Okay...don't really know what to say about this. It was rather painful to get out. But, the end result isn't horrible. Hopefully, yall will enjoy.

Inspired by the holiday season.

The world was in a blanket of white.

White, white, everywhere- white sky, white ground, white horizon. White, crystalline flakes falling into more whiteness. It was blinding. It was cold, harsh, unforgiving.

It was like him, and it was beautiful.

Rinoa lay on her back, brown eyes staring at the cloudy whiteness above her. It was still, frozen. It was blank- colorless. It drowned everything around it. Her dark blue coat was soaked wet by now, because the whiteness was also so incredibly fragile. So easily beaten and gotten rid of- washed away. It did not easily endure.

It was so different from him, and it was frightening.

The wind was blowing now, wisps of dark hair falling over her face, biting cold jabbing at her cheeks, eyes, and lips- it was numb. Rinoa kind of liked it- liked it for it's similarity and it's difference, liked it for this numbing of her self- something, she felt, everyone should get away from every once in a while.

She didn't know how long she had been outside- she only knew that she had awoken before anyone else, and had gone outside. Perhaps minutes, perhaps hours. She didn't know. She knew why she had come outside- Rinoa knew why she was laying so still in the snow.

Her mother had once told her that there were some things a person had to experience in their lifetime- things that made them think, things that made them grow, things that made them happy, and even things that made them sad.

"A person has to know all of these things- even though it may be hard. A person has to know to love without reason or need- a person needs to live as though they have another life, and are looking upon their own in surprise so that they can know what they want. A person needs to know how to give- to give with your whole self, with your heart and soul so that the gift will forever last. A person needs to give a little, give a lot. Just give."

"How will you know when you have to do these things? How will you figure it out?"

"You need to find a place. Any place where you have laughed and loved, been happy and sad. A home. You need to be there for a while- close your eyes, and let your mind and spirit soar through the thoughts that linger in your head- the emotions that remain in your heart. If you do this- then you will truly know yourself…and all that you love."

Rinoa contemplated her mother's words. Did she know herself? Did she really know Selphie, Quistis, Irvine, or Zell? Did she know her mother or father?

Did she know Squall?

Did she know how to really give?

Perhaps the years had changed her- though it hadn't really been that long. Only three years since that great battle that saved the world- and earned herself and her friends the title of 'hero'.

Then again- when one is thrust into a war for all life, one tends to grow up pretty fast.

So why, Rinoa wonders, does it feel as though she is the only one who stayed the same?

Give a little. Give a lot. Just give…

Her mother's words play over again in her mind.

Give a little

But why did she wish to give so much more?

Give a lot

And why did she feel as though she had nothing to give?


And yet she found herself ready to give- giving anyway.

Perhaps that was her answer….

Cheerfulness seemed to overtake Rinoa, and she spread her arms and legs, making a snow angel. A laugh escaped her lips- and she wondered if she had finally succumbed to madness.

If so, she thought, giggling as she rolled down a slippery hill, it's not nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be…

She thought about Selphie, springing joyfully into the cold, ready to throw a snowball. She thought of Quistis, who would try to get everyone to behave, but eventually become one of the best allies in the Greatest Snowball War in History. She thought of Zell, who would sit on the wet ground and eat hotdogs with hot chocolate after using his martial artist skills to snowball Quistis in the face. She thought of Irvine, who would participate only for a few minutes, using the rest of the time to warm up so that Selphie could be 'held' in a secure, and handsome, blanket. She thought of Squall, who would watch from afar, making sure that no one got too cold, and that no one hit Rinoa too many times in the face. And she thought of herself, and the expression that would cross her commander's face when she shoved snow down his shirt….

The whiteness was suddenly not so blinding.

"Okay, now who's up for—EAHHHHHGGGGGGGGH!!!" Selphie danced around, shaking the snow out of her shirt. "Irvy, what was that for?" She glared reproachfully at the tall cowboy, struggling to keep down a laugh at his wet and messy hair.

"Hmmmm, let's think Sefie- For when you stuffed snow down my shirt, my hat, my coat, my SHOES, and when you threw a snowball at my face. And when you shook that snow-covered branch right over me. And when you pushed me headfirst into that snow pile. And-"

"Okay Irvine, point made." Zell grinned, his own hair spikes beginning to droop.

Quistis laughed, tousling Selphie's hair- "Honestly Selph, I think you had that one coming."

Selphie's only response was to pout. But then she brightened. "The Holiday is coming, and I can't wait to plan the Christmas Festival! And you all can help out!"

Unnoticed by Selphie, a cringe passed through the whole group…

She was waiting again, staring at the now imperfect whiteness. But now, to her it was all the more perfect- and even more like him. There were dirt and smudges, and footsteps everywhere, marring the once smooth white. Rinoa stood in the middle of the snowfield, gazing at her surroundings, hair flaked with ice, cheeks red with the cold.

Footsteps came from behind her, and she smiled because she just knew. "Hello Squall."

Squall said nothing as he came to stand by her side- where he would always stand.

Shyly, Rinoa reached out her hand to hold his, her heart swelling when his gloved fingers curled around hers protectively.

"I hate winter." He said abruptly, gazing out at the landscape. Rinoa didn't say anything, though she felt her eyes widen slightly in surprise.

"I hate it because winter took everything away. I didn't want to admit that I liked and wanted those things but…" He sighed, closing his eyes for a moment. "Sis left during the winter time. It was winter when they sent me away from the orphanage, to the Garden. Even the sun seemed to go away…"

Rinoa watched him for a moment before turning back to gaze at the horizon. Finally, she spoke. "My mother miscarried before she had me. She lost the child in wintertime. As I grew up, a friend of mine stayed out in the snow too long. She got sick, and died. I used to be terrified of winter, because it was so cold, so white and dangerous…"

"But then I met you. And you reminded me of the snow, a little bit. Not because you were cold or dangerous- but because you were the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. And like the snowflakes you were unique. The others threw snowballs at me and I realized that the winter was nothing to fear. Winter was to be watched, wondered at, and admired. It was to be cautious of. But nothing more. Winter comes each year- but it also leaves each year. Winter is a part of this world just as death is a part of life"

There was silence again as both stood, contemplating. Tiny, gentle flakes descended from the sky.

"And you," Rinoa murmured, staring up into Squall's eyes, "Are just as much a part of me as breathing- living." She lightly moved her hand to caress his cheek. His eyes closed halfway as he breathed slowly.

"You-" Squall stopped. He sighed. "I'm no good at this. But…" He paused. "I was a blizzard. I was harsh, empty. But…I didn't know it until I met you." He closed his eyes, resting his forehead against hers. "And you…you were the sun. You made me see what I had done- what I'd become. And you…" Squall broke off, seeming frustrated by his lack of words to express his thoughts. "You were shining."

"I didn't know how to deal with the sun being on me all the time. I didn't know how to deal with my mistakes. I didn't know how to deal with you." He laughed a little. "But…I began to realize…the snow- winter –shines most brightly in the sun. And then of course, it melts. Then it goes into the sky, with the sun." He smiled down at her.

"So, basically, I made you evaporate?" Rinoa struggled to keep the laugh out of her voice. Squall rolled his eyes, laughing a little.

They didn't need to say it right then, but they both knew. Their hearts and souls knew. They had given- a little, a lot. They gave each other their whole selves. Their mind, heart, and soul belonged as much to themselves as to each other. They didn't think about it. They weren't ready for it. They hadn't seen it coming. But they did it all the same.

They just…gave.

And they would forever keep the gift of each other- until the universe itself ceased. And even longer, for they had given completely. Their hearts were forever held by the other.

No one- nothing – could change that.

This ending did not want to come out. I don't think I really got the message that I wanted to get out...but whoever reads this may feel differently. Hope this is okay!

Reviews make me happy inside!