Disclaimer: I do not own anything that isn't mine.


Came weekened.

Ah, weekend. It was every student's favorite part of the week; a haven after a string of tiring school days… especially in boarding academies such as Balamb Garden. During weekends, they were allowed to do anything they want freely; well, except, of course, if they were to break some grave rules of the Garden,which they were restricted from doing for their own good. Other than that, they could go out visit the local town and shop, eat, hang out, or better yet, go home to their families and stay with them until the following school week starts again.

However, Rinoa did not know any of that yet until she felt someone shaking her back like mad against her soft mattress, calling her name and telling her to wake up in a perky voice she very well knew belonged to a brunette girl with green eyes.

"Mnngg… what now… please, it's Saturday." Rinoa mumbled back.

"Exactly!" Selphie replied. "It's Saturday, and that's why we're going out!"

Rinoa turned over and lazily half-opened her eyes. "… what…?"

"We'll hang out somewhere! You know; me, you, Quistis, and everyone else!"

Rinoa finally sat up, rubbing her right eye gently as she did. "Where?"

"At Balamb, of course!" The brunette replied. "We know a café, park, restaurant, stores and whole lot of other stuffs! We'll bring you there, it's awesome at Balamb!"

"It's not as awesome as you say it is, really." said Quistis, who just got out of the shower. A towel was wrapped around her torso, and another was wrapped around her head. She nodded at Rinoa in a greeting and smiled. "Good morning Rin."

Selphie pouted. "Oh yes it is! Compared to this prison…"

The blond one only shrugged. "I guess it's still something."

Rinoa winced sleepily while she turned back and forth at Selphie and Quistis. After listening to the discouraging words Quistis said while her body was still adjusting from sleep in the early morning, lying on her bed and closing her eyes to peaceful slumber sounded a bit better.

The brunette turned back to Rinoa. "I promise you it'll be fun!"

Rinoa nodded doubtfully. "Uh huh…"

"So take a shower now!" Selphie pushed Rinoa a bit at the edge of her bed.

Rinoa shook her head and only giggled at Selphie's hyper state before finally stepping out of her bed and walking into the bathroom a bit unsteadily.

Was it even possible for Balamb Garden to be this chaotic? Rinoa thought. And indeed, it was worth pondering on, as she and her roommates passed by the halls full of students; groups plomped on the floor as they seemingly worked on a project, friends or enemies running after each other, girls shouting and giggling, card enthusiasts playing a complicated card game… it was as if they were taking advantage of whatever freedom they were blessed with. Not even the President of the student council that was Quistis reacted to it.

"Hey prettiest!" Seifer, who suddenly appeared out of nowhere, coolly wrapped an arm around Quistis' shoulder. "Let's go on a date. What do you say?"

Even the leader of the disciplinary committee had been participating in the chaos.

"I don't like to go on a date with you, thank you very much." Quistis retorted coldly, shoving Seifer's arm off her. "And both you and I know I am not the prettiest."

"Ooooh…" Selphie and Rinoa taunted in unison.

"Selphie!" Irvine called through the crowd as he walked to the group with his arms wide open. "Honey! Darling!"

Selphie giggled and ran to him, embracing him. "Good morning Smoochy Woozy!"

"Yo!" Zell, who was walking by Tidus, yelled at the group. Tidus faked a salute. "'sup?"

Rinoa smiled at the two. She never met Tidus before but she was amused with his close resemblance to Zell. Together they looked almost like twins, with different preferences for their hairstyles.

"We're going to Balamb! You guys wanna come?" Selphie replied.

"Sure!" Tidus and Zell replied in unison.

"May we can come too?" Another familiar voice from behind said. Rinoa turned to it and saw Cloud walking closer to her. He placed a hand on Rinoa's shoulder and smiled at her. "Hey Rinoa."

She smiled back with a wider one. "Hey Cloud."

The blond nodded and walked past her to Tidus and Zell's direction. Rinoa caught a glimpse of the two strange girls from yesterday who took a picture of her with Squall, both of whom turned red while shaking and wearing a smile that reached their ears.

Rinoa shook her head and ignored them before turning her attention back to her friends.

"Rinoa." Someone called from her back. Rinoa turned around and saw Squall standing right next to her, his blue eyes fixed on her brown ones the moment they turned to him. "Do you want to use this day to practice?" he asked.

"Uh…" Rinoa reflected on his question before replying more sensibly. "That would be okay too but," She turned back to her friends then back to Squall. "don't you want to come with them?" Rinoa asked him a bit awkwardly.

Squall shook his head. "Not really, no."

"Oh." Rinoa nodded slightly before looking back at him. She didn't want to drop out on her friends' invitation, nor did she want to miss the chance to see the town of Balamb for the first time with them. But then, Squall was right; practice was something they needed, and using that free day for it would be a good idea.

Rinoa sighed. Stupid argument. Stupid punishment.

"Well, okay, I guess." Rinoa finally replied. "Just let me tell Quistis and Selphie that I won't be coming. I promised this day for them."

"Tell us what, Rin?" Quistis asked as she tried to ignore Seifer continuous flattering remarks on her.

"Tell who?" Selphie asked while still under her boyfriend's arm.

Rinoa, for some reason, felt she was cornered a great deal, especially after when the rest of the group began to step closer to her in curiosity. "Well, that-I-I mean-we, Squall and I, have to practice, and we can't come with you guys today."

"What?"

"No! Rin…"

"C'mon Squall, this is just one day. You guys still have tomorrow to practice." Said Tidus.

"Just give it a rest for today." Irvine said. "I'm sure even Rinoa wants to come with us."

Squall turned to Rinoa, who looked back at him. "You do?"

Rinoa paused as she looked intently in his eyes. Then, she finally nodded.

The brunette sighed in defeat. He didn't want to be a killjoy AND deprive Rinoa from something so trivial. "Alright, alright."

Rinoa's face brightened. "Really?"

"Wooohoo!" cheered Zell.

"Booyaah! Balamb, here we come!" Selphie exclaimed.

"Get ready for us!" Seifer said as he tightened his embrace around Quistis.

"Get. Off. Me. Please."

"I promise," Cloud grinned at Squall. "after this, she's all yours."

Squall only glared at him in reply.

"Whatever."

Selphie pulled Rinoa from Squall's sight and skipped their way farther from the men, arms locked.

As Cloud and his other companions passed by him to follow the girls' group, Squall stood there, on his same spot, staring as they went. Irvine, cooly walking to follow the rest, halted by Squall's side and casually placed an arm on his shoulder, blowing a low whistle.

"Man, I never knew you'll give in with just one look. And one look from her was all it takes to make Squall Leonhart say 'yes'."

Squall sighed crossly. "Why do you need an entourage for your date, Irvine?"

Irvine lifted his hand from Squall shoulder, who glanced at him with a deadly glare. "What are you talking about?"

Squall waved his hand dismissively before walking away.


Balamb came to Rinoa as a surprise.

It was nothing like Deling, of course, where rows and rows of restaurants and stores had made the place the shopping attraction in the world. But the town of Balamb, the simple town where her school was located, was nothing like it. Possibly even the complete opposite of the kind of city she grew up with.

There were a few stores here and there, a simple café, a five-star hotel at the southern part of the place, and two sophisticated restaurants. The houses were not as grandeur, and the dwellers looked simple as well (in Rinoa's honest opinion, though, she looked overdressed with her long, dark-blue cashmere coat, black boots, and a particularly expensive beanie on her head). Children were playing on the spacious streets of the place, throwing snowballs at each other and climbing trees that were surprisingly present.

And amazingly enough, Balamb was exactly the place Rinoa wanted to live in.

"Wow…" she whispered a bit subtly.

"Liking it so far?" Quistis asked.

Rinoa nodded. "I love it here already!"

Selphie skipped in front of her and winked playfully. "Wait 'til you see the playground."

"Where is it?"

"Right over there!" Zell replied.

"Where? I can't see it." Rinoa said.

"Oh, wait. That's the tomb of the uknow… Err, never mind."

"Tomb of what?"

"Yeah."

"You didn't really answer my question. And that's quite strange for being mistaken as a playground."

"No it isn't. The brothers play there all the time."

"Shut up, chickenwuss." Seifer finally butt in.

"Or roosterwuss." Tidus jokingly corrected before laughing out loudly… alone.

"I know you're trying something there Tidus, but it doesn't sound funny at all." Cloud said nonchalantly.

"Aww, dude, gimme a break!" Tidus complained.

Cloud shrugged. "Can't look bad to the ladies here so, sorry."

"And that is what you call a true friendship." Quistis whispered sarcastically.

"You guys hungry?" Zell asked, brushing off Tidus' follow-up joke. "We haven't eaten anything this morning yet."


They finally reached the playground which Selphie so easily found after they grabbed their own foods. It was not too small, nor too big for twenty or more children to play in. But it was just right for a group of nine teenagers.

While the others (except for Squall) took the see-saws and slides, Rinoa chose a simple swing that was separated quite distantly from the rest. There, she sat and watched her friends play games they so enjoyed as children. Rinoa smiled with content, reflecting on how she was as a kid. Her playmates never let her win, and the only one she ran to for her bitter defeat was her mother, who taught her how to be a sport. She remembered how her little self restrained from crying and only laughed when she lost the game. She learned how to be strong.

Unconsciously, she reached for her cellphone in her pocket and took it out, stroking her thumb on its smooth cover as she stared at it contemplatively. It had been a while since she last talked to her mother. She did text her everyday just to let her know she was doing fine, and to know how the singer was doing herself with her rehearsals and concert tour. She flipped the device open and stared at the screen. No message. No missed call. No anything. She sighed.

Of course, she thought. And she decided to send a message to her mother.

She pressed a button to open the option that would let her send messages and started typing.

Hi Mom! What's up? What are you doing right now? I'm in Balamb right now, with my friends. It's amazing out here. The air is fresh, everything's clean, and the whole place is peaceful.

She then looked up to take a glance of her friends again, who strangely made the whole scenery even more tranquil.

Rinoa turned back to her phone and continued typing.

Mom, you should see what it's like here. I know you'll love this place. I do too, but I think I'll enjoy it more if you're here with me. We should come over here sometime and—

She paused and sighed. Did she sound like she was making her mother jealous? On the contrary, typing so much on the message was taking its toll on her homesickness, and she was missing her mother more and more. She missed her life before Balamb when only a short distance was separating school from her home, when she and her mom are by each other's side, never missing anything together. And ever since the week started, ever since she arrived at Balamb, the longed presence can only be gratified by mobile phones.

She rubbed her nose as her eyes continued to hold back whatever waterworks that might ruin her date with her friends. She looked away again from the screen of her phone after typing the last sentence of the message. She placed her thumb on top of the "send" button, but hesitated to press it. With her phone still flipped open, she pressed it to her lips reflectively. She watched her feet pushing herself up slightly on the swing, and she began swaying back and forth alone.

Cloud, who just finished constructing a miniature building of his dream company on a children's sandbox, noticed the lone girl with a sad look on her face. He turned to look for Squall, who was under a tree, not far from where Rinoa was, leaning on the trunk as he watched his friends wearily and bored out of his mind. The blond sighed.

Why do I always have to do everything? He asked no one silently.

He approached Tidus, who was lining up on the slides, and grabbed his shirt forcefully at the back of his neck.

"Hey! What gives?" Tidus said, almost stumbling.

Cloud stopped and nodded at Rinoa's direction.

Tidus followed his gaze and gave Cloud a confused look. "And how is that our problem?"

Cloud turned to Squall and nodded at him.

Tidus gave a knowing "Oh" and nodded understandingly. The two blonds then walked to Rinoa.

"Hey." Cloud started, and Rinoa paused to look up at the sound of his voice. "You okay?"

"Yeah, heard about you and Squall fighting." Tidus said unmindfully.

Rinoa wore a confused look. "W-what? Squall and I fought?"

"Yeah, and that's why you're so sad right now, right?" Tidus replied.

Cloud slapped his forehead.

Rinoa shook her head and gave out a perplexed "No."

"Oh." Tidus nodded dumbly.

"Actually, we're just wondering why you're all alone here on the swing." Cloud said, clearing things up. He coolly sat on another swing right beside Rinoa's, facing her.

Rinoa laughed lightly, waving her phone at Cloud. "I was just texting my mom." She then shrugged. "I miss her a lot."

"Why are you only texting her? Why don't you call her?" Tidus asked.

"Well," Rinoa looked up thoughtfully. "I wanted to, but… I don't know. She might be busy."

"Nah, I don't think she is. For your call at least. I bet she's waiting for your call so she can hear from you." said Tidus, rather cheerfully.

"Tidus is right, you know." Cloud added.

"I… I guess." Rinoa replied, glancing at her phone.


He might look like he didn't care, like always; brooding around somewhere, keeping up with his constant silence most of the time in the shadows. But he observed, like a spectator who takes it all in by heart. He may be indifferent and cold at times, but he wasn't that insensitive. Squall did notice, from his tree, of Rinoa's lonesome status on her swing as she texted her mother with obvious sadness in her eyes. It was nothing like what he saw from her when he tried to comfort her from the bullies (or, technically speaking, his aggressive fans), but somehow, what she wore at that moment was much heavier. He thought about approaching her, but uneasiness took over him when he reminded himself that a lot of his "friends" who were so fond of pestering him, tagged along in this trip. So he ended up battling between two important things which were deemed at stake at the situation; Rinoa's comfort and his reputation. He did think about them, over and over… for twenty good minutes.

It was then until he saw his two friends approached Rinoa. It was a good move, really, and they made it all easier for him. But then he felt a bit more guilty for not doing so himself before, which only added another ton of steel into his already sorry heart.

Squall looked away and pretended to watch the playground occupied by his immature friends. He did not even know how the hell he ended up agreeing to come with them. He was hoping it was not driven by his impulsive tendencies to nod, say "yes", and get it over with. Slowly, he was regretting the decision he made, and cursed himself for it. He glanced back at Rinoa, who was by this time, already surrounded so closely by his friends. She laughed with them with her eyes partly closed and her hands covering her mouth so demurely. Squall stared at the scene and wondered: is it all worth it?

Right before he could look away, as if answering his own question, a nightingale passed by. His curious eyes followed its flight as it chirped in a beautiful, natural melody. More than anything, it reminded him of Rinoa and her unforgettable voice. He felt his lips curve up subtly as he watched and listened to the bird before he was distracted by a loud call from Tidus. He turned to his direction and realized that the blond was waving at him.

"Hey!" Tidus called at him. "Hey Squall! Come over here!"

Cloud was also looking at him too, with his usual formal, but friendly stare. And as for Rinoa, well, in as much as he tried not to notice her, he realized that she was smiling at him invitingly. As if she was telling him—no, showing him that it would mean a lot to her if he would join them. And that was enough.

Squall sighed and rolled his eyes before he left his spot and began to walk. It was not a sigh of annoyance or reluctance, but rather of a show to preserve his own image and rightful reputation. It did not take him long to realize that he just left his safe, comfort zone, away from everyone, as he entered the area of vulnerability, the kind that seemed to slowly strip him off of all his defenses from the unknown. Much like how the pirates foolishly uncovered their senses and let themselves befall at the mercy of the sirens.

"Hey Squall." Rinoa offered a warm smile.

"She's going to send her mom a message." Tidus said. "Cloud and I already added something to her message. Now it's your turn."

Before Squall could react on how childish it sounded, Rinoa reached out her cellphone to Squall and asked him as nicely and sweetly as possible. "Please?"

Cloud crossed his arms and smirked. "It's just for today Squall."

The brunette sighed and took Rinoa's phone from her hands. He looked away as he thought of something to type and in a matter of seconds, the keypad on the phone started clicking under the pressure of his fingers. And when he was done, he handed the phone back to Rinoa.

"Thanks!" Rinoa smiled at him before taking her phone and read the message. And then, she paused as she stared at her phone, looking stunned.

"I'll… take a small walk for a while. I'll be right back." And with that, Squall left the group.

Cloud and Tidus looked at each other briefly before glancing at Rinoa.

"What did he type?" Tidus asked as he sat on the swing right beside Rinoa's and peeked at the message with Cloud.

Rinoa only stared at the screen on her phone as she reread every word Squall typed into the message. Surprisingly, compared to what the other two boys typed, his was particularly longer.

Hi. Don't worry about Rinoa. She's one tough girl and she got us. She'll be fine.

The third sentence was actually what captured her. She read it again for at least ten times more before a small, thankful smile formed on her lips.

"That's… quite a message." Cloud remarked.

Tidus nodded and smirked. "I'll say. He's finally breaking out of his shell! Well, almost anyway."


Two hours had passed since Rinoa sent her message to her mother. Everyone had dispersed from the playground, leaving Selphie and Irvine, and his plans with her. Seifer also left with Quistis, claiming that he had issues with the new student council, making Quistis gullible, and the rest very doubtful. Cloud and Tidus were both too nice to bring Rinoa back to her room, where she waited for both her roommates to come back.

As for Squall, he was nowhere to be found ever since after he typed in the message for her mother the singer. Cloud and Tidus assumed that he would either be roaming around the campus, or roaming around the town of Balamb. Either way, Cloud added, he should be fine. Despite that, for some reason, Rinoa felt incredibly lonely in her current status. Tidus detected this and sincerely offered his company. But Rinoa gently rejected it, not wanting to bother them anymore, especially when Tidus expressed his other plans for that day, including training with Cloud for his next blitzball game.

Rinoa glanced at her phone every now and then, anticipating her mother's reply to her message. An hour passed and still nothing, which Rinoa could only react with a sigh. She glanced at the clock to confirm that it was still early enough to do something before grabbing her room keys and stepped out of the door, heading to the music room where she hoped she could practice. She took in the cozy air as she walked, and when she reached the door to her destination, she gently pushed open and reached her hand inside habitually to turn on the lights. All before she finally realized that the room was already brightly lit.

"What…" she muttered. She looked around and alas, she caught the culprit. Sitting on a chair in the middle of the room was Squall, hid hands on a guitar, and his equally stunned eyes on Rinoa.

"Oh." Rinoa exhaled in relief. "Didn't expect to see you here."

"Hmm." Was the only reply Rinoa received from the guitarist, before he turns back to his instrument and strummed again.

Rinoa looked down as she entered the room and shrugged her coat off herself. She turned to Squall and pointed a thumb at the grand piano. "I'm going to play the piano. I hope you don't mind."

"Aren't we going to practice?" Squall suddenly asked.

Rinoa opened her mouth to respond but nothing came out. They missed so much time already and it was only responsible that they practice now that they had the chance to. Squall looked up from his guitar and to Rinoa, with the question still awaiting her reply.

"I…" Rinoa began. "I guess we can… practice now."

Squall nodded silently and looked back to his guitar while Rinoa sighed and pulled a chair near Squall before she finally sat down.

The air was just a bit awkward enough, and Squall's silent nature had made it even more inconvenient for Rinoa. She reminded herself that despite Squall's rather friendly action the other day when he pulled her out from bully troubles, and after he typed that sweet message, the sting of first impressions lasts forever. He still made her feel uneasy.

"Where were we?" Squall asked lowly.

"S-sorry?"

Squall turns to Rinoa passively. "What part of the song are we?"

"Oh." Rinoa muttered in reply. "Well…" She reached inside her pocket and took out a folded, white paper. She spread it open before she began to review her composition.

"Right. We finished the first part of the lyrics, so now we're off to-"

Suddenly, Squall grabbed the paper form her hands and scanned the words hastily with his blue eyes.

Rinoa furrowed her brows in annoyance as she watched Squall, but she remained unresponsive to his rude action.

Squall hummed lowly, almost like a groan, before giving the paper back to Rinoa, who only looked at the brunette in utter confusion. Did he like it? She wanted to know. But from the sound of his reply, it would seem a bit unfavorable. She shifted on her chair before she began to explain.

"I'm still working on it, in case you want to know. I'm working on the melody as well, hence why I went here in the first place." She said smugly.

Squall only shook his head. "This is good enough."

Rinoa narrowed her eyes. "Good enough?" She was expecting more appreciation for the work she had done for the presentation because she knew she deserved it.

Just "good enough"? The nerve of him.

But he only nodded at her tormented question. "Yeah. Good enough. Let's practice."

Rinoa crossed her arms against her chest and raised a brow. "For your information, I haven't planned on the lyrics yet."

Squall rolled is blue orbs. "It doesn't matter. We just repeat the melody. It fits the words."

The other person in the room sighed. "Alright, alright. But I still think this is because you just want to get this over with."

"Maybe." Squall replied sarcastically. "But I'm mostly worried about feeling sorry for myself in front of hundred of people just because we lack practice."

Rinoa glared at him in disbelief. "You know what, fine. Let's have it your way. I can't wait to finish this practice either anyway."

"Just sing already." Squall replied impatiently.

Rinoa glared at Squall once more before she took out her paper again, forcefully flipping it open with one hand and sang her lyrics, while the guitarist tried his best to hide the light-headed feeling Rinoa's voice was giving him, under his deadpan façade. Her voice was slowly killing him and his whole being inside him, as she unconsciously lured his soul to come out and meet her heart. It was unbelievably magical to him, and whatever it was that made him feel that way, was going deeper the more he listened to her voice.

"You know," Rinoa said, cutting off from the song. "You look better smiling."

Squall paused from his guitar and glanced up at Rinoa, only to see her head tilted slightly to the side, and wearing a smile on her face. It was only then her realized that he was smiling himself. And as soon as he did, he removed it and cleared his throat, fighting off that possible blush on his face.

"Whatever." He answered. "Just keep singing."

"See!" Rinoa pointed at him accusingly. "Now you're being grumpy again!"

"I guess you'll just have to deal with it." Squall retorted.

"You meanie." Rinoa replied, almost sticking her tongue out.

The brunette strummed his guitar, his own gesture to tell Rinoa to start singing again. Which she followed, but not before muttering a few more words of annoyance.

"Let's take a break." He finally said. Of course, after one good hour of nothing but practice, the partner decided that they ought to take a break. Squall stood up from his stool and silently walked out of the room, leaving Rinoa to watch him before shaking her head. Several days and a few practices have passed, and she still couldn't understand the guy. Nonchalantly, she reached for her phone and flipped it open, to check if her mother finally replied to her message.

Still, there was nothing.

Rinoa was beginning to wonder if she should've just called the singer to get an immediate response, as well as giving more points on the "special thought" department. Then again, her mother had been working, and she didn't want to bother her. After all, she should know what it was like to practice. Sure, signers do have breaks too, but they don't follow the same schedule for everyone.

She flipped her phone close and was about to put it inside her pocket when she felt her phone vibrate.

Mom!

Quickly, faster than a cat catching a mouse, she opened her phone and read the text message. Suddenly, her face turned from smile into a frown.


He already inserted the coin into the vendoring machine, pressed the appropriate button, and now he was only waiting for his iced tea to drop unto the hole at the bottom. When he finally heard the clank!, he reached for it and opened his can. He looked around, expecting Rinoa to appear anytime soon for a drink as well, and when he saw no sign of her, he turned back to the machine and looked for a drink she might like. She may annoy him, but that did not get in the way of his good nature. After all, he did annoy her just as much as well.

"Hmm…" he hummed thoughtfully. It amused him how he began to care about how Rinoa would think of him. Usually, in everything he did, whatever he chose to do, were all for himself. And it would be nobody's business but his.

Then, he heard a string of hasty gasps of breath, accompanied by running footsteps.

Squall turned around and finally saw Rinoa out of the room. But she wasn't heading to the machine, nor to him. She seemed to be running away from that part of the building altogether. And he wondered, why was her face so unusually pale?

"Rinoa?" Squall called, but she was already too far to hear him mutter her name. Matching Rinoa's worried look, he began to walk a few steps before he ran to follow her.

"Rinoa?" He called again, and this time, they were heading to the main hall. With Squall still following Rinoa, they turned right and entered the cafeteria where a few students were gathered in front of a television. Rinoa ran to the group and halted, turned to the television and stared at it anxiously, as if World War had just started.

It was on the news channel, showing paramedics gathered around a woman wearing a glamorous dress on a stretcher. She was unconscious, definitely. But that was not the first thing Squall noticed about the woman. Her face was covered in blood.

On the caption underneath was written the most dreaded words he hoped Rinoa would never read.

Julia Heartilly, caught in a carcrash.

The female reporter was speaking in the background, as the cameraman recorded how the singer was brought inside the ambulance van.

"… just an hour ago, as Julia and her manager were heading to the stadium for the singer's rehearsal, a truck from the intersection tried to beat the red light and smashed its way to the same car the singer was on."

Squall winced at the sound of the word "smashed" as he stared at the network's animated replay of how it happened. He quickly turned to Rinoa, whose tears were already falling from her eyes.

He looked around, expecting to see the friend who called Rinoa to tell the horrible news. It was only then he saw Quistis, standing right behind Rinoa. She reached for the poor girls' shoulders and squeezed them in unspoken comfort. She too was just as upset and shocked about the news.

Squall turned back to the television, which was already showing the apparent suspect. The truck driver, a chubby man with a closed beard and a red cap (a typical, careless and unmindful driver, in Squall's opinion), was explaining himself in a rather relaxed manner, as if proud that he almost killed a famous celebrity.

"It wasn't my fault, really." The driver said, a bit smugly. "I didn't beat the red lights, I was only doing my job. They should've seen me coming, and stopped while they can. They were the ones who were being careless."

Squall narrowed his eyes in disbelief. He turned to Rinoa to check up on her, and saw her sobbing. He could tell that the news had devastated her enough, and the statement the idiot driver made only made it all worse for her. That and her knees were giving up on her.

He turned back to the television while his fists tightened on his sides. He knew Rinoa didn't deserve it. Not one part of what happened.

Suddenly, there were panicked shouts on the background. He looked over the sound's direction and saw everyone gathering around RInoa's spot. With Quistis' terrified face most visible among the crowd, he instantly knew something was wrong with Rinoa. Without even having to drag his legs, Squall pushed himself against the crows and ran to Rinoa. And alas, he was right; the incident was too much for Rinoa to take, that she had fallen unconscious in Quistis' arms.

"Rinoa? Rinoa! Wake up!" Quistis called in her shaky voice. She looked at everyone with her pained blue eyes. "Help me!"

Squall quickly kneeled next to her. "Give her to me." He commanded in a low voice, and he reached out his arms to aid the helpless friend. He scooped Rinoa up effortlessly as he stood and took huge steps towards the exit to reach the Infirmary more hastily.

Quistis, who was towing behind, tried to catch up with Squall's quick pace, who was almost running as if his life depended on it. They left while everyone else was gathered in whispers and murmurs how they were present on the tragic moment when the most beloved daughter of Julia Heartily was not present herself on the very moment she almost lost her life.


Author's Note: I would like to thank caelumnoctis23 for that inspirational pm, to give me a big push to continue writing, and also to MonMonCandie, for giving me the drive to write, and for awlays having my back no matter what happens.

Oh, and one more thing. I'm back. XD