A/N: This is for those of you who read my mind. Can't believe you all knew what I had planned for our happy couple.... :-P
By the way, I know this just makes me seem incredibly indecisive, but no alternate ending. I started on it, and...ya know...it just sort of rips to shreds everything I established through out the fic. It made me sort of depressed, so I decided not to write it. For those of you not interested in knowing what the alternate ending was going to say....stop reading now and move on to the afterward.....in the alternate ending, Quistis and Seifer die together in the mountains. I originally had it plotted for somewhere around chapter three, but changed my mind and instead it was going to make all of the happiness that they found through the story actually be in their minds as they were dying (yes...depressing).
Quistis squinted her eyes and bent her back slightly backwards. Just like Seifer, Faber was never easy to find when he knew that he was going to be in trouble. A little girl's wails rang out behind her as she walked down the shallow stone steps. She sighed, Faber could be so insensitive to other people's feelings sometimes.
The early June sun was beating hard down on top of her head, and she had to shield her eyes to see anything past the glare that it created. Really, she didn't know why she was even bothering to look along the beach or even in the vicinity of the orphanage, she knew exactly where he would be.
"Quistis, honey..." Edea's voice rose up above that of the bawling child. "Don't worry about it."
"He knows better," she retorted. The walk wasn't really a long one, she'd made it just that morning. And really she was feeling quite well, she felt up to it.
"Be careful!" Edea reminded her.
"Yeah...yeah," Quistis waved off the older woman's concerns.
It had been a full year since Edea had come down to the Centra docks to pick her up. She'd tired of Garden, and after all of the struggling to force herself to be happy, she'd finally realized that what she was looking for was only a boat ride away. It was simple enough to see. She'd been happy with Seifer, and no more so than when they'd been in Centra together. The more and more she tried to convince herself that SeeD was her life, the more she fell toward the conviction that she would rather be leading a more domestic existence with Seifer.
Domestic life, she reflected, had been remarkably easy to obtain. She and Seifer had a short courtship following her arrival, and by September had arranged a hasty marriage. True to form, they'd eloped without a word to any of their friends, which had caused quite a stir. Selphie had assumed quite incorrectly that they'd married privately in order to keep her from planning the wedding. She was convinced that Seifer disliked her due to the testimony she'd given against him during his now infamous trial. Rinoa had been just as firmly convinced that Quistis simply didn't like her, and didn't want her present. It took a number of phone calls and a few lunch dates to set matters strait. Planning meant delays, and that was the last thing the couple wanted.
She had only a simple gold band as a wedding ring, although it was more than enough. Quistis had quite a bit stockpiled from her SeeD salary. She'd been systematically putting it away for years, planning for the future. She'd had no idea at the time that a good amount of that money would go into their first real project as a couple (and a married one at that). Only a short distance from Edea's orphanage, Seifer arranged to have an adorable two story house built. It was nestled in a flowery little field and even had a short stretch of beach. They were living in domestic bliss in their cute white house with their not entirely perfect, but certainly very happy marriage.
As she walked, their house came to view in the distance. He always worried about her when she walked alone, especially in her current state. She was as far from the mercenary she'd once been as she could get. Completely out of practice and a good six months pregnant, she couldn't have fought off a monster if she had to. Luckily, they weren't much of a problem any longer, and she rarely encountered any on the short walk.
Her hands fell to her stomach. Their first child...sort of.
"Faber Almasy!" she bellowed as she came into the yard. "You get down here this instant!"
His dark little head peeked off the top of the roof, then ducked back when he saw her looking up at him. Seifer had taken it upon himself to nail down some errant shingles on part of the roof himself after a particularly strong storm had blown a few of them loose. Faber, having found that he could easily get up onto the roof from his bedroom window it he stood up on the railing of the second floor balcony (that had been the sophisticated way in which Seifer had reached the roof), made the place his newest sanctuary.
"Hey, Honey," Seifer, having heard her return, swung the door open and came out to greet her. "Back so soon?"
"Faber told some little girl at the orphanage that no one wanted her, and that he was better than her because he has a family," she rolled her eyes, then cast them back up toward the roof. "Come down right now!"
"But Mom..." he whined, sticking his head back over the side. "It's true no one wants her."
"Faber," Seifer rose his voice now. "Get down here." Like usual, he followed Seifer's order immediately. As Faber climbed down, he adverted his attention to Quistis, planting a quick kiss on her cheek and letting his hand trail over her stomach.
"Hey," he dropped his voice, trying his best to sound sexy. "You look hot."
"That's because I am," she replied, poking him in the ribs. "Course, you've been sitting in the air conditioned house all this time."
"Not all the time," he shrugged. "I went outside once or twice to see if you were on your way home yet."
"Dad!" Faber came bursting through the front door. "You're not going to make me go back there and say sorry, are you?"
"Of course I am, don't be silly," he replied.
They had adopted Faber only a few months after getting married. He'd adapted quickly to having the two as parents, although it took him longer to accept Quistis than Seifer. He'd been a little more to handle than either of them had quite anticipated, and they had both in the process yet of finding jobs. Quistis would still receive money from Garden for years according to the arrangement Cid had worked out. A sort of SeeD retirement plan. It was something she was currently quite thankful for as the pregnancy had kept her firmly out of the job market. Seifer, with his Garden training, had easily gotten a job in a lazy little town only minutes from their home as a police officer. The town was enjoying unusual peace, Seifer still struck fear in the hearts of many would be criminals.
"We're having dinner at Matron's later tonight anyway," Seifer announced. "You can apologize then."
Faber frowned and, kicking at the doorframe, retreated to his room to brood.
"How much do you want to bet he marries that girl someday?" Seifer asked, wrapping an arm around Quistis' waist. "I remember you saying something similar to me when you found out you were going to be adopted."
"I did?" Quistis remembered more of her childhood than she had, but portions of it were still fuzzy.
"Yep," he kissed her. "And I don't think you ever said you were sorry."
Quistis shook her head, smiling at him. He was handsome, charismatic, sweet...and he was all hers. She still found it hard to believe at times. How crazy life was when she could leave one morning and bounty hunter, and wake up another cuddled happily next to her quarry. Quistis could justify it only one way, they were meant to be. They were meant to find each other, and to find Faber.
She sighed, a gentle bliss overtaking her. "I love you," she announced, feeling the urge to tell him so. He grinned, walking with her into their house.
"I love you, too. Always will."
Quistis still found it strange that after searching so hard for love and happiness, she had found it over the dying embers of a fire in the cold recesses of Trabia. That evening so long ago when she'd spotted the light in the snow, she'd had no idea how it would change her life. Like that little, flickering light, she'd been lost in the haze of the storm. With Seifer, she found everything she'd been searching for upon leaving Garden. She'd found the answer to her restlessness.
"Think we can get a quick romp in before Faber comes out of his room?" Seifer asked, arching an eyebrow suggestively.
"Seifer," she shook her head. "I'm six months pregnant."
"So?" he tilted his head. "Come on...you know you want to."
Entering the white confines of the kitchen, she turned to face him. He was proudly wearing a cocky grin, and he motioned with his hand toward the stairs. Quistis couldn't help but smile back, he was very persuasive. His hands at her back, he urged her up the stairs and down the hallway past Faber's door to their own room. With finality, he closed the door behind them.
Quistis had never considered herself to be the kind of girl who'd make a good wife or mother, but she was thoroughly enjoying both jobs. As Seifer wrapped his arms around her, cradling her against him, she let out a happy sigh. This was everything she wanted. Life was truly beautiful. And, for the first time that she could recall, it was filled with contentment.
The taste of her husband on her lips, the feel of their child nestled inside, she wanted for nothing.
Bliss...she kept coming back to that word. Something she'd only dreamt of finding, but had stumbled across in the most unlikely of places. She'd found it in the proud, fallen knight...her very own, Seifer Almasy.