AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hi! This is my first story that I've ever written for a fandom and I'm very excited! This is just a one-shot that came up in my head. I always wondered what Raine and Squall's relationship would've been like as a family. So this drabble is basically AU-ish and Raine-centric. I wanted to try writing from Raine's perspective on things. I might expand on more one-shots of the same focus, but we'll see.
So! Hopefully you'll like it! And please review so I know you like the story or tell me where I can improve. Sorry if it's long. I'm not much of a writer and can't control my word count. :3
P.S.: Squall is probably around 13-14 when I thought about this. And yes, he did meet Rinoa early in his life. :D
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any rights to Final Fantasy VIII and its characters.
Talk to Me
She didn't understand it. She just didn't understand it at all. Why was it that when you raise a child, they hit an age where they just didn't say much to you anymore?
Raine let out a defeated sigh as she stared at nothing in particular; sitting down at the kitchen counter with elbows upon it while resting her head in her hands. Nothing was able to distract her from that burning question in her mind. She had been thinking about a lot of things in the past few days, many of which consisted of her son.
Ah yes… Squall. He had been both a joy and a great pain to Raine for as long as she can remember holding him as a baby. He never spoke out of disrespect and never hurt those who were weaker than himself. Squall was reserved, yes, but he didn't mind the company of those he trusted. He had trouble communicating with others, but Squall always found a way to get his point across to them. He was never forceful in stating his opinions, but once in a while, his stubborn nature would kick in whenever something he found interesting was the topic of focus. Squall was passionate about what he liked and every once in a while he would give out a smile that fit his boyish features. So innocent was the child that grew into humble, yet honest young boy.
…At least that's what she used to believe.
Squall, being the quiet boy he was, liked keeping things to himself. Raine didn't mind. She understood the value of having one's own privacy. But lately she felt as if Squall has been indulging himself in his own solitude for far too long; especially now.
Raine had recently found out that Squall had gotten into a fight with another boy at school. When she and her husband, Laguna, had been called down to discuss the matter with Squall's homeroom teacher, Raine was shocked to find that Squall gave the first punch. She couldn't believe that her son would initiate a fight of any sort. Luckily, Squall and the other boy, Seifer, were only given a one week's detention, but it didn't ease Raine's thoughts.
When they arrived home, Squall refused to explain his behavior with either of his parents. There was a lot of arguing involved that day which ended with frustration on both parties. During the first day of detention, Squall avoided any conversations with his parents. He went to school, came home, and locked himself in his room. Laguna said that he would calm down within the next few days. As much as Raine believed what he said, Squall never let up. He was being stubborn. If he found himself caught in a discussion, he nodded at most or gave out one-word answers then walked away. If he was getting scolded, he'd rolled his eyes and mutter a "whatever" under his breath. It drove Raine mad and she found herself being as stubborn as well. They played the "silent game" whenever they were in each other's presence and it became increasingly difficult for either Laguna or Ellone to find a way to get them to surrender their little 'war.'
It carried on until now, on the last day of Squall's detention. With Laguna at work, the kids at school, and nothing to do, Raine was given the chance to reflect on her actions of the last seven days. She began to realize that maybe avoiding the issue with Squall wasn't the best choice of action, feeling guilty for not understanding her son's position. Maybe she should have approached him when he was ready to talk. Maybe she should've given him the benefit of the doubt that some external force caused him to jump the gun like that.
Raine shook her head and sighed again. She didn't like not understanding Squall. In fact, she felt it was her sole duty to be able to understand her children. At the ripe age of adolescence, Squall was bound to get into a few fights here and there. She had to show Squall that she was there as a support outlet, as a mother. But with Squall's growing detachment, it was getting tricky for the worried mother to find common ground with her son anymore.
Ellone hadn't been this difficult growing up, so why was Squall any different?
"This is probably the first in a long time I've seen you lost in the clouds," commented a familiar voice with a teasing tone.
Raine snapped out of her thoughts to look to where the voice came from. She saw Laguna peering at her with his infamous smile as he leaned on the entrance of the kitchen. She gave a small smile in return and got up from her seat to where her husband was. She gave him a quick kiss before saying, "You're home early."
While scratching the back of his head, Laguna replied, "Well, the office wasn't busy today so I left early. I'm sure Kiros and Ward have everything under control while I'm gone."
Raine raised an eyebrow while crossing her arms, "Is that right? So you left without saying anything. Again?"
Laguna winced a little at Raine's scrutinization, "Well…I wouldn't put it that way…I left a note at my desk. I trust that they can get by without me."
Raine rolled her eyes. Typical Laguna. President of his own company, yet still not able to grasp the concepts of "work" and "responsibility." Laguna didn't leave work all the time, but he rarely had a good excuse to do so otherwise. Although an adult, Laguna had times when he acted like a kid. Work being one of the many factors that caused him to act like one. He was an idiot, but he was her idiot.
She shook her head, but a smile graced her face when she looked at Laguna. "What am I going to do with you?" she asked.
"Love me 'til we can forget about what happened?" Laguna answered hopefully, palms placed together in a pleading nature.
"Nice try mister," Raine giggled a little, "But that's be the easy way out." She walked away from Laguna to the fridge while she heard Laguna give a mock tone of being hurt from her words. Raine giggled. When she opened the fridge, she asked, "Is there anything you want? I haven't made dinner yet."
Laguna shook his head as he sat himself down at the table. He stretched his arms to the ceiling replying, "Nah, I'm good. But I'd rather hear about your day. How are ya, Raine?"
Raine sighed as she closed the fridge, "Okay I suppose…"
"Doing a lot of thinking?"
"With nothing else to do, I wasn't left with many options."
"Is it about Squall?"
Raine went silent. She looked away from Laguna as he stared at her, waiting for an answer. It was Laguna's turn to sigh when she didn't say anything after a while. He got up from his chair and walked towards Raine.
Placing his hands gentle on her shoulders, he consoled with a gentle voice, "Don't worry about it. He'll come around. You know him."
Raine looked up at him then, worry in her deep blue eyes, "Do I? What if he doesn't speak about his problems with either of us anymore? I feel like I'm beginning to lose him, Laguna."
"He's just at that stage in his life where he wants to figure out things for himself. Remember Raine: that boy has a lot of pride," Laguna assured while smiling a little. Indeed, Squall had a lot of pride; like his mother.
Raine smiled back, "I… guess. I just feel like I should talk to him. Apologize maybe."
"I bet he feels the same way," Laguna chuckled, knowing very well that Raine shared a deep maternal bond with Squall. "He got most of your temperament; especially your stubbornness!" Laguna grinned teasingly.
She playfully slapped him on the chest, "Oh you! I'm not that stubborn!" Laguna and Raine burst into small laughter after that. They both heard a door opening and looked to where the sound was coming from. Immediately they knew who it was.
"We're home!" shouted Ellone, the shuffling of shoes taken off being heard from the kitchen.
Laguna looked back at Raine, "Well, maybe you can try talking to him later?"
Raine paused for a moment, then looked at Laguna and nodded with a smile.
Yes, she would talk with her son later today.
After dinner, everyone retired to their rooms while Raine made her when to the living room. She began picking up discarded jackets and rearranged the couch cushions that her loving family made a mess of. As much as she loved them, a scolding was in order for not cleaning up after making a mess. Raine then turned her attention to the coffee table to rid the surface of messy books, magazines, and things that shouldn't be on the table. As the table surface started looking neater, Raine noticed a tiny box with a note attached to it lying beside some of Squall's textbooks on the table.
Something of Squall's? she thought curiously. She stared at it a moment longer before grabbing the note and reading it. It read:
Thanks for being there Squall.
You didn't have to do anything, but I'm glad you were there!
P.S. I still feel bad about getting you in detention, so next time let's go for ice cream!
Raine read the note a few times more before the confusion set in. Who was Rinoa? And how exactly was she responsible for Squall's detention? She heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs stopping abruptly. Her head snapped up to meet Squall's eyes. Wide, surprised eyes that is…
"Uh…" was the intelligent response that came from her mouth. Squall quickly looked to the floor as he made his way down the stairs silently, making a beeline for his textbooks. He gathered the books and the tiny box in his arms. Then as quickly as he snatched the note from his mother's hands, Squall made haste to leave.
Before he could get away however, Raine quickly blurted out, "I'm sorry!" Squall stopped and slightly turned his head to look at his mother behind his brown bangs. He could see that she was sincerely apologizing. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to look. I just…" Raine mumbled, fidgeting with her fingers that she found interesting at the moment.
Raine knew that looking at the note fell under the category of "invasion of privacy," but she couldn't help the feeling of curiosity overwhelm her. Especially since she hasn't talked to Squall for a while. Still, she knew it was wrong and it was definitely the wrong way of getting Squall to talk to her. If anything, it probably made him void of talking with Raine forever. Awkward silence filled the room. Oh how Raine wished that Laguna would come in and ask for something ridiculous right now.
"… It's fine…" he finally spoke in a whisper. Raine's ears perked up from hearing his voice. It's been so long since she's heard him say anything to her that it made her heart fill with joy. She looked at Squall, whose body was facing hers, but his eyes remained on the floor. She beamed a little bit.
"Come," she spoke softly as she touched Squall's arm with her hand, "I…want to talk to you." She made a gesture that said 'let's sit on the couch.' Squall nodded and followed his mother. They made their way to the couch and Squall replaced his textbooks on the coffee table. Raine was still uncomfortable with the situation after sitting down with Squall, but she needed to get through this. She probably wouldn't get an opportunity like this anytime soon.
"I want to apologize about my behavior for the past week. It was immature of me to… ignore you like that," Raine began. She thought by defusing the tension this way, they would both be able to talk without any awkwardness. Plus, she wanted to apologize for what she thought was 'bad mothering.' When Squall didn't say anything, she continued, "I know that you want to take care of business by yourself, but Squall, you need to understand that your father and I worry about you. I just wanted to understand why the situation turned out like that. It's unlike you, I know, to act in that manner. You must've had a reason for punching Seifer. But even if it was a good reason, I just think you could've handled it with a little more restrain. Do you…understand what I'm saying?"
Squall contemplated on what his mother said. He nodded slightly, shyly looking at his mother. Seeing the opportunity, Raine smiled at him, "You're a good kid Squall. I'm not mad, just confused. But I understand if you don't want to explain it right now. I can wait until you're ready to talk."
Raine squeezed one of Squall's hands before getting up to leave. As she made her way around the couch to leave the living room, she heard Squall mutter quiet words.
"Did you say something?" she asked making sure she wasn't just hearing things.
"…He was picking on her…Seifer…" Squall said, albeit his back was to her. He spoke in a tone that was unsure with a hint of…embarrassment? Raine realized Squall was explaining the events leading up to the fight. She stayed quiet and listened silently, afraid that making a sound could stop Squall from talking.
"Seifer was picking on Rinoa. Something about breaking up? I dunno… People said they were going out. He grabbed her a little too hard and started saying…things about her. I don't know what came over me then, but I didn't like the way he was treating her… So I punched him."
Raine slowly asked finally understanding the purpose of the handwritten note, "And so this Rinoa, she…felt bad about getting you in trouble?"
She saw Squall shrug, "I don't know why. She didn't do anything since it was my choice, yet she wanted to make it up to me. I didn't really care but she was really annoying about it, so I humored her. Rinoa was…I dunno. She confuses me. She hangs around me, doesn't leave me alone…I don't know what to think of her. But she's…"
Squall couldn't get words out anymore. Raine saw how he was struggling to explain anything further, but she knew Squall was never good at explaining things on the spot; which is what he probably felt now.
Raine started adding everything together turning away from her son. Squall saw Seifer harassing this Rinoa person and decided to help; although it was the wrong way of doing so. Rinoa, feeling bad about getting Squall into trouble, decided to try and make Squall happy in a way. It was cute when Raine thought about it. Rinoa probably liked Squall. A lot if she was constantly trying to 'make it up to him.' Raine smiled to herself in conclusion. And then it hit her when she looked at Squall again. Although his back was to her, Raine could faintly see Squall's ears were red. He was blushing! And all because of this Rinoa! Raine's smile exploded into a grin as she came to the ultimate conclusion: Squall also happened to like this girl, but doesn't want to admit it or he hasn't realized it…yet.
Chuckling to herself, which her son failed to notice, Raine let out a contented sigh. She walked behind Squall and leaned forward on the couch. She rested one arm on the couch so she could place her head in her hand and used the other hand to lovingly ruffle Squall's hair.
Confused, Squall turned his head to look at his mother with a blank expression. Raine gave a laugh while still petting him with care, "My my. Already at that age, Squall?"
"What are you talking about?" Squall questioned, feeling his cheeks flare a little under his mother's tender attention.
Raine smirked jokingly, "Oh? I just began noticing that my little Squall is really doing some growing up."
Squall, catching the hint that he was being teased, turned his head forward and crossed his arms defiantly across his chest and sank in his seat. By now, he was blushing like mad.
"Whatever," was his response.
Raine continued to smile at her son. She felt like she understood him a little bit better. Squall wasn't trying to avoid his parents at all. He was just trying to avoid the joys of embarrassment and sharing those thoughts with anyone else.
Helping a girl, then getting rewarded for his efforts embarrassed him.
Maybe her intuition about Squall was right. Maybe he was a humble, honest young boy. But he was a boy who was surely starting to become a strong, loving young man.