had not tried to guilt the man into providing her with the accommodations she sought. She merely wore all her emotions.

"Nonsense child, a good act deserves to be rewarded. Better hurry up or you will miss your orientation. Don't forget the inaugural dance tonight!" He waved the young girl off as she spun around and ran towards her room. "Bye Ms. Rinoa Heartily."

Squall sat in his office, his head resting upon his arms which lay on his desk wondering why he ever agreed to an orientation or an inaugural dance. Tradition. He was a man who appreciated tradition, but hated dances. At least he was able to skip the orientation without too many people asking questions, having sent another faculty member to welcome the new students. Getting out of the dance was another matter. 'Did they really have to send Selphie to instruct?' Not to mention Irvine, Quistis, Zell and a few other members from the other Gardens.

He hid in his office, not wanting to have to deal with all the ruckus going down below him. First days where always bad, even in Balamb. At least here he had a sanctuary of sorts. He raised his heads and eyed his gunblade, an unusual and difficult weapon where a sword fused with a gun to form a devastating combination. It was a model that was created just for him, a one of a kind and defiantly priceless. The Lionhart was the closest he ever came to having a true companion.

A clock on his desk signaled orientation should be over and the first class of the day should be starting, making it safe to leave. He stood up and yawned, dressed in his SeeD uniform. Sometimes tradition just plain sucked. Grabbing his gunblade he holstered it to his side and made his way down to the dorm level. 'People will expect me to be in my office or the training center right about now.' And he was a man that didn't feel like being found.

Too occupied by his own thoughts he never noticed the student who bumped into him and fell down in the process. Squall just stood there annoyed at what could have broken his self-important train of thought. His ears were filled with a pleasing sound, at least compared to the annoying complaints of new students. "I'm sorry! I was running late for class and wasn't looking where I was headed!" She pulled herself to her feet, not being offered any assistance by the man who just stood there, and beamed in his direction before running off. "It's been fun, we have to do this again sometime!" and left him there dazed.

'Who was that? Definitely not a transferring SeeD or faculty member. Must be a new student. Strange, I didn't think new students could get a listing in this section. No matter' And without giving her another thought he swiped a key just outside of a door with a large 1 on it and entered the room.

Being in charge certainly had its advantages, but they made little difference to Squall. He had been given a room that was more like an apartment, offering its own kitchen, a generous living space and two bedrooms. It didn't matter to Squall though since he was just as happy in his one bed dorm back in Balamb. He just wanted to be left alone.

Having nothing better to do at the moment, he doffed his clothing with a shower in mind. They couldn't have the best SeeD in the world walk around like a slob, now could they? It seemed no matter where he went he always answered to some mysterious force called 'they.' He walked into the bathroom and saw his reflection in the mirror, the image of his exposed self triggering memories of his life gone past.

The scar on his face was by no means the only one he wore, just the only one he let be seen. His torso and upper arms bared several scars of various length and severity all from battles he walked away from. The most severe was one that diagonally divided his chest in two. It was one that always brought the tiniest grin to his face. 'I walked away after that one too.'

The shower was more relaxing than he intended, leaving the warrior feeling rather drowsy. Not having anything to do on the first day he made his way towards his bed where he was welcomed with cold blankets and no dreams.

Elsewhere a young girl fidgeted uncomfortably in her SeeD uniform, and found it rather hard to concentrate on her classes. It wasn't anything important, never is on the first week since all the students would be arriving and getting adjusted. Her thoughts lingered upon the man she bumped into on her way to class, her tardiness barely noticed.

'He was so cute! I bet he's dangerous, that scar shows it. But those eyes. How could they look so warm and yet be so cold? I hope I run into him again. I'd like to find out his name. I think I will, I mean he lives in the same wing right? Right. Well maybe he was just passing through? No he defiantly looked like he was heading to his room. Am I arguing with myself? Why am I so worried where he stays? Oops! Better focus on what the instructor has to say.'

A very mature voice spoke, the kind you would expect from a fully grown woman in her mid 30s. Much to the pleasure of the boys in the class, she was clearly much younger. Her peach colored uniform carefully hugged her well rounded curves, and left a little portion of her midriff exposed. When Quistis Trepe had found out Esthar Garden was being run by her former crush and in desperate need of staff, she quickly volunteered. Quistis would do anything to return to instructing.

"Alright class, settle down. My name is Ms. Quistis Trepe. Feel free to just call me by my first name." Ms. Trepe never sat well with her, making her feel older than she was. "I will be responsible for your basic introduction to SeeD as well as focusing on magic and junctioning. I as well as the Commander feel this is one of the most important classes you will take here in your years at Garden so I expect excellence." Though she never yelled, her voice left no room for discussion on that matter.

"Now then, for some announcements, and then I will take some questions. If there is time we can all get to know one another. First, Class 1 will be the only one running this week to allow students to become more comfortable with the Garden, as well as to help you decide on which weapons courses you will be taking. Normal classes will resume at the start of next week."

Rinoa could only think helplessly to herself 'Great, I have no idea what kind of weapon I'm suited for.'

"Second, for those of you who missed the orientation, there will be another one at the end of the day in the same location. Finally, I'm sure you all have heard about the dance tonight. It will be held in the quad. Girls are expected to wear formal dresses; boys are limited to their SeeD formals. It is not mandatory but I suggest you all attend, as the Commander will be making an appearance." 'Even if it kills me getting him there' she thought.

Rinoa perked up at the mention of the dance. She had just the right dress picked out, a parting gift from her friends in Trabia, the ones she was determined to help one day soon.

The teacher continued uninhibited by Rinoa's thoughts. "Alright, questions?"

Just about every hand went up, causing Quistis to smile "I know I may sound strict but I am pretty open. Just yell them out so long as things don't get a little crazy."

"Is it true the Commander is the same one who defeated Ultimicia?"

"I heard he was the only person to junction Griever, ever."

"Is he really as cute as everyone says?"

"Is he available?"

That last one had the entire class laughing, Quistis included but for different reasons 'Like he would ever be taken.'

"Hmm, I see rumors still spread like wildfire around here. Well to answer your questions, yes, he is that very same man who defeated Ultimicia, and yes, he is the only one to have ever subdued Griever. As for the last two, the only way to find out is by attending the dance tonight."

Rinoa thought to herself 'Oh I'll certainly do that. There is someone I would like to meet again.' But she wasn't talking about the Commander, her thoughts still remained on a peculiar scarred man whom she bumped into in the hallway.

The rest of the class continued with more questions about the commander, leading to questions about their instructor and finally what to expect in this course. With the conclusion of class for the day, Rinoa spent the rest of her time becoming familiar with her new home for the next few years, and began making some friends in the process.

A new life, new friends, new city, and a dance coming in the evening. Yes, things were certainly looking good for Rinoa Heartily.

Loved it? Hated it? Something you think should be drastically changed? Post a review and give your two cents. Frankly, i want to know. I enjoy reading Reviews so don't be shy. The next chapter should be up sometime this weekend or slightly before, but thats not set in stone. Anyways, hope you enjoyed it and thanks for Reading and Reviewing.