Disclaimer: I don't own anything
I looked at the baby in the crib sleeping peacefully. She looked so beautiful and comfortable snuggling with a stuffed Chocobo while she slept. The subtle movement of her tiny chest moving up and down rhythmically was enough to take my breath away each night while I watched her sleep.
Lately, I hadn't been getting much slumber myself. Worries about the well-being of my husband Squall were weighing heavily on my mind. He had been called away on an important mission; not exceedingly dangerous, but I was still racked with worry. I fretted each time he went away on a mission for Garden. Although, Squall hadn't been called away on many missions since the birth of our daughter, Kali, and it was a good thing too. For this mission, they needed Squall's expertise with a Gunblade to scare the leader into signing a treaty with another nation.
Squall had been gone when our baby was born, and he had become acquainted her when she was a month old. Squall looked so scared that he was going to hurt the little baby; as she was nestled in his arms. I remember his expression when he became accustomed to the sleeping baby. He seemed thoroughly content, that all was peaceful in the world. One time I walked into the room, I watched as they were both sleeping in the rocking chair in our baby's room. He had fallen asleep in the same position with which he held the baby but, his head had tipped back onto the headrest of the rocking chair. I smiled and took the sleeping baby from his arms, and placed her in the crib. As I did so, Squall had woken up, and the look he gave me; melted my heart. Before we went back into our room, Squall took one last look at the sleeping baby, and kissed her forehead gently.
I mimicked Squall's idea, and kissed our baby on her forehead. Then, I pulled the robe I had been wearing closer to myself, and slept on the couch in her bedroom. I didn't want to be alone in our large bed without Squall tonight. After long hours of fighting sleep, I finally let sleep take me. Horrible dreams shook me that night. Pain, terror, fear flashed through my head. I awoke when the morning was new, and fed Kali. She seemed extremely at-ease, and didn't give me much fuss that morning.
Later, when Kali was taking a nap, Selphie invited herself in. She had been missing Irvine as well, since he had been called on the same mission with Squall. I found out something I didn't know that day. Selphie and Irvine were trying to have a baby, but up until that time, their attempts had been unsuccessful. I tried to reassure her that it would happen for them soon, but Selphie didn't seem up to talking about it. I turned the conversation onto something else, and Selphie seemed happy for the change in mood of the conversation.
Selphie's presence was a good thing, she would always take care of Kali, and in doing so let me relax. She always had a excited face whenever she got to tend to Kali. I often wondered if Selphie had a child of her own, if she would still have that happy face whenever she had to change diapers. I believe that Kali enjoyed her presence as well, as her little gray eyes would open up real wide while she smiled when Selphie would make baby noises and tickle her little tummy.
That night, Selphie volunteered to baby-sit Kali for a few hours so I could go shopping. I believe she sensed my boredom of being stuck in that room all day long. I took this opportunity so I could try to decipher why I had those dreams the night before as I walked the streets of Balamb, and I prayed that they would not shake me again that night. I bought some new clothes for Kali, and a present for Squall that I could wear for him when he returned. I felt a little raunchy purchasing it, but I knew how his eyes would light up when they would fall upon it. I stayed out as long as I could, and returned fairly late. Selphie still had a happy grin on her face, and asked me numerous times if everything was all set before she left for the night.
I slept in my own bed that night, although the bed felt so large and empty. Wanting to feel sure that Kali's noises would wake me up; I set the baby monitor on the highest setting. I also moved Squall's pillows sideways, so when I slept I would rub up against them, as I would if Squall were in bed with me. However, the pillows would not comfort me, or kiss my neck, as I yearned for Squall to do.
It took me a few hours to fall asleep that night. Kali didn't cry the entire night, which was a rare occurrence. Even though I did eventually fall asleep, it was an uneasy sleep. I kept having dreams of Squall becoming hurt somehow, but I would never see how; I would just see him in pain. I woke up with a start the next morning, as Kali was crying for her breakfast. I prepared a bottle for her, but I was still nervous for my Squall.
Selphie came over later and we sat down for a cup of coffee. She seemed to have gotten less sleep than I had. My nightmares were still stealing almost all of my thoughts, so I decided to ask Selphie about it.
"Selphie, do you ever worry about Irvine?"
"How do you mean? Like him cheating on me? Why, have you heard something?"
Her voice was serious, so I tried to soothe her by immediately saying, "No, I haven't. I meant, do you worry about him when he goes away on missions?"
"Of course I do. I assume that he does the same when I leave on missions. Whew."
"But, how do you cope with that worry?"
"I just put my attention onto other things, like the Festival Committee, and coming over here and playing with Kali." She grinned at me as she said the last part.
"Do you ever have vivid nightmares of Irvine getting hurt?"
She looked at me pensively. "Not really, sometimes just a little nightmare, but nothing too serious. Why Rinoa, are you having horrible nightmares?"
"Yes, but they aren't like normal nightmares, just images, flashes and pictures."
"Odd," she shrugged. "I don't know what to tell you Rinoa, just don't let it drain your thoughts too much. Its probably from being cooped up in this same dorm all day."
"Do you think I should tell Squall when he gets back?"
"Yes, you should have that open connection. OH!" She threw her hands in the air, "I forgot to tell you! Cid caught me in the hall earlier, they are coming back from their mission tonight! The treaty was signed! It completely slipped my mind. Grr! Stupid Selphie," she scolded herself.
When Selphie left, I began to get dressed in my more formal attire, rather than my house-clothes. I put on makeup and perfume, and dressed Kali up in a cute little dress. She giggled at me, since I was in a state of euphoria and acting quite unusual at the great news of Squall's return.
I heard a rapping on the door, and figured it must be Selphie to accompany me to go surprise Squall and Irvine at the unloading dock at Balamb. We'd done it once before. It was a long time ago, before Kali was born. We sat there for a few hours, because their ship had been delayed by the strong currents in the water. When they had disembarked, Squall's eyes illuminated as they fell upon us sitting there. I ran over to him, and he picked me up and twirled me around in the air. The feeling was that of playing a part in those sappy-romantic movies Selphie and I always watched. I longed to feel that flying sensation again.
I gathered Kali up in my arms, and went over to the door. When it was open, I looked out into the hallway to see Quistis standing there, with Selphie behind her; tears welling up in both their eyes.
"Rinoa," Quistis started, "We have something to tell you."