A/N: Hey! An update with this series. Oh my god! No way! D: LOL *sniffles* I missed this so much. TT_TT
I thought this would be appropriate to write since it's Mother's Day and since I absolutely love my Squall and Raine mother-son interaction, I just had to write for this series again! Although, I'm quite rusty when it comes to Squall and Raine. O.o Back to practice! Oh, and I know I promised a friend a different one-shot, but I'll try working on a Squall one so I can finally hit that Raine chapter. XD
Happy Mother's Day everyone!
And of course I can't forget my lovely readers. It may have been ages since I've updated this, but thanking readers and reviewers must never be forgot! Thank you to Niqsta, BelleOfTheBoulevard, Adriannu255, missiongirl87, an anonymous reviewer, Pokexpress, Scribbleness, Azurelle, and Sorceress Rinoa Heartilly for reviewing! Thanks so much to everyone who's read the series and for your continued support! :)
Quick Summary: Sometimes the simplest of gestures have meanings that are worth treasuring in years to come.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any rights to Final Fantasy VIII or its characters. Just this shameless series I continue to blab about. :D
A Gift for Mother's Day
Raine hummed her favorite tune as she quickly and precisely cut the carrots in slices. Beef stew was today's dinner since Laguna requested it. She didn't mind; it was actually quite easy to cook and Raine really didn't feel like cooking anything extravagant.
She was stuck at home today with Squall while Laguna and Ellone went out to do a little exploring in town. For what, Raine wasn't sure, but she would ask about it when they got home. She was sure Squall had wanted to go with them seeing as how Zell couldn't come over to play today, but instead he wanted to stay home. Maybe he was doing homework or studying… His grades were slipping a little and it worried her…
Suddenly she heard a crash from upstairs and she almost sliced her index finger with the knife. Raine sighed at the close call before looking up at the ceiling. The noise came from the room above the kitchen and it just so happened that her beloved boy's room was above the kitchen. Putting down the knife and wiping her hands on a clean dishcloth, Raine exited the kitchen and stopped at the foot of the stairs, calling out, "Squall? What are you doing?"
She wasn't met with a verbally response. Instead, more crashing sounds could be heard before Squall finally groaned from his room. What in the world was he doing? Unable to keep her curiosity at bay, Raine began to climb the stairs. She was half-worried, half-expecting Squall to be buried under something. With that kind of noise, what else could it be?
Walking to the room second from the left, Raine saw that Squall left his door open. She peeked inside and her eyes immediately widened, "Squall!"
There, on the far right of the room was her son…buried underneath a mix of clothes, toys, and boxes with his head sticking out at the bottom of the pile. Apparently he was dazed from the mountain of items on top of him otherwise he would've noticed her coming in.
"Oh my Hyne!" Raine immediately ran up and knelt down to slowly pull Squall from out of the pile. Once he was freed, Raine had him leaning against her chest and she unconsciously began to smooth out his hair, "Squall, what in the world are you doing? …And where did all that stuff come from?"
Squall took a moment to snap out of his daze, shaking his head and looking up at her as he pulled away and sat on his knees. He rubbed his forehead and answered, "I was looking for something…"
"Really?" Raine raised a questioning brow, looking at the pile of stuff flooding out of his closet, "And what, pray tell, could it be that you would let a monster out of your closet?"
The little brunette couldn't help but stiffen at the word "monster," obviously not realizing that it was a figure of speech, but he quickly composed himself, looking as serious as he could, "It's a secret. You're not supposed to know yet."
She was taken aback. Raine wasn't suppose to know? …Yet? Honestly, what ran through the mind of a seven-year-old was beyond her. Raine blinked, repeating, "I'm not suppose to know? Did I hear you right?"
"Y-Yeah," Squall slowly flinched, thinking he was going to get in trouble. He looked at the carpet, rubbing his forehead again with the bony part of his wrist, "It's a surprise…"
Oh, I see.
It was rare whenever Squall decided to surprise anyone. Then again there was complete irony in that statement since Squall seemed to surprise Raine every day whether his actions were big or small. The flood of things coming out of his closet certainly surprised her.
Smiling sincerely at him, Raine lifted his chin so he was looking at her. Squall watched her with big blue eyes and she couldn't help but tap his nose with a giggle, "I'm not mad, Squall. In fact, I'm curious about this…surprise you have in store for me."
The boy slowly let a smile cross his face and Raine refrained from cuddling him like a clingy parent… That was Laguna's department unfortunately. Squall slightly exclaimed, curling his hands into fists in determination, "You'll like it then. Just be patient."
"Alright, sweetie," Raine giggled, loving stroking Squall's hair, "I'm sure I'll love it."
Squall happily chuckled, rubbing at his forehead again.
Raine, noticing that he had done that three times already, asked, "Squall, is there something wrong with your forehead?"
"No," Squall replied, shaking his head, "It's just really itchy."
She pushed away his hand so she could examine his forehead more thoroughly. Brushing away some of his bangs, Raine saw a very small scratch running down the right side of his forehead to the middle of his eyebrows. It was small, but with Squall rubbing at it, he was irritating the wound and making it bigger. She assumed he acquired the scratch when all of his objects caused an avalanche on top of him.
Raine couldn't help but scold, "Squall you need to be careful! Now look, you got hurt. Don't rub at it!"
"No 'buts,' young man," Raine stood up, pulling Squall to his feet as well. She held his wrist and led him to the bathroom. She opened the medicine cabinet as Squall stood behind her, shifting from foot to foot and playing with the hem of his shirt. Raine searched the medicine cabinet quickly and pulled out sterilizing material for Squall's wound and a bandage. She turned around to face him, reprimanding again, "Squall!"
Squall froze, having been caught scratching at his forehead. He quickly had his hands by his sides and looked at the floor, "…It's really itchy…"
The mother rolled her eyes and sighed, putting her first aid items down on the bathroom's small counter before lifting Squall's head again so she could examine the damage. Great. It was starting to bleed a little. Could Squall not feel pain? Well she didn't want him feeling any kind of pain, but a little flinch here or there would help her gauge his reaction to something hurtful.
"Come on," Raine lightly pushed his back, asking him to sit on the lid of the toilet bowl, "Sit down."
"Do I have to?" Squall asked, uncomfortable with the entire thing.
"If you want me to leave you alone, then yes," Raine sarcastically replied.
He muttered under his breath before doing what he was told. Squall sat on top of the toilet with a pout. Unconsciously, he raised his hand to scratch his forehead again but stopped when Raine shot him a warning look. Ever so slowly, his hand was on his lap and he blushed.
Good boy, Raine smirked, wetting a cotton ball with cold water before gently wiping the little drops of blood from Squall's scratch. Squall closed his eyes and flinched a little. So he was still human. Good. Raine wouldn't know what to do with a son who couldn't feel pain.
Throwing away the dirtied cotton ball, she then opened the bottle of sterilizing alcohol. Raine tilted the bottle a little so some of the liquid soaked into a clean cotton ball she held with plastic tweezers. Turning back to Squall, she braced him, "Alright, Squall. This might sting a little…"
He blinked at her, but when the wet cotton ball made contact with his wound, Squall immediately pulled away and winced, "Ow!"
"Oh grow up. I warned you," Raine responded, somehow reliving a nostalgic feeling. At least one thing was confirmed, Squall was definitely Laguna's son. She took his chin firmly in her hands to stop Squall from lurching away again.
She applied more of the cotton ball against his skin to sterilize the affected area, ignoring Squall's quiet murmurs for the moment. When she finished, Raine gently blew against his forehead to ease away some of the pain caused by the alcohol. She knew sterilizing alcohol stung against a wound, but the poor kid had a wound on his forehead. It must've hurt somewhat.
Squall quieted down and Raine finished off her treatment by placing a peach colored bandage to his cut. It ran in the same direction as his scratch: from the right of his forehead to the middle of his eyebrows. Raine smiled at him, "There you go. All done!"
Squall reached up to touch the bandage, feeling its semi-rough texture. He then turned his attention to her, "I can't scratch it?"
"No scratching, Squall," she confirmed, putting away the first aid items in the medicine cabinet. Smiling in satisfaction, Raine placed hands on her hips and turned to her son, "Squall, go clean up your room now. How come you have all that stuff anyways?"
"I didn't know where else to put it so I stuffed them in the closet," he answered without feeling guilty.
"Squall, I don't want you hoarding everything; especially with a mess like that. Clean it up properly," Raine frowned in disapproval. Squall looked down at his feet and Raine knew what he was thinking: he didn't want to clean up the mess. Rolling her eyes, she ruffled his hair, "Alright, I'll help you clean up okay?"
He looked at her, trying to search for a lie, but found none. Squall nodded, "Okay."
Giggling, she walked with him towards his room and they began clean up the mess. Raine properly stacked the boxes and Squall grabbed whatever toys he could and placed them in his toy chest at the foot of his bed. Some of the clothes that were left Raine decided to clean. She didn't want to admit it, but some of Squall's clothes look like they haven't been cleaned…in the longest time… It took about half an hour for them to finish, but soon enough, Squall's closet was organized and things couldn't possible collapse on him the next time he opened the closet door.
"There! Now don't you like it when everything is nice and organized?" Raine rhetorically asked.
Squall simply nodded up at her and smiled. She couldn't restrain herself so she bent down and kissed his forehead. Squall squirmed a little but endured the little affection albeit with a small pout. Raine giggled.
He was growing up. How cute.
"Alright. I'll leave you alone to find what it was you were looking for," Raine smiled, giving Squall's hair one last ruffle.
She turned to leave when Squall called out, "Mom?"
"Hmm?" she turned around just in time to catch Squall tackling into her and hugging her waist tightly. She blinked at his sudden show of affection as he buried his face against her stomach.
He looked up at her, faintly blushing, "Thank you…"
Raine blinked again before laughing. She stroked his hair, joking, "Rubbing your face against me counts as scratching you know?"
Squall ignored her and buried his face against her one last time before pulling away. For that, she once again kissed his forehead, but this time Squall didn't seem to mind. Raine cupped his cheek in a motherly way before finally leaving him alone.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
She was just about done cooking when Raine heard the front door opening and closing.
"We're home!" Laguna announced.
Shoe scuffles were heard before footsteps made their way to the kitchen. Ellone appeared, smiling and holding a card in her hand. She immediately went up and hugged Raine, "Hi Raine! Happy Mother's Day!"
"Mother's Day?" Raine repeated in surprise.
"Yeah!" Laguna appeared, holding a bouquet of red roses in his hands with a cheery grin, "Don't tell me you forgot? It's Mother's Day!"
Raine simply blinked. When she thought about it, it was the second Sunday of May. It must've slipped her mind. Oh! That explained Squall wanting to "surprise" her too didn't it? He wanted to surprise her for Mother's Day.
Connecting the dots, Raine smiled happily and returned Ellone's hug, "Thank you, sweetheart!"
Ellone giggled, showing her card, "Here! I bought it with my own allowance!"
"Wow! Impressive," Raine laughed, taking the card and reading it. Inside was a typical quote on how special a mother was and the picture on the front of the card was decorated with a mother chocobo nuzzling its head against two of its chicks. The mother smiled again, "Thank you, Ellone. I love it!"
"You're welcome, Raine!" Ellone felt proud of her present.
Laguna then walked up next to Raine and quickly kissed her, "Happy Mother's Day!"
"Laguna, these roses are beautiful!" Raine exclaimed, holding and smelling one of the roses. She smiled at him, "I love them. Thank you."
"Yeah… They aren't lilies, but I tried," Laguna shrugged with a chuckle. He rubbed his chin and thought, "I was planning on taking you out today to celebrate, but you ended up cooking…"
Raine went to look for a vase to put the roses in before turning to look at Laguna with an incredulous expression, "…It seems I wasn't the only one who forgot today was Mother's Day."
"Well…" Laguna nervously laughed and rubbed the back of his head. Raine smirked in victory, continuing her search for a vase.
"Squall!" Ellone exclaimed.
Raine looked over her shoulder after finally finding a home for her roses to see Squall hiding behind the corner of the wall. Ellone walked up to him and they started whispering. Squall started to shake his head vehemently when Ellone said something, but his big sister wouldn't let him back out. She held his hand and practically dragged him into the kitchen. Ellone smiled up at Raine while Squall's eyes remained on the floor.
"What'cha got there, kiddo?" Laguna grinned, crossing his arms and watching his son.
Squall's blush only deepened and he looked away, muttering, "None of your business…"
Probably his 'surprise,' Raine couldn't help but smile. She knelt down in front of her son and tilted her head, "Do you have something for me too, Squall?"
He shyly looked up at her and nodded once before staring at the ground again.
She sighed. Sometimes he needed a lot more convincing, "May I ask what it is?"
Again, he looked at her shyly and turned away, "It's stupid…"
"Now I don't think that," Raine gently replied with an encouraging smile, "Didn't you say I would like it?"
Squall stared at her for a moment before finally giving up. He held his hands behind his back and soon enough, he pulled out a small, blue rose-shaped tissue paper. The bloom and stem were all there, neatly done that it almost looked real had it not been for the fact that the blue rose had a few wrinkles here in there. To say the least Raine was surprised; she never expected Squall to take part in arts and crafts.
"Selphie taught me how to make roses out of tissue paper, but it was harder to do than I thought…" he explained with a blush, "I wanted to make a whole bunch, but I only managed to do one right…"
Raine's smile only grew softer. He put so much effort into his gift, so what if he only came out with one? Squall put his heart into this little activity and it was already quite special to Raine. She took the paper rose in hand and hugged Squall, "To tell you the truth, this is better than having a bouquet of blue roses. Thank you, Squall."
"Really?" he was surprised.
"Yes," Raine giggled, kissing his cheek, "I love it very much. These are the best presents I've ever received!"
Squall smiled a little and nodded.
Happy, Raine stood up and placed the blue rose in the center of the vase full of red roses that Laguna gave her. To top it off, she found a spot among the flowers for Ellone's card as a decoration. Now her gift was complete!
Turning to her family she smiled, "Thank you so much everyone!"
Ellone and Squall smiled up at her while Laguna grinned, "Anything for you, Raine!"
Raine giggled and started, "Alright. Now then, who's hungry?"
"I am!" Ellone and Squall called out in unison.
Suddenly Laguna asked out of the blue, "What's up with the bandage? Did you hurt yourself?"
"The entirety of his closet fell on top of him," Raine explained after realizing Laguna was talking to Squall.
"What?" Laguna looked at her in shock before looking at Squall. The boy simply froze in place, instinctively starting to back away. He was too late as Laguna quickly scooped him up in his arms and cuddled him, "No! I can't believe you got hurt! Poor Squall!"
"Let go, Dad!" Squall tried pushing the man off. For some reason, Squall was becoming detached to Laguna's affections; quite the opposite of how Ellone grew up with Laguna's love.
Ellone couldn't help but laugh and Raine rolled her eyes. Today just turned into another typical evening with her family.
…And she wouldn't trade it for the world.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
…Nine Years Later…
"Didn't I tell you not to scratch at your scar? You'll only irritate it," Raine warned as she wandered the market street with Squall in tow.
Her son merely rolled his eyes, picking at the bandage running diagonally across the bridge of his nose, "It's not my fault. The bandage is itchy. Can't I just take it off?"
"No. There's a reason it's on your face: so your scar doesn't get infected," she scolded with facts, picking through the apples in a fruit vendor's cart, "But you know you could've avoided ever getting such a thing if you—"
"It was Seifer's fault. Not mine," was Squall's immediately response as he frowned at her.
Raine shook her head in disbelief. It was always the same answer with him, but was done was done. Now Squall had to live with a permanent mar against his skin. She wasn't happy about it, but it couldn't be helped, "Whatever."
Squall remained silent as he simply carried a plastic bag full of groceries in one hand. He piped up after a while, "Oh yeah. Dad says you don't have to cook today."
"Why not?" Raine questioned with a furrow of her eyebrows.
"He says he wants to cook for you," Squall answered, mumbling under his breath in a whisper, "Of course, I think even cooking escapes him…"
Hmm… Raine thought. She wondered what the occasion was for Laguna to want to try cooking again. She shrugged, Oh well.
They continued walking down the market street and bought more groceries, but once they were done, Raine suggested they head home. Squall agreed, not really up to walking through the streets anymore; with his mother no doubt.
The joys of Squall growing up. How cute.
Raine started humming her favorite song as she walked beside her son before his voice pulled her to a stop, "Mom?"
"Yes?" she turned to look at him, finding a blue, rose-shaped paper staring back at her. Raine blinked in surprise and looked at Squall.
He looked at her with his ever serious face, but Squall showed a small hint of a smile, "Happy Mother's Day."
Slowly, Raine began to smile and giggled, taking the paper blossom in hand. Of course; that was what today was: Mother's Day. She gave her son a short hug, "Thank you, Squall. How many is that now?"
Her son hummed, adjusting his hold on the groceries before replying, "Nine."
"I see…" Raine twirled the blue rose in hand. So many memories…
"Yeah," Squall nodded, walking forward again, "Three more and you'll finally have a bouquet."
"A dozen blue roses…" Raine smiled, walking beside her son again. She couldn't help but ruffle his hair despite the fact that he was now taller than her, "I can't wait for next year for the tenth rose, Squall."
Just a simple gift turned into a tradition for them. It was something Raine looked forward to every year. A single, blue paper rose was what Squall gave her every Mother's Day for nine consecutive years. With each flower made, Raine collected as they were Squall's way of showing how much he adored her. Such an act of love brought joy to her heart. In three more years, Raine would finally have that bouquet of blue roses Squall promised her years ago. But she hoped he would continue to give her blue roses regardless.
Raine wanted her collection to grow indefinitely.