Disclaimers: I don't own anything from Final Fantasy VIII but this story.
A/N: First of all, a warning! I feel that this fiction might be a little risqué since it alludes to mild incest… and I say might because everyone perceives incest differently, blood relations or not. I will NOT be going into great detail of incest of any kind, just using it as the situational conflict of this entire story. Oh, and there won't really be any mentions of religion... or at least I'll try not to allude to it...
Please read to your own discretion!
Anyways, this is my first full length fiction for the FFVIII fandom and hopefully you will find this interesting. :) Came up with the idea when chatting with a good friend of mine… You know who you are! :D LOL Once again, I hope you will like this as much as I felt excited writing the first chapter! Let's hope I can do this to the end!
Please read & review! I'll love you for it! Readers without accounts can also feel free to leave me comments! It'll give me a good idea if I'm going the right way with this! Thanks in advance! ;)
"This is just another crossroad in my life.
But, for the first time, I don't know which way to go.
I've come this far because I've...fallen for you.
Now...am I just supposed to let you go?"
~ Squall Leonhart
Squall ran his small hands through the tall grass. It tickled his fingers as the slight breeze brushed passed his face. His father, Laguna, had taken both Squall and Ellone, Squall's older sister, out for a drive to Winhill earlier that day. The older man made it a point that they would be visiting Squall's deceased mother, Raine. Ellone was really excited, telling Squall that it was the place she originally grew up in before moving with a then baby Squall and Laguna to Deling City. Squall couldn't remember visiting his mother's resting place before, but they must have; he was probably still young the last time they did.
They had ended up stopping in front of what Ellone said was Raine's old house. They all stepped out of the car and Squall looked around. It was a fairly old town and very quiet. Winhill was different from the loud, socializing city of Deling where he grew up. Most of the residents either kept to themselves or didn't pay any attention to Squall's little family. However, Ellone managed to talk with some of the residents who were just as happy to see her. They continued to chat and Laguna slowly bought himself into the conversations.
A bored Squall looked around some more, not really wanting to talk with anyone at the time. He noticed that some of the townsfolk glanced at him once in a while and Squall thought it creepy. He tried his best to ignore them as he played with the blades of grass.
"Squall," Laguna called in a gentle voice. Squall stood up to see his father behind him. He had a smile on his still youthful face, but the older man looked at Squall as if he was remembering something sad. He sighed as he knelt down to Squall's level, "…You really are starting to look like her."
"Like who?" the boy asked carefully with a tilt of his head. Squall noticed his father started comparing him to someone else recently. The boy didn't mind since he knew his father was a bit of an oddball, but he began to realize that every time Laguna looked at Squall, the man looked sad. The brunette started to worry, thinking he had done something bad to Laguna. He lowered his head as he nervously asked, "Did I…do something wrong?"
Laguna raised his eyebrows in surprised, "No, no! Of course not, Squall. What makes you think that?"
"You always look…sad whenever I'm around…" Squall mumbled, not looking up.
"I see…" Laguna confirmed. He placed a hand on Squall's head and patted him. The boy glanced up then to see Laguna smile slightly. He explained softly, "Sorry Squall. I never meant to make you feel that way. No, you haven't done anything wrong. It's just…you're beginning to look like your mother."
Squall questioned inquisitively, "Mom?"
Laguna nodded with a grin, "Yeah! You have her eyes and everything! Did you know? This was the place where I first met her."
"Really?" Squall's eyes went wide. He looked around some more, imagining how life was for his parents before he was born. The little boy would have to ask Ellone about it later since she was around at that time.
His father nodded, but frowned a little, "It's also…the last place I saw her." He removed his hand from Squall's head and pointed to one of the far hills out of the small village. Squall followed his pointed direction as Laguna continued, "Your Mom's resting right over there; watching all the flowers bloom. Remember?"
Squall recalled a little bit about the flowers Laguna was talking about. He mentioned once before that they were Mom's favorites, the white lilies. The boy with blue eyes stared out to the fields asking, "Are we going to see Mom?"
"Yeah," Laguna smiled again, turning back to face Squall, "I miss her; and I bet she misses us too." Squall turned back to his father and nodded in agreement. He began to take a few steps forward, but was stopped by Laguna grabbing one of his small arms. Confused, the boy looked back at his father. Laguna sighed, "Squall, there's something I should tell you first."
"What is it?" Squall asked curiously. He noticed Laguna's voice had a hint of seriousness and it scared him. Laguna was rarely serious about most things.
Laguna placed both his hands gently on Squall's arms. He looked down to collect his thoughts before glancing at his son, "I know that it's been hard growing up with one parent Squall; and Ellone is being a great big sister. But she won't always be there…as a support."
"Dad?" Squall let out quickly. He didn't like where his father was going.
The older man continued as if Squall didn't say anything, "You see, Squall…I think it's best that there should be a…womanly figure in your life; like a mother."
Squall stiffened, "Mother?"
Laguna's eyes softened a little as he looked down slightly, "…I've met this really nice lady that I think you'll like."
"In fact, I knew her a few years ago and she hasn't changed at all."
"We've been seeing each other for a while now and I think we'll be tying the knot by the end of the month."
"But I wanted you and Ellone to meet her first. She's coming here soon so I can also introduce her to your mother. I know you'll like her, Squall."
Squall shrugged his father's grasp from him harshly as he continually shook his head, "NO!"
"S-Squall!" Laguna let out, concern written on his face. He reached for Squall's arm again slowly, but the boy swatted it away.
Squall looked up at him with piercing blue eyes. Tears were welling up at the corner of his eyes, but the boy was too anger to let them fall. He shouted, "You can't replace her! You can't!"
"I'm not replacing your mother, Squall," Laguna stated, his tone suggesting Squall calm down. He tried to keep his voice steady as he whispered, "No one can replace your mother…"
"But you sound like this person can!" Squall retorted spitefully, earning glances from bystanders and a worried Ellone, "Why are you marrying her!"
"Because I love her, Squall!" Laguna blurted out, no longer restraining the rise in tension he initially held back. Squall looked stunned. His father loved this woman? Did he love her…more than his dead wife? Realizing he had gone too far, Laguna took a moment to breathe. He tried connecting with his son again with an apologetic voice, "Squall, I—"
"…hate you…" Laguna froze mid-sentence to examine his son, whose head was lowered and body was trembling. The young father couldn't say any words as Squall took a few steps back. The boy looked up angrily and cried, "I hate you! I don't want anything to do with this!"
It was then that Squall dashed away from his father. He never looked back to see if he was followed because he didn't give a damn. All the motherless child could think about was how he felt so betrayed by his own father for loving another woman.
But maybe it wasn't Laguna fault. Dad was only looking out for me… the rational side of Squall thought. After all, he never knew his own mother personally; he was just a baby when she died. However, Squall's childish side just couldn't think of having another mother; even if his biological one was buried six feet under.
It took Squall a few minutes to reach the borders of Winhill and into the flower field where his mother was buried. The boy stood there for a while in front of his mother's grave. He didn't know why he headed there specifically, but for some reason, Squall found solace in the eerily quiet place. He was still a moment longer, reading the grave stone over and over again.
A few tears fell from his face and when the little boy tried to wipe them away, new ones replaced the old ones. He was flooding with tears and he couldn't stop crying; Squall couldn't hold it in anymore. He knelt down on his knees as he cried loudly, knowing no one would be around to see or hear him cry.
"Why did you leave?" Squall questioned to the tombstone, "Why aren't you here?" He continued asking questions he knew no one would answer. But deep down, he wished his birth mother would pop out and hold him. He wished she would sooth him with a motherly voice he had heard other kids' moms talk with. He wished so badly to have his own mother love him.
"Mommy…Mommy!" Squall cried out in loud sniffles against his hands.
Suddenly, the boy felt a body pressing against his back as little arms wrapped around his crying form. The mysterious arms couldn't enclose around his body, but Squall still found the warmth encircling him fully.
The little boy lifted his face out of his hands to look at the uninvited company. It was there that he saw a girl around his age hugging him from behind. Squall was surprised she was even there. With a shaky voice, he quietly asked, "W-who…are y-you?"
The little girl glanced at Squall and smiled softly. It made Squall stop tearing a little as he saw her radiant face. Her smile was almost that of an angel's. The little girl removed herself from Squall and sat beside him in front of Raine's resting place. Squall watched every little thing she did as she tried to read the grave stone. Tilting her head slightly, she asked Squall, "Rain…Loir-e?"
Squall was a little annoyed that she answered with a question, but he nodded. He turned to face the slab of stone as he wiped off the remaining tears on his face. Squall would cry, but not so much in front of others. He lowered his head before snapping it back up when he heard the girl clap her hands together. Squall watched her intriguingly as she placed her small hands together in a praying gesture and closed her eyes.
"Dear Rain Loir-e, if you can hear me, then please know that someone is here to see you. His name is…" she opened one eye to peek at Squall and whispered without breaking her posture, "Quick! What's your name?"
The brunette was again irritated that she asked him who he was when he asked first, but he began not to care anymore, "…Squall."
She smiled in thanks before closing her eye and continued, "His name is Squall and he's here to see you! Squall misses you very much, so can you please come and comfort him, Miss Rain? If you can watch over Squall too, we will be really grateful! Rest in peace, and know that Squall loves you very much!"
Squall was gawking at the girl sitting beside him. What was she doing? The little girl was talking to his mother but…she didn't know Raine right? When she finished her monologue, the girl turned to Squall and smiled brightly, "She knows now!"
"Why did you…?" Squall let out confused. He's never seen anyone his age do something so…childish. This girl did know no one was going to answer her awkward confession…right? Not only that, she put words in Squall's mouth.
"It's so Miss Rain knows you're lonely. She'll come and watch over you now; so please, no more crying, 'kay?" the girl explained, reaching out to pet Squall's head in comfort.
Squall never liked being touched by people he didn't know, but for some reason, he found comfort within the girl's gentle caresses. Before he even knew it, Squall began expressing his situation, "…My Dad is getting married…"
"Hmm?" the girl replied, encouraging Squall to go on.
Reluctantly, he did, "I ran away... 'cause I didn't want a new mom. But my Mom isn't even around anymore…I think my Dad hates me now." It was quiet for a moment before the girl removed her hand from Squall's head. The boy gazed up to see the girl looking at the sky in thought.
I wonder what she's thinking… Squall contemplated curiously. To him, the girl really did look like an angel with her hair flying gently in the wind. And her blue dress made her seem so…surreal.
Feeling eyes on her, the girl looked back at Squall and beamed sweetly. Squall tried to hide a blush as she said, "I don't think your daddy hates you."
Surprised, Squall asked, "How do you know?"
"Because you're daddy told you about her right?" the girl questioned. She saw Squall's reaction and continued, "If he wanted to share, then he knows the new lady will be nice around you and that you'll probably be happy with her too. Your daddy trusts you!"
Squall lowered his head. Did his Dad think like this? Of course he did; Laguna always looked out for Squall and Ellone. The childish adult always made sure Squall and Ellone were happy with no arguments, so why couldn't Laguna be happy too? If this lady made Dad happy, then Squall should be happy for him, right?
"But I'm…I'm scared. What if I forget about my real Mommy? Then she'd be so…lonely…" Squall never looked up at the girl, afraid to meet her eyes. However, she grabbed both of his hands in hers and surprised Squall. The boy lifted his head high enough for the girl to plant a sweet kiss on his forehead. Squall was shocked as he stared and blushed furiously at her.
No words escaped him as she just stood there smiling and hands linked together with his. "A kiss is all you need," she placed another soft kiss on the tip of Squall's nose before continuing, "That will give you the courage to face her… But if you still feel lonely and scared, wish on a starry night! I know you'll be okay, Squall. Be brave!"
Squall slowly relaxed as his gaze softened. He felt as if this girl was an angel sent from above; sent to comfort him. He was afraid that once he closed his eyes, she would disappear. Right there and then, Squall wanted nothing else in the world then her presence beside him.
He tightened his grip on her hands as he blushed, "…Thank you…"
Her giggles made Squall's heart beat faster, "Your welcome, Squall!"
Squall smiled gently as he held the girls hands, I wonder if we can be like this…forever? I—
"Oh!" the girl exclaimed, looking behind her, "I have to go now. I promised my Mommy I'd be back!" She tried to release her hands from Squall's, but he held them firmly. Confused, she looked at him with a questioning gaze.
Squall, who looked at her with insecurity, asked nervously, "Can I…see you again?"
She lightened her gaze, "Of course!" Squall lowered his head as he nodded and loosened his grip on the little girl's hands. She slowly slipped out of them as she began running down the hill.
Squall watched her go, but remembered the only important question he hadn't asked her. Running a few steps forward, he shouted down the hill, "What's your name?"
The little girl twirled around as she smiled up at him. Placing her hands behind her back and walking backwards slowly, she shouted back, "Rinoa!"
Rinoa… Squall repeated. He nodded and smiled, waving, "I'll come see you again…Rinoa!"
Rinoa waved back before running off, "Bye, Squall!"
And then she was gone. Squall stood there on the hill a little longer, memorizing Rinoa's tiny form in his mind. He really wished to see her soon. Something about her made Squall feel comforted both inside and out.
Squall returned to where his family was shortly after parting ways with Rinoa. Laguna ran up to him with a worried expression as he repeatedly asked if he was okay. The little boy only nodded his head as he tried to calm his father down.
Laguna persisted, but settled down after a while. They stood in complete silence before Laguna whispered slightly, "Squall…about earlier—"
"I'm sorry about earlier, Dad… Can I meet her?" Squall cut in with a surprisingly calm tone. He thought he would sound a lot more nervous, but the advice Rinoa gave him earlier was really helping. Squall would trust his father if the man believed this woman would bring him happiness. The boy would make an effort to get to know his father's new wife-to-be. Squall assumed his mother would want everyone to be happy; even if it meant Laguna being with another lady.
Laguna was a bit surprised, but smiled down at his son in understanding. He coughed to shake away the laugh he suppressed and answering Squall, "She's inside with Ellone. Let's say 'hi' okay?"
Squall nodded as he held on to his father's offered palm. They made their way to Raine's old pub. As they entered the door, laughter could be heard. Squall looked towards the bar counter and saw his older sister sitting on the bar stools beside an older, more sophisticated looking lady. She had shoulder length black hair and a slim figure. She looked very young for her age, which surprised Squall who thought she would look older. Her mannerisms were very polite.
She laughed against the back of her hand when Ellone said something funny, then glanced at Laguna when she saw him coming in. She smiled at him before switching her focus on the boy he walked in with. The lady asked gently, "He came back?"
"Yeah!" Laguna grinned. The father and son duo stopped in front of the girls, Laguna looking down at Squall who was standing behind him slightly. Laguna smiled as he introduced, "Julia, this is my son, Squall."
Squall looked down before shyly raising his head up to look at the woman Laguna would be marrying. He met chestnut eyes and she smiled sweetly at him. Squall thought she was very pretty, but she also looked a little familiar… He pushed the thoughts at the back of his mind as he bravely stepped forward quietly. Releasing his father's hand, he shyly greeted, "…Hello…"
Getting out of her seat, Julia knelt down to better greet Squall. Julia's smile never left her face as she offered her hand, "It's nice to meet you, Squall. You're dad has told me so many things about you!"
Laguna fake coughed as he looked away, "Julia please; not in front of Squall!"
Squall smiled up at his father slightly before turning to the nice lady to shake her hand. He added, "…Same here… Dad really loves you."
"S-Squall!" Laguna blushed as Julia giggled at him. Squall could see that Julia really cared for his father. Nothing about her seemed mean or misleading. And she really did feel…motherly.
"Umm…." Squall mumbled. Julia glanced at Squall curiously as he continued, "Please take care of my Dad. He's a really good guy who tucks me in at night and plays with me when I'm lonely. Oh! And he also knows what kinds of food I like to eat…" Squall continued to mention the good points about his father, but he was also beginning to lower his head to the floor in embarrassment. He never talked so much about anyone in one shot!
Feeling a gentle hand on his head, Squall looked up to see Julia's soft gaze. She began stroking his hair as she replied, "I'm glad to know your father's a great man. I'm very lucky to be with him. Of course, I'm also happy to know he has such a great son."
Squall blushed a little. Yes; she was definitely a good person. The little boy was already beginning to warm up to her. She felt so…loving; and he liked it. Miss Julia wouldn't replace his mother; that he knew, but Squall would finally be able to have that sense of being loved by two parents. With the way Julia acted, Squall felt comfortable with her. However, there was still something about her that was so familiar….
"By the way," Laguna interceded, now that the conversation wasn't about him anymore, "Julia, didn't you say you had a daughter? Where is she? She came back right?"
"Oh! She did, but I think she stopped by the back because there were flowers there," Julia explained, now standing up to face Laguna, "I think she'll be back soon."
Squall looked between the two adults and then to his sister confused. Ellone beamed at Squall and whispered from her seat, "Miss Julia has a daughter that's around your age. She's a little outgoing and she might balance you out, Squall!"
Right…'cause I need that, Squall rolled his eyes. Shortly after, the group heard a rattling from the front door of the pub.
Julia smiled, "Ah; that must be my little princess." She walked over gracefully and opened the door. Squall eyes grew wide as he saw Julia's daughter: short raven hair, big chocolate brown eyes, blue sun dress, and the smile of an angel.
The little girl glimpsed at Squall and smiled brightly with that ever angelic smile. She and Julia walked up to the Loire family. Julia had her hands on her daughter's shoulders as she kneeled down and introduced, "Everyone, I'd like you to meet my daughter, Rinoa."
Squall just continued to blank out as Ellone waved to Rinoa, "Hi! I'm Ellone and that's my little brother Squall. It's nice to meet you Rinoa!"
Rinoa smiled with a slight bow, "It's nice to meet you too."
This was too strange for him. Squall could see the similarities between Julia and Rinoa, but something about all this made him uncomfortable. Squall wasn't sure what the feeling was, but Rinoa was making everything complicated. If Rinoa was Julia's daughter, then that meant…
Laguna grinned as he kneeled beside Squall like Julia to Rinoa. He looked at his son, assuming Squall's confusion came from who the little girl was in general, "You get to be a big brother once Julia and I are married, Squall. Rinoa's going to be your new little sister!"
Seven Years Later…
"Sir, would you like something to drink?" asked the female train attendant.
Squall lifted his head off the train window to look at the attendant. She had a cart full of beverages out in the hallway and she was ready to serve Squall whatever drink he'd like. The brunette, who was the only person in the private car, shook his head, "No, not at the moment, thanks. But do you happen to know how long until we reach Esthar City?"
The attendant looked down at her wrist watch and then back at Squall with a smile, "We will be there in about an hour, sir. Can't wait to go home?"
That is a big understatement, Squall deadpanned inwardly. He placed a façade of a smile on his face answering, "Yes; it's about time I went back."
"We get many patrons like that," giggled the attendant. She began to make her rounds again after stating to Squall, "But I'm sure it's not only home you miss, sir."
That wasn't far from the true. Squall not only wanted to go home, he really missed his family. Studying abroad in Galbadia for six months really put a strain on Squall. He never felt homesick, but as the days came closer that he would return to Esthar, the feeling began to sink in. Squall couldn't wait to be with his family again. But as much as he missed his family as a whole, Squall missed someone that stood at the top of his list…
Squall's cell phone vibrated and pinged in his jacket. The brunette dug through his pocket to pull out the device. Squall received a text message that read:
R u pulling up soon? It's been 6hrs, rite?
Well whatever. Txt back, k? Dad is getting worried!
Miss u Squall!
A small chuckle escaped Squall as he read the message. No matter how many times he told her, Rinoa still decided to message Squall with informal jargon. He shook his head with a smile as he flipped open the texting keyboard of his phone, replying:
Will be there in an hour. Tell him to calm down.
He waited for a response. It came within a few seconds:
Squall knew exactly what Rinoa wanted to hear (or in this case read), but the brunette decided to tease her:
Next time, write in proper grammar.
There was another moment of silence before he received another message. Squall read it and smirked with victory. She wrote:
It was a typical answer from Rinoa and deep down, Squall liked teasing her just so she could use the "offending" term on him. Of course, actually hearing it was better than reading it he thought.
Squall didn't write back a reply, knowing it was not needed. Rinoa was only checking in for Laguna's sake. That's how she was; she always looking out for other people.
Rinoa… Squall sighed as he leaned back into his seat.
He missed her. Rinoa was Squall's most missed person out of anyone in his family. Nevertheless, Squall held everyone in his family with such value.
His father Laguna, as Squall began to realize as he got older, was a like a big kid. But he was reliable and put his heart to anything he set his mind to. Although Squall wouldn't admit it to anyone, he really looked up to his father for strength and courage. It was the things that made Laguna…well, "Laguna."
And then there was Ellone, his older sister. Even if they weren't related by blood, Squall would always see her as his sister. Although Ellone lived on-campus at the University of Esthar, it never stopped Squall from confiding his problems in her. Ellone was always so understanding; even if she still treated Squall like her baby brother.
Julia, Laguna's wife, was someone Squall liked to think of as his second mother. Although he's never called her mother by term, Squall was captured by her maternal skills. Squall regarded Julia in such high respect, that it surprised him how attached he had gotten to her over the years. Even though she could never replace Raine in Squall's mind, she was still someone Squall would consider as family.
Finally, there was Rinoa. While Squall and Rinoa were close in age, they were opposites in virtually everything. Squall liked his solitude; Rinoa liked her circle of friends. Squall preferred strategy while Rinoa followed her heart. Opposites, yet Squall and Rinoa complemented each other. Rinoa helped Squall become a little more expressive while Squall helped Rinoa become more sensible. They were attached to one another and were inseparably growing up.
When Rinoa found out Squall was leaving on an excursion for six months to Deling City, she literally threw a fit. Squall had to be the one to calm her down, saying he'd keep in touch. And he had; although most communication was almost always through Rinoa. She was his special person…his sister.
Squall frowned slightly as he slumped in his seat, resting the side of his head against the glass window. His blue eyes stared down at Rinoa's last message. Even though they lived liked siblings, Squall not once acknowledged Rinoa herself as his sister, blood-related or not. A very close friend yes, but never as his sister. Ever since their parents married, Squall honestly couldn't see Rinoa as his sister; and it was hard for him.
As they grew up together, Squall continued to see Rinoa in a different light. To him, the little girl he once played with began transforming into a beautiful young woman who started drifting out of Squall's reach. Every time he looked at her, his heart stopped. Whenever Rinoa laughed happily or teased him affectionately, Squall couldn't help but feel lucky to be with her. The young man knew he loved Rinoa since they were kids, but as he got older, he realized that his love for her was different from the love he had for his family. Squall loved Laguna, Ellone, and Julia; but he was in love with Rinoa.
His love for Rinoa didn't stem out as a love for a family member. No, it had grown to the point where Squall loved Rinoa as a woman. Squall understood that before he knew it, he had fallen in love with her that day they met in front of Raine's resting place. However, as much as he found pleasure in loving a girl like Rinoa, his love for her carried a sin.
Their parents had married seven years ago, making Squall and Rinoa siblings in the public eye. The consequences of Squall's affections meant that he was in love with his sister; something that was rarely accepted in society as a whole and was looked upon as taboo. As a result, Squall made it his choice to conceal his feelings for Rinoa, even if that meant he had to suffer. For seven years, Squall had carried his unrequited feelings for Rinoa, but sacrificed them to keep the bonds of their family happy and his relationship with Rinoa free from impurities.
But in the end, the young man's struggles fell short and Squall found himself drowning in the bewitching feeling. Every now and then, Squall would indulge himself in his fantasies of being with Rinoa.
Holding up his phone with Rinoa's last message still open, Squall kissed the screen lightly; envisioning that one day, he would get to kiss the real person: her.