Yeah I know, I have one of these in front of like every piece I write don't I? ^^. Anyway, I know this is extrodinarily long and doesn't make much sense…but I wasn't planning on putting it up here until just recently so yeah. If nothing else give me a quick note on what you thought of it please?


I yawned softly. The stars were so bright, and it was so late. I stood on the small balcony where just that night, just hours ago during the kick off of the Garden Festival, he kissed me. It had been so perfect, so gentle, sweet, and passionate. I could feel his heart thumping. This was probably why I couldn't sleep. The kiss...

I sighed happily and leaned on the railing, which instantly broke. "Wo...AHHHHHHH!" I screamed so loud the dead would wake up and fell. Frantically I kept my arms and legs out trying to find a place to grab onto. The second floor balcony was just out of my reach. I closed my eyes remembering how this had happened when Balamb Garden was under attack, only this time there wouldn't be any odd flying soldiers that he'd end up punching out or something.

Finally I grabbed something. Although it was really only about a second or so after I fell from the railing. It was obviously a dorm, a SeeD's dorm. The double rooms weren't as big. I pounded on the window, hoping to wake the SeeD up to help me, or to at least get help!

After a minute or so, I heard a soft laugh. The window opened up and the familiar voice said: "Rinoa. Rinoa. Rinoa...Getting yourself stuck again? I suppose I have to help you?"

I looked up to see his face softly lit up. "Please?" I asked.

"And if I say no?" He smiled.

"MEANY!" I shouted at him as I had back in Timber. He laughed and picked me up from under my arms and pulled me inside to his dorm. I sat down on the chair. He closed the window and sat down on his bed stretching, apparently trying to wake up. "No, no, no. Go back to bed," I said getting up walking towards the door. I felt bad, as if I had intruded on his space. True, he was only without his shirt and jacket, but I still felt kinda bad.

"Nah," he replied throwing on his shirt. Maybe he couldn't tell that I was a little uncomfortable like this? It was kinda weird to me that he didn't think it was uncomfortable on him. "Come over here." He motioned for me to sit down on his bed next to him.

I was nervous, yes, but I figured if it was OK with him it'd be fine, so I sat down next to him. He wrapped his right arm around me rubbing my shoulder. "So how come you're up this early?"

"Oh, I can't sleep tonight. I helped Selphie and Irvine tidy up a bit, I was out on the balcony and I was leaning on the railing and it broke. I tried to grab onto the second floor balcony but it was just a little out of my reach. And I grabbed hold of your window thingy..."

"You're lucky it wasn't Zell's, he sleeps through anything," he said laughing a bit. He barely laughed, and his laugh was so much like a child's. It was like he was experimenting with himself. But his laugh was still so sweet regardless. "Actually, that scream was you wasn't it?"

"Yeah," I said blushing. He smiled and drew me a bit closer to him. Sleep suddenly came over me, but I knew I couldn't sleep here, that would...be...weird.

"Oh I see, now all of a sudden you're sleepy?" He asked teasing me a bit.

"Oh shhh you! I was wide awake and now all of a sudden I wanna sleep, like if I close my eyes I'm gonna be out."

"Won't make it to your own room?" He asked.

"I think I can," I yawned. I looked at him and noticed he was bright red. I needed to give him time; he's still getting used to trying to express himself. I just needed to stay calm and not notice. "OK then...what?"

He wrapped his other arm around me tightly and in a swift, but gentle, motion brought me down on my side on the bed. He too lied on his side and wrapped his arms around me holding me close. We were both red, but I quickly relaxed in his arms. They were so warm and caring. I knew inside he really did care about me, unlike Seifer had. I quickly drifted off to sleep. Had I ever told him about talking in my sleep? Ooops.


Quistis leaned against the door listening in on us. That little lucky bitch. She thought to herself harshly. She sighed softly. I'll get my revenge on her...somehow... She leaned against the opposite wall for a minute.

"Hey Quisty!" Selphie said running up to her.

"Hey Selphie," she replied hiding her jealousy.

"How come you're still up?"

"I couldn't sleep, so I was just wandering around really."

"So whaddya think of the Garden Festival?"

"I think you guys did an awesome job, I can't wait for the rest of it."

"Yeah, it's a great relief after Ultimecia isn't it?" Selphie asked. "Anyhoo, I'm gonna go get a little rest because I gotta be up early again tomorrow." Selphie ran down the hall into her dorm.

"That's it," Quistis whispered to herself. Ultimecia was the Sorceress, SeeD's fight the Sorceress. Would they fight Squall's girlfriend though? "Hmmm..." She walked off.


"Where am I?" I looked around down the long corridor. "Squall? Squall? Where are you?" I walked down the hall hearing my boots clank against the tiles. I suddenly began falling, but it was a small jump. Suddenly there was Ultimecia before me again.

"Kome here."

"Get away!" I backed away. She advanced towards me. I backed and began falling again.

I landed on the beach where the old orphanage was. "Squall..." I said rather desperately. I screamed for him again when I saw Ultimecia hovering over the ocean. The waves seem to come high and higher around me. I sank in the sand, until I completely slipped through.

I appeared on a high mountain. It was cold and snowy. Angelo approached me and then snapped at me. I ran as fast as I could and fell onto the roof of the Timber Maniacs in Timber. I leaned over the edge and saw Squall, me, and Quistis running over to the pub. Quistis looked up at me glaring at me, yet laughing too.

Suddenly I heard Ultimecia behind me as Griever hovered down over me slashing at me. I curled down into a small ball.


"Rinoa?" Squall quickly got up from his chair, pushing it aside, and sitting on the bed right next to me. "Hey...hey..." Not even noticing I had curled up in a small ball. He pushed a hand towards my stomach trying to get me to uncurl. I did, but I sat right up leaning onto him crying onto his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around tightly smoothing my hair down whispering to me that it would be ok. He was holding me just as he had when he saved me at the Sorceress Memorial in Esthar, only this time he held me until I had calmed down.

"Are you ok?" He asked me.

"J...just a nightmare..." I said shakily.

"Shhhh," He held me tighter obviously trying to calm me. The white fur on the hood of his jacket was so cozy, and his arms were so strong and secure. "Relax..." And I did, I sighed loudly, but I was calm, for the most part.

"What time is it?" I asked.

"Eleven," He replied.

"I slept that late?"


"What about the Garden Festival. Weren't they doing a toast to you this morning?"

"Selphie came down, she knew you had fallen and was relieved to see you in here. We'd postpone it until you were up. Besides, I had some work to do. You ok now?"

"I...I'll be fine." I stood up and walked out. I stood in the hallway shivering as Squall walked out. I felt his jacket on my shoulders.

"Yeah, it's cold in here this morning."

"And what about you?"

"I'll be fine, come on let's go to the Quad first, see if anyone's there." We walked to the Quad, and I walked close by him. I was scared from my nightmare, and his security made me feel better. I guess that's why he's my knight?

Selphie literally bumped into me while we were walking. "Good! You're finally up! Come on we're all at the Quad right now!" Selphie ran off and we followed. Irvine, Zell and Quistis greeted us. I watched Quistis a bit, and she was how she always was, fairly calm and cool. But why would I have that dream then? Maybe my imagination was going wild again.

"Awww..." Quisty said nudging me a bit. "How cute."

"Oh come on! I'm cold!!!" I giggled.

Selphie gave us champagne glasses. "A toast!" She shouted. "A toast to our Commander Squall! For leading us all the way through, and keeping our heads together even fighting Ultimecia!" We all held our glasses up then took a sip, clapping for Squall. He smiled. That adorable smile...

Everyone sat around chitchatting. The six of us sat on and around the stage. Edea and Cid joined us shortly after.

"So what's SeeD supposed to do next?" I asked.

Squall looked at Cid, but Cid just said: "When I made you the leader, that's what I did. That's what you are now."

I shivered more and turned pale. My stomach swirled as I became overcome with fear. What's SeeD to do? Cid did say the ultimate goal of SeeD was to destroy the Sorceress. But how is that possible? It's a never- ending cycle! Because if the Sorceress dies, her powers become inherited! The same thing happened from Edea to me!

I felt someone nudge me. I looked to my right to see Quistis looking at me worried. "Are you OK? You just got really pale..." Thank you for stating the obvious Sherlock.

"I'm fine..." I lied. "Where's Angelo?"

"Probably in the cafeteria," Irvine said. I nodded and got up hugging the coat tighter to me.

"Wait a second guys!" Selphie said. "Rinoa's the..."

"Shhh! Don't say it loud!" Squall interrupted her. "All of us here know it, and no one else does!"

"Sorry...But it's SeeD's mission and stuff...Maybe that's worrying her."

"She should know that I wouldn't just order all the SeeD's after her."

"Squall!" Quistis said. "Haven't you learned yet? She needs the reassurement."

"It's true," Edea said quietly. "She needs her knight."

"...ok." Squall stood up and caught up with me. I hadn't even made it out of the Quad into the hallway. "Rinoa..."


"What's wrong?"

"My nightmare..." I said walking rather mindlessly down the hall. "The only thing I remember was Ultimecia...and then at the end Quistis glared at me and laughed...Ugh..." I ran off towards the cafeteria.

But I should've known I couldn't run from a Rank A SeeD for long. He caught up with me and caught me in a bear hug, and there was nothing I could do. "Is it because of..."

"Yes...I'll admit it! Yes!"

He whispered in my ear: "Why would I send someone to hurt my angel?" His angel...? I'm not an angel; I'm a damned sorceress. A damned one at that.


Quistis listened to Irvine, Selphie, and Zell chit chatter. She wasn't paying much attention, as she was trying to find a way to let everyone know about the sorceress on board, without letting herself be known. She was at the highly respected SeeD rank of 30 and everyone knew her ties with Rinoa and Squall, so letting word out wouldn't be easy.

There was the PA system, far far too obvious. That would get her in worse trouble then just telling someone. That was always an option, going up to a random person's ear and no doubt word would get around, but she couldn't be sure if her name went around with the "rumor".

A note...that could work. She could print rather then use cursive, like she normally did. "Excuse me, I need to go to my dorm for a second."

"Ok!" Selphie said. "Come back soon!"

"Don't worry, I will." Quistis walked off towards her dorm.


Angelo ran towards me the second I walked into the cafeteria. I knelt down and hugged him and he licked my face. "Let's go," Squall said to me. "Selphie was going to show us the movie she made last night."

"Ok..." I said still nervous. He grasped my hand tightly as we walked. Angelo followed closely. Just his hand on mine, everything was ok. It made everything perfect; it was heaven for me. And when he held me, like this morning, I just melted in his arms. It was so calming, so relaxing. He must've seen me smile, because I felt his arm wrap around my waist as we walked back to the quad. Though only a moment ago he seemed in a rush to see the movie, now we were walking so slowly Angelo just plopped down on the floor.


Quistis ran into her dorm chuckling a bit. She couldn't be too mean, her heart wouldn't allow it, but jealously coursed her veins. Insane jealousy ran through her, enough to betray Rinoa and Squall like this. She sat down taking a pen and a small piece of paper. She practiced writing the print alphabet. It was sloppy, which would make things work out only better for her. No one would guess she would have such sloppy handwriting. She took a big piece of paper and began writing.

To the one who reads this,

This is no lie. Rinoa Heartilly is a Sorceress, and SeeD's job is to exterminate the Sorceress...Let us be wary of her!

I speak the truth!

She crumpled it up in her hand, put the pen back, and then left her dorm. She walked back to the quad and threw the paper at a random SeeD. She kept walking as the man turned around and picked up the paper and read it quickly. He showed the small paper to his friends and they all glanced to the girl in the blue cape with the black jacket around her.


We just chitchatted until Quistis sat back down. And Selphie turned on the movie. We saw Quistis waving and there was Cid and Edea. "Of course there's tons of Irvine!" I teased Selphie. From there Irvine took the camera and Selphie took his hat skipping around a bit. Then it went over and we saw Zell chowing down all the hotdogs he could. The small group of us watching the video chuckled as he choked and then threw a fit at everyone. Then there was a shot of Angelo and then to Squall and me. They looked at each other smiling as the low battery sign appeared.

"I can't believe we didn't catch that on tape!" Irvine shouted.

"I know! It's a special moment and we didn't get it! Darn it!" Selphie said.

"That's ok," Squall laughed as Selphie shut off the camcorder that let them watch the movie. I smiled cuddling close to him. There was nothing else to do, and I desperately needed to relax. But Angelo seemed bothered, and that worried me. I looked around and quickly became selfconscience, it was like people were staring at me, but only for a few moments, then they'd be whispering.

My eyes shot to Quistis for some reason, though she wasn't looking at me. I got really nervous and just ran out of the Quad sitting down on the bench outside. Within a few minutes Squall, Selphie, and Irvine ran out Zell was trailing behind a bit but talking to some other SeeDs.

"Rinoa?" Squall asked sitting beside me.

"I got spooked..."

"Why?" Irvine asked.

"Didn't you see? It was like everyone was staring at me!"

"Nonsense!" Selphie said.

"They were! And then they were whispering. Angelo got uncomfortable too...it wasn't just me..."

"Squall! Squall!" XU came running from the Quad towards the group. Zell followed her curiously. "I just heard a rumor..." She said looking at me, "That she's the Sorceress."

My jaw dropped as I clutched his jacket for a bit of comfort. Squall and everyone just stared at Xu. I gulped and backed away towards Squall. "Squall? Rinoa? Selphie? Irvine? Zell? Is this true?"

I couldn't say anything. I couldn't do anything. I was too scared. My secret had gotten out. That's why everyone was staring at me. Because someone ratted out on me, and told everyone that I'm the Sorceress. "Squall..." I whispered rather weakly looking at him.

"Yes Xu it is." Squall said standing up. "But there's going to be no action taken against her."

"Excuse me, but-"

"Xu, c`mon!" Zell said. "She hasn't even done anything!" Xu just nodded walking back into the quad.

Quistis came out. "What happened? I was talking to Nadi and all of a sudden I hear rumors flying that Rinoa's the Sorceress..."

I looked down and buried my face into my hands crying. "Somehow they found out...and......." I ran as fast as I could towards the dorms and went into my own dorm next to Squall's, which he had allowed me to have even though I wasn't a SeeD. "A SeeD..." I sat down on my bed and Angelo plopped down on the floor. I lied down on my bed burying my head into my pillow crying. This, I knew, would be when my life turned upside down.

"If I find out that any of you four told, you're getting kicked out of the Garden. Rinoa's our friend...and someone ratted out on her..." Squall said. "If you'll excuse me..."

"Go ahead Squall. We'll do our best to find out who did!" Selphie said. "I won't let you or Rinoa down!"

"Count me in with Selphie!" Irvine said.

"Me too!" Zell said.

"As well as me," Quistis said. "Worry about Rinoa ok?" Squall nodded and ran off towards the dorms.

"Come on guys!" Selphie said. "Split up. Find anything you can!" Everyone nodded and ran off in different directions.

I heard a knock on my door. "Rinoa? Can I come in?"

"Yes..." I cried out pitifully weak.

He sat down on the bed with me. "You'll be Ok..."


"Shhh. You'll be ok. I promise. I'm here." He wrapped his arms around me. I couldn't do anything but cry; I felt so weak. "Nobody will hurt you."

"But everyone's found out..."

"I know, but it'll be OK. You haven't done anything to hurt them. I'll make sure you're OK."

"But SeeDs..."

"Stop it. No one's going to hurt you. Just stay close to me."

"Just stay close to me." That's what he told me back in Deling City too... But I didn't want him to have to make a decision between me and his job...

There was a knock at the door. I sat up and dried my eyes as Squall went and opened it. Dr. Kadowaki walked in. "Have you heard it too?" He asked.

"I already knew..." She said sitting down in a chair. Squall sat down next to me.

"What's everyone saying?" I asked.

"No one knows what to do. It's a confusing thing for them. Most people think it's just a rumor. 'How can the leader of SeeDs be in love with the Sorceress?' is mostly what I've been hearing." I sighed and looked down. "Xu's been going around trying to tell everyone it's true, but that she hasn't done anything."

"The way she seemed she wanted to wreck some havoc..." Squall said.

"You've got her wrong Squall," She replied. "Xu's very loyal and respects you a great deal. Everyone does. Which is why I think it'll be ok. But right now there's a lot of confusion. Selphie's making a lot of announcements. You should be down there too you know."

I looked at Squall and he nodded. "Just stay close to me, nothing'll happen I promise."

"Ok," I said. We walked out towards the quad. Squall held my hand as we walked. It helped me, at least a bit.

"Squall!" Quistis said running up to us. "Come quickly there's a fight breaking out among the SeeDs! Selphie's trying her best to break up the fight..."

Squall didn't need to hear more. He looked to Quistis and Dr. Kadowaki and said: "Watch her for me."

"We'll be right behind you," Quistis said.

We dashed into the quad. Squall jumped to the lower level in the middle of the argument he had his gunblade out but that was mostly just to help him when he landed. Quistis, Dr. Kadowaki, and I watched from the upper level with a few other SeeDs and a couple junior classmen.

"What are you doing!" A hotheaded SeeD shouted at Squall. "We can't have the Sorceress as our ally!"

"She hasn't done anything!" Squall shouted back putting his gunblade away. "And she won't! She's got her knight here!"

"So you're just her knight. Big deal." A female SeeD said rather rudely.

"You don't know what a knight does for her Sorceress do you?" Quistis said walking down. I wanted to follow her, but I my legs were frozen with fear. "Don't you know the old fairy tales of knights protecting their princess? It's basically the same thing. Rinoa won't do anything because Squall's protecting her."

"Yeah but what about Seifer? Wasn't Seifer supposed to be Edea's Knight?" The first SeeD said.

"She was mind controlled!" Zell said.

"No Zell...stupid..." I muttered.

"So the same could happen to Rinoa!" Another SeeD shouted angrily. Squall looked at me. I could see in his eyes he didn't know how to counter it.

"Hang on here," Edea said walking into the middle of the circle. Squall stepped aside to let her speak. "I was away from my knight for so long. As long as Rinoa's with Squall, nothing will happen."

Xu clapped her hands twice to get everyone's attention. "Enough. Today's festivities are canceled. Get to homeroom then go to your normal class as you would now. We'll see how things go tomorrow." The students and instructors walked off to their classrooms. The SeeDs also followed, whether they left on their own will, or dragged out by their friends.

After the majority of them had passed me, I ran down standing by Squall as Cid, Irvine, and Selphie gathered around Squall, me, Edea, Zell, and Xu.

"This is really starting to suck..." I said quietly.

"It'll blow over in a bit," Xu said. I looked at Squall. He had that frown on again. He knew the real truth, but I guess those words I said to him when we were heading to Galbadia Garden after we escaped Timber sunk in.

"No it won't," I said for Squall, knowing that's what he was thinking.

"If it won't we'll make it," Squall said. "I think things'll go back to normal though."

"Darn...there had been some hope for the Garden Festival...but poof..." Selphie said bummed. I closed my eyes and looked down. This was all my fault. I had to fall in love. I had to be a Sorceress. But somebody told! Who would've told?

"Well, I guess now that it's back to the normal schedule, we should get back into ours...?" Zell asked.

"Yeah," Selphie said looking to Irvine. "You gotta get to YOUR class now!"

"Well you two need to get to your Instructor training things don't you?" Zell asked looking at Selphie and Quistis. I didn't know that Quistis was going back for her Instructor license...And Selphie? I couldn't see Selphie as an Instructor.

"Yeah, but Xu does that!" Selphie countered pointing at her.

Xu laughed a bit. "Come on then, let's get Irvine to his class and start the Instructor Training. Zell don't you think you should be helping Irvine?"

"Wha...? Tch. Fine." The five walked off taking the elevator upstairs.

Dr. Kadowaki walked down towards us. "What should I do to clean this up?" Squall asked confused.

"I hate to say it, but maybe the Garden Festival this year won't work out," Dr. Kadowaki said.

"Selphie'd be really bummed. She worked so hard to get this done at the last minute," I said.

"I know, but this is how it goes..." Squall said. "We'll see how things go today and tomorrow and decide from there. But I guess if we're going back to the normal schedule, I've got work to do."

"As do Cid and I," Dr. Kadowaki said leaving the quad. Cid and Edea began leaving. As Edea was walking up the stairs she turned to me and said. "I'd like to see you later tonight ok?" I nodded.

"So you're gonna hang around with me?" Squall asked. I hugged him snuggling close to him and he wrapped his arms around me holding me there. "I take it as a yes?" He smiled a bit. After he let go I took the jacket off and handed it to him, even though I was still a bit cool. He noticed the few goose bumps and wrapped it around me again. "I'm fine, don't worry about me. I gotta stop by my dorm for a second and then gotta work with Cid and later Xu..."

"Can I tag along?" I asked wearily. I was afraid to go anywhere without him. What if they did something to me? I really couldn't fight them back. If I did it would only instigate more fighting, probably equaling a civil war inside of Balamb.

"Sure," he said softly taking my hand as we left the quad. As we walked down the hallway towards the dorms, people passing by would just stare at me, or snicker at me. I felt so helpless. Wasn't there anything I could do?

We walked into his dorm and he got his SeeD jacket throwing it on. "I'm cold too," he laughed.

"I offered to give this back to you!"

"That's Ok, I don't mind wearing this. We might have a representative from Esthar, I doubt Laguna's coming. But either way there's a visitor from Esthar today, so I'd have to wear it anyway. All right, let's go." As we walked towards the elevator he held my hand tightly. I tried to ignore the glares and snickers, and I did my best to.

Nida ran towards us. "Squall! Cid wants you to greet the Esthar representative. They're on the White SeeD ship up on the second floor balcony!"

"All right. Come on Rinoa." The three of us went up the elevator, Squall and I getting off at the second floor while Nida went back to the third.

As we ran towards the balcony I stopped. Squall turned around wanting me to explain. "Do you think they'll want to take me again? I mean...me being the Sorceress and everything."

"They might," Squall said. "But I won't let them ok?"

"Thanks..." I said softly taking his hand. He smiled and opened the door and we walked onto the balcony. I looked over the balcony and quickly called Squall over as Laguna and Ellone waved to me. I waved back as Squall rolled down the ladder to let them onboard.

"Got all official just for us?" Ellone asked once on board.

"Well..." Squall said. "We weren't expecting you and Laguna."

"Yeah, it was last minute actually," Laguna explained. "Kiros and Ward took over something for me.

"If you don't mind me asking..." I said rather insecurely as Squall rolled the ladder back up. "This isn't about me is it?"

"Nope," Laguna said. "Don't worry, we trust Squall's taking care of you."

"Well," I smiled. "He is!"

We glanced at Squall who was blushing a little. "Come on, Cid's waiting for us." We walked together to the elevator and up to the third floor. I felt relaxed being around Squall, Ellone, and Laguna. They were all people I knew fairly well. I knew if something were to happen, they would be quick to help and protect me.

As soon as we arrived at the 3rd floor, Cid greeted us and invited us to sit down. Cid, Squall, and I sat down in the chairs and Laguna and Ellone sat across from us. "So you came about the Sorceress?" Cid asked. "That's what I was told."

My jaw dropped as Squall's eyes flared up. "Wow...Relax..." Laguna said. "Like I said, this has nothing to do with Rinoa. I don't know who told you that."

"Do you think it was Dr. Odine?" Ellone asked looking at Laguna. "He's been talking about it so much lately."

"Me?" I asked calming down. "Why?"

"His research," Ellone and Laguna said together.

"Ever since you guys came, he's been obsessed with the Sorceress' powers. He just stays in his lab all day babbling nonsensically about you," Laguna continued. "Nobody can get him to snap out of it."

"So then, let's get to business," Cid said. "What would you like then?"

"Well, Esthar's army's been exhausted, and we've been overrun by monsters left over from the Lunatic Pandora incident. Basically we've had Behemoths...and Iron Giants...and Toromas all over the city. It's unsafe to even step outside for a moment!" Laguna used his hands often to add onto his words. I giggled a little when he said Toromas because he made little antennas. "We were hoping that SeeDs could help us."

"I see..." Cid replied. "We'll talk to Xu afterwards, and see what's going on."

"Do you think it'll be a problem if we stay here?" Ellone asked. "The SeeDs were only bringing us, they had to go somewhere else...I don't remember where..."

"There's no problem," Cid replied.

"Thank you. If you don't mind, can we go down to the library Laguna?"

"Sure," Laguna replied as they walked to the elevator.

"Should I start working on it?" Squall asked.

"Not yet," Cid replied. "We'll wait for Xu to get her input. I don't believe she'll have a problem with dispatching SeeDs out. But whether this'll be a SeeD exam or not will depend on hers and Quistis' reports. Why don't you two relax now, and I'll send for you when we're ready."

Squall gave Cid the traditional SeeD salute and started walking towards the elevator. He looked over to me and motioned me to come with him. I quickly ran next to him as he held the elevator for me. "Are you OK?" He looked at me resting a hand on shoulder firmly. "You seem pretty shaken up."

"I guess I am...Heh..." I turned away and looked down. I felt so weak, so helpless. I couldn't do anything. Here I was, the Sorceress, in a Garden full of SeeDs. Hah! I just realized it! Duh Rinoa. It's just like a flower garden...Yeah this is where Squall grew up. Where he's grown up...But you can't take a flower from its home and suddenly change it...

"Come on now," Squall said. "Irvine, Quistis, Selphie, Zell and ESPECIALLY you were always on my case for not talking to my friends more, now look at you!"

"I guess so...Sorry."

"It's ok, you'll be fine. I promise."

"I think I just need some rest..." I said running off to my room when the elevator hit the first floor. I ignored the taunts as people walked by. I went into my room threw myself on the bed and burst into tears. I was still so scared. I couldn't believe someone would've done that to me. It could've only been Irvine, Quistis, Selphie, Zell, Edea or Cid. Would Squall have...? No Rinoa! "Stop it you idiot!" I screamed. I think then, I cried myself to sleep.

A few hours later, though I don't know exactly when but I do know it was dark outside, I felt someone rubbing my back and neck a little bit. The hand was so strong, but so gentle and soothing. It made me calm, and then I knew who it was. I pushed myself up a bit until I was partially sitting up and looking at him. He smiled at me and scooped me up in his arms then let me sit on his lap. "You said that this gave you comfort right?" I smiled back not saying anything but just resting my head on his shoulder. He held me closer to him trying to give me any consolement he could.

"Oh shoot...Edea wanted to talk to me tonight. Any idea where she is?"

"I dunno," Squall replied. "Let's go see. Quistis was talking to her not long ago." Squall got up and took my hand. That was good, because my whole body was shaking and I didn't think I'd be able to stand by myself. "Oh, you better keep the jacket on, it's warm in here, but I think the air conditioner broke and it's going out of control." I just nodded as we left my dorm and walked down the hallway.

We didn't have to search very far, as Edea came running up to us as soon as we left to the main area. "If you'll excuse us," Edea said looking at Squall. "I'd like to talk to her alone." Squall reluctantly nodded.

"I'll just be in my dorm," he said.

"Come on," Edea motioned me to follow her. We walked to the elevator, went to the second floor, and went to the balcony.

"What is it?" I asked rather nervous.

"First calm down, I was a Sorceress, I won't harm you."

"I...I know."

"This will be hard," Edea said. "But you've got to stay strong." I didn't say anything, just looked at the stars. Had it only been the night before Squall and I had watched the stars? "Squall's willing to protect you."

"But I can't...I can't do this to him."

"He wants to."

"I'll just get in the way. That's why..."

"That's why what?"

"Nothing..." I said looking away.

"Put your trust in him Rinoa. He wants to help you. He wants to protect you, that's why he he's your knight. I know it'll be stressful, but you'll be fine.... That's all I wanted to say..."

"Umm...do you mind walking down with me to the dorms?"

"Not at all," Edea said. We walked to the dorms, we said good night and I quickly ran to my dorm. I took of Squall's jacket and hung it around the chair of the desk. I took of my cape and rested it over Squall's jacket. I laid my blaster edge on the desk. I wrapped my hand around his ring and felt his strength and security. I lied down and pulled my comforter up to my shoulders closing my eyes.

All of a sudden in the middle of the night several bricks and daggers and stones were thrown at my door. Several items broke through the glass window at the top and flew in. The only thing I could do was to pull my comforter over my head and wrap in a ball. Angelo was in the Infirmary that night from eating too much at the cafeteria. I couldn't grab my Blaster Edge for fear of getting hit by any of the items. All of a sudden I heard some yelling. I thought at first it was only one person, but it was a few. Squall opened my door. "Rinoa?!" I threw down my comforter and quickly ran to his embrace.

"Is she OK?" Irvine asked walking in next to Squall. I turned to Irvine as Squall did.

"I think so...You're not hurt are you?"


"This is getting crazy," Irvine said. "I wanna know who told, I'll shoot em straight!"

"Thanks Irvine."

"Anytime man, you know I'm glad to help." He looked around and started to pick up some of the trash throwing it into my trash can. Squall and I helped until everything was cleaned up, and the glass was taken care of. Irvine then left shutting the door talking to Zell and Selphie who had woken up from the ruckus. I sat down on the bed and Squall sat down next to me.

"It'll be ok," he wrapped his arm around me. I snuggled next to him.

"Do you mind if...no."


"Can you sleep with me in here tonight...?"

"Yeah..." He smiled at me. I lied down on the bed and he lied down next to me holding me close to him. I quickly fell back asleep.

The next morning I woke up before him. I slipped out of his embrace reluctantly and put on my cape again. It was still cold, so I rested his jacket back around my shoulders. I smiled looking at him, seeing him smile in his sleep. He was so adorable when he slept...But I guess that's kind of expected when you fall in love...?

About an hour or so later Squall woke up. He yawned and sat up. "Good morning," I said to him half cheerfully.

"Good morning...Hmm maybe we outta go to FH and see if they'll fix the air conditioner for us." I giggled. He was right though, it was freezing!

"Can we go check on Angelo?" I asked.

"Yeah, just let me get my SeeD jacket in my dorm." We left my dorm and Squall grabbed his jacket throwing it on. It looked so good, so professional. And I thought it was cute how he didn't zip it up.

As we started walking towards the Infirmary Quistis' voice came over at the PA system. "Rinoa and Squall, please report to the bridge." Her voice was shaky and rather nervous, not like what it normally was. We looked at each other and ran to the elevator as fast as we could. The elevator brought us to the third floor; we then immediately went to the bridge.

Crowded around on the bridge was Irvine, Quistis, Cid, Edea, Zell, Selphie, Nida, Xu, then us. "What's going on?" I asked baffled.

"Zell found something I think you'll like to see," Selphie said.

Squall turned to Zell. "What?"

"I found this scouting around in the quad," Zell said hanging Squall a crumpled note. Squall basically ripped it out of his hand.

"What's it say?" I asked peaking over his shoulder.

"To the one who reads this,

This is no lie. Rinoa Heartilly is a Sorceress, and SeeD's job is to exterminate the Sorceress...Let us be wary of her!

I speak the truth!" I gasped a bit...exterminate the Sorceress?! Killing is enough, but the word was so harsh it stung at my heart.

"Well...now we have how word got out."

"I've ordered all instructors to make their students print out the alphabet and give it to us so we can compare," Xu said. Squall nodded his appreciation.

"After homeroom, the students who were involved and caught in last night's assault on Rinoa are being called up here," Selphie said.

"I suppose I should get to my homeroom?" Irvine asked.

"You're excused for today," Squall said. "You helped me break up assault, I'll need you here."

"All right."

"You should make an announcement," Quistis said. "As a reminder to instructors and to inform the students about the plan..."

I didn't bother listening to anything, through the meetings, through the talks. I don't even know what happened to the SeeDs that threw the bricks and stones at me last night. The only thing I took note of was that they were going to Fisherman's Horizon and see if they could fix the air conditioner. I just sat down, I felt so lost, so helpless. A few times I glanced at Squall; he seemed to enjoy his work. How could I take it away from him? I can't, I love him too much.

It was during a quick dinner a few nights later what I would do. I was sitting with Squall in his dorm eating one of those rare hotdogs, when it dawned on me. I couldn't spend a few more days in this fear, and I knew I was burdening Squall from the look on his face; I felt so guilty. An announcement came on the PA system, telling that they were about to dock at FH, and called Squall to the second floor balcony.

"I'm just gonna stay here," I said softly.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I wanna finish eating. I'll be Ok."

"Ok, I'll be back as fast as I can." He kissed me gently on the forehead and left the dorm.

I can do it…I told myself. I couldn't give him anymore pain, I just couldn't bear it anymore. I looked out the window and saw night was beginning to fall. It was so beautiful; it warmed me inside and made me feel secure. But still, it wouldn't always be like this, I mean I had to go out of the security of his dorm sometime. I hadn't been out of his sight since word got around of what I really was.

I haven't told you much of past few days. It's been nothing eventful, but my dreams at night have been. Quistis is constantly in them, now I can't help but to suspect that something might be up. Dreams of her constantly nagging me were not uncommon. I had no proof to back up my accusation, so I didn't bother to even tell Squall. The other SeeDs and maybe even on of my friends might think that something really went to my head. Tonight is going to be the last night.

Squall came back in a matter of an hour or so. He seemed really exhausted, maybe they gave him trouble. "You look really tired…"

"Yeah something like that…" He said yawning.

"Why don't you lay down and rest?" I asked my heart beating wildly.

"You'll be Ok?"

"Yeah, I'll wake you up if I need anything."

Squall nodded and slipped off his SeeD jacket hanging it up then lied down on his bed.

I waited about two hours until he fell asleep then slowly got up from the chair. I looked at him and sighed nearly crying. "I'm sorry…" I whispered softly to him. "I really love you…but…" He stirred slightly in his sleep, but did nothing else. That's when I slowly turned and left his dorm.

People watched me in shock as I walked down the hallway by myself. They couldn't believe what they were seeing, but didn't follow me either, which was some relief. I took the elevator up to the second floor balcony, from my understanding of what Squall told me, they weren't going to hook up the pathway to get to FH until this morning, so there'd be no one watching.

I walked slowly to the railing grasping my hands onto it. My heart raced and thoughts were running through my mind at millions of miles per second. All of a sudden I heard barking and turned around to see Angelo running towards me. I knelt down as he whined to me. How he knew, I don't know, but somehow he did. "Angelo…I'm sorry…but I have to…" Tears streamed down my cheeks as I stood up. I slipped of his jacket and felt the brisk cold snap against my skin. I wanted the comfort of him again, but I had to do this…

I looked down at my necklace and saw my favorite ring and his ring. I slowly took it off, looked at Griever, then placed it on top of his jacket, which I had put on the floor. I walked to the balcony and pushed myself up so I was standing on the ledge. I could feel my body shivering and tears coming down my eyes; I was so scared.

"Rinoa!!!" He suddenly yelled. I looked over my shoulder and he stood still in his tracks. My body froze. How I so wanted to just leap into his arms! But I couldn't anymore, the line had to be drawn somewhere. I suppose it has to be now. I can't do this to him anymore.

"Rinoa! Wait!" He took a few more steps towards me.

I leapt off of the balcony. He quickly dashed towards the edge and looked down. My wings suddenly bursted open and I flew back up. He was in aghast; I could tell. Before I could say anything, I found myself speeding off towards the southwest.

Squall collapsed to his knees with tears streaming down his cheeks. Angelo walked over to him licking his cheek affectionately, trying to give him comfort. Squall just picked up his ring and looked up at the stars, noticing a single shooting star across the sky.

"Oh my gosh guys!" Selphie cried out to Zell and Irvine, motioning them to look towards the sky.

"What the &%( is that??!!!" Zell shouted out.

Irvine snatched the binoculars from Nida and focused in on the flying object. "What the?!"

"What is it?" Selphie asked.

"That's Rinoa…"

"WHAT?!" Selphie and Zell exclaimed at the same time.

"No joke!" Irvine said it disappeared from their sight.

"We gotta go find Squall! Everyone split up!" Selphie said. Irvine and Zell nodded, and they dashed off.

Selphie and Zell split the first floor. They questioned every person they saw and explored every scratch.

Irvine finally made his way to the second floor balcony. There he saw Squall kneeling over his black jacket trying to pull himself together. Angelo sat next to him constantly whining. Irvine had no idea what to say. It was obvious Squall knew what had happened to Rinoa.

Squall looked up. Irvine was rather shocked to see the tears down his face, but under the circumstances, it was understandable. "What do I do…?" Was the only thing he could say. He turned to the balcony and made a fist with the hand that wasn't holding the ring and slammed it on the balcony. "What the hell do I do?!"

Irvine wanted to give reassurement, but had absolutely no idea how he could. He just watched Squall pound the balcony railing until he couldn't anymore. "It'll be all right."

"How? How the hell can you say that?" Squall turned around, trying to yell, but finding all of his rage gone.

"We'll find her."

"She was deathly afraid…how do we go after her?!"

"Come on, Squall. You need to calm down. Selphie and Zell are looking for you on the first floor, let's find them and see what we can do." Squall picked up his jacket and put his ring back on. He felt her soft body leaning on him, and her tears seeping into his shirt and chest. But that didn't bother him. He wanted her to share her emotions with him; he wanted to be able to feel her pain. Now, he felt as if he failed his job as a knight.

They bumped into Selphie and Zell by the elevator. Even the usually hyper Selphie was down and glum. "This really sucks," was the only thing that came out of her mouth.

"Come on now," Irvine said. "We can come up with something. Let's go talk to Matron. She was a Sorceress and might be able to help after all."

"…All right." Squall replied. He was entirely in shock and had no idea what to make of everything.

"Where is Matron normally?" Zell asked.

"Either in the Infirmary or on the bridge," Selphie replied. "But we were just on the bridge, and she wasn't there."

"To the Infirmary it is then!" Irvine shouted. The four of them took the elevator down to the first floor.

"Come on Squall! She'll be Ok!" Selphie tried to reassure him. She knew it didn't work because he just sighed.

They walked to the Infirmary, and Dr. Kadowaski greeted them with, "Such a large group so late. What's wrong guys?"

The four all looked at each other. No one knew what to say or how to start. "Rinoa…she's gone…" Squall finally said choking on tears.

"What?!" Cid, Edea, and the doctor all said at once.

Squall nodded, continuing on. "She couldn't take it anymore. She was so scared from everything and everyone. She jumped off of the balcony and her…wings spread…and…that…was it…" He tried to force back tears, but a few came through.

"Matron," Irvine said a bit more calm. "We came here for advice. She's a Sorceress after all, you seem to know best."

Edea nodded. "Whenever a Sorceress' emotions get to the point they're so strong that's when the Sorceress side of her comes out most. We only see it as her wings, but her entire mind set changes depending on the situation. If it's sorrow and being scared that has gotten to her, then that's what her mind set is. She's probably begging for her knight, but even afraid of him too…"

"I suppose I've been a crappy knight…" Squall said.

"Not necessarily. If you know what direction she went and where she might go then you can find and help her. She needs you the most now."

Think you idiot, think. Where would she go? What direction did she go? It was south I know that…Southeast? No, the only thing that's in that direction would be where we landed the Ragnarok and where Esthar is. I doubt she'd go there. Southwest…The orphanage. That has to be it! "I know…" Squall said.

"To where?" Selphie said. "We should get there as soon as possible!"

"No, seeing Balamb Garden will only scare her more. I'll come up with something," he lied. He already had an idea in mind. He had to find Ellone first. "Find Quistis and inform her what happened. Get rest, the FH crew will be coming on early in the morning."

"What about Rinoa?" Zell asked. "Don't tell me you're leaving her stranded."

"Don't worry about her," Squall replied. He left the Infirmary clutched the jacket in his hand. In the hallway, he started thinking to himself again. Where would she be? Last time…I found her in the library! I wonder if she'll be there now. She always loved reading. Squall dashed off towards the library. He walked in to the back room. "Sis?" he asked looking in the corner finding Ellone and Laguna there.

"Squall?" Ellone stood up and turned towards him. Laguna turned around in his seat.

"Rinoa's gone. She got so scared and her wings formed. I want to know where she is. I want to know what's wrong. Bring me to her!"

"Squall don't you remember back in space? She only needed you the whole time."

"I'm not positive where she went, but I have a good idea. I want to reconfirm it and help her. Please Sis," Squall pleaded.

Ellone, however, still refused. "I'm sorry, why don't you just go there?"

"It's the SeeDs that's scaring her. I don't want to provoke her anymore."

"The White SeeD ship is to be arriving in FH tonight," Laguna said. "We were heading back to Esthar for a bit to see if things were getting any better."

"Maybe they can give you a ride to wherever you think she went."

"The orphanage."

"Why there?" Ellone asked curious.

"We made a promise there, that we'd wait for each other there. So I think that's where she's waiting."

"Let's leave at about eleven then," Ellone suggested.

"Sounds like a plan to me," Laguna replied.

Squall returned to his dorm about quarter of eleven. Irvine was waiting outside. "What's going on?"

"Irvine…I'm going to find her."


"It's the best way. Think of what was scaring her."

"True. So where…?"

"The orphanage…just don't tell…please…"

"Lips are sealed man. Just take care of her. The four of us will cover the SeeDs with Nida and Xu."

"Thanks," Squall said. He walked into his dorm, took his gunblade and walked back to the front gate. He looked at Ellone and Laguna, "Let's go." They nodded.

They walked out the front gate and jumped down to some railroad tracks. They walked to the other side of FH and sure enough, there it was. Resting to the port was the White SeeD Ship.

"Ellone!" The leader called out. "Sir Laguna!"

Ellone smiled and waved. They ran on board.

"May I ask why Balamb SeeDs are coming with you?"

"He's not going as a Balamb SeeD. He just has something personal to attend to. His friends are covering for him, and he got permission," Ellone explained.

"Where to then Squall?"

"A beach somewhere near the old orphanage."

"All right. We're about ready to depart. Just a few more minutes."

Squall looked up at the sky. I'll find you my angel…

I knew what was happening. I knew I flew away from him. How could I do that? What made me? I wanted to turn around to him so badly, but I couldn't. I couldn't control myself physically; it was like something took over me.

I knew where I was headed. Right for the orphanage. Right where we promised. But will he come? No, I don't want him. Oh Rin, who are you kidding? You want him so bad…Gosh I'm a damned Sorceress.

I don't know how long it took me to land at the orphanage. I had no way of telling time. I had no judgement at all. My heart only called out for him desperately, praying there would be an answer. Yet I knew, there would be none.

The ship left and Squall leaned on the railing staring at the ring. He wanted her so bad; he wanted to be able to hold her once more. He wanted to be able to feel her melting in his arms. Or to feel her sleeping, crying, or anything. Anything would work. He just wanted her.

"Excuse me sir," A familiar voice said from behind them.

"Where is she?!" Another voice said. Squall turned around to find Watts and Zone behind him. He just sighed and turned around. "Squall! Where the hell is she? Didn't I tell you to take care of her?!"

"Just shut up!" Squall shouted angrily turning back around. "I know what you told me, and I guess I failed. You think I'm on this ship for the joy of it? I'm going to find her."

"Stay away from her!" Zone shouted back at him.

"Not a chance! You couldn't protect her if it costed your life…because I can't even…" Squall said sighed turning around once more, leaning on the railing.

"Come on, I'm sure he'll protect her."

"All right, all right…"

"Do your best sir," Watts said and they walked off.

"I'm planning on it…" Squall said.

A few minutes later Laguna walked next to Squall. "I've got something to tell you…" Squall just turned his head for a moment, then looked back. "You'll probably hate me," he continued. "But that's OK. I'm expecting it." Squall only half listened, he could only think about her. "Remember when you guys came to Esthar, and I was telling you about Raine. And how badly I wanted to see her newborn baby?" Squall nodded. "The baby was a baby boy…Squall that was you."

Squall looked over at Laguna his eyes widened. "So you're…"

Laguna nodded. "I understand if you don't want to see me, but I had to tell you."

Squall looked down to think for a minute. So the idiot who was obsessed with Rinoa's mother is my father? This is scary. A father, I wonder what it's like. Rinoa never got along with her father…That's why she looked to me…

"C`mon, say something now…" Laguna said.

"What should I do…? I don't know now. I can't help but doubt if she really needs me, and if she really wants me."

Laguna nodded. "From my point of view, the first thing on your mind should be her happiness and safety. As long as Raine was happy, I was on top of the world."

Squall just looked back down. There were too many things for him to think about. He needed his angel just as much if not more then what she needed him. He knew though, that it wouldn't be long. He couldn't wait to hold her again.

Finally, I felt myself able to take over my body once more. My wings vanished and I could feel my body. Gosh it was freezing! It was starting to snow too! I hugged myself to try to keep warm. My mind kept going back to him. I couldn't avoid it, and I certainly didn't try to push it away. I watched the ocean come in and out and watched the spray on the rocks. I wandered into the flower field. Amazingly, there were still blooms. This must be the first snow then, and it must be sudden for them to still be blooming. I picked a flower, held it to my heart, and cried out for him. I curled up in a small corner behind some rocks and cried myself to sleep.

The next morning I got up and there was snow all around me. It was only an inch or two, but it was cold and I wasn't exactly wearing appropriate clothing for snow. I sighed and stood on the beach near the flower field. I had another nightmare. I suppose those will follow me no matter where I go. It was with Ultimecia and Quistis…again. I don't know how much time went by and I just stood there.

I didn't hear it, but there were footsteps. I suddenly felt a jacket on my shoulders and a voice said, "Not prepared for the cold are you?" I looked up in shock at the voice. My eyes widened as he smiled. I sighed and looked down. He wrapped one arm around me and lifted my chin with his hand. We looked into each others eyes, and that was it.

"Squall!" I cried and collapsed into him. He wrapped his arms around me securely. I could feel his strength and warmth. How did I ever leave it? "Squall!" I said again looking at him. "I'm so sorry…"

"It's ok, it's ok. Let me help now…It'll all be ok…" He wrapped his arms around me tighter. I had been freezing just a minute ago, and now his warmth completely engulfed me. I don't want it any other way ever again. "I'm here now…Shhh…" His voice was so calming and gentle. My body shook, but he just held me as tight as he possible could and rubbed my back.

My judgement of time had not returned at this point, so I don't know how long he held me like this. I know, however, that it was for a while, and it felt so relaxing.

"I'm so sorry," he said to me. "I should've realized how scared you were. I'll try to be better in the future."

"Squall, please don't blame yourself, I can't tear you apart from your job."

"I'd take you over my job, so just please don't worry about it. Please…"

"Squall…" I whispered gently snuggling next to him while I relaxed. He held me tight while we watched the waves come in and out. It was so peaceful.

Until she came. She appeared on the water and floated toward us. "NO!" I screamed and tried to run.

"Just stay close to me!" Squall said to me so strongly that it made me feel safe. He drew his gunblade and started at Ultimecia coming towards us.

"Give me the girl."

"Not a chance."

"Give her to me."

"I said not a chance. Now get away from us!"

She started coming closer. I wanted to back away, but Squall gripped my hand and stood in front of me. "Squall! You can't fight her alone!"

"Give her to me."

"Over my dead body!" Squall shouted raising his gunblade higher as Ultimecia started walking on the beach. He gritted his teeth and stared at her. "Aren't you supposed to be dead!"

"Not until when you come to my time."

"DAMN!" Squall shouted. "Then I'm gonna have to kill you now!" He dashed toward Ultimecia and attempted to slice his blade through her.

She vanished and reappeared behind me grabbing me. "Be kareful of where you slash, your worst nightmare may kome true."

"Rinoa!" Squall shouted.

My mind raced. Courage built up inside of me. I'm not weak. I can do something. I can fight with him. Well, he's here and I know he's always protecting me heart! Here I go! "Holy!" I casted Holy on myself, which also engulfed Ultimecia since she was right behind me. Squall watched in horror, until during the bright light I jumped out and landed right beside him. We flashed smiles at each other and put ourselves on guard after the spell. She attempted to cast Firaga on each of us, but we're smarter then we may seem. Squall summoned Carbuncle for us. I casted Holy on her yet again, while Squall dashed toward her during the magic and used Lionheart on her. Once our attack was done she knelt on the ground and appeared to melt into it.

I breathed a sigh of relief. I was proud of myself. He put his gunblade away and hugged me again. "Good job," he smiled, and I rested on him.

We didn't know what we were going to do next. We decided just to relax for a few days in the orphanage. Food wasn't a problem, with the forest nearby, there was plenty of food.

As luck would have it, as we were sitting on the beach deciding what to do, and alarmed Irvine, Selphie, and Zell came to visit us.

"What's going on?" I asked much more comfortable then I had been the last time I had been with them.

"Irvine, I thought I told you not to tell…"

"Sorry Squall, but it's an emergency."

"What is it?"

"Quistis has gone totally mad!" Zell said.

"Yeah!" Selphie continued. "Once you left she took over as Commander and says she's going to find the Sorceress and kill her." The fear came back into my body, but it didn't phase me as much as it had before. It was Quistis, just as I had assumed. "We also know who wrote the note." Selphie added.

"Who?" I asked.

"Quistis," The three said together.

So it was her. That crumpled note. That day in the quad. When I had Squall's jacket wrapped around me like it was yesterday. And when Squall jumped down to stop the two SeeDs from fighting. And how Selphie was so upset because the Garden Festival was ruined. We were all silent for a few minutes. No one knew what to say. "So what do we do?" Selphie asked.

"I can't keep hiding forever…" I said.

"But we certainly can't fight all the SeeDs," Squall replied.

"Hang on you two," Irvine interrupted. "You're not thinking. Do you two remember when we went back to Balamb Garden to warn about the missles?"

"That's right," I said. "The NORG against Cid."

"Right. And remember the SeeDs?"

"That were scattered and confused."


"I don't see the connection. There wasn't anyone on my side except for you guys."

"Nah ah Rinoa," Selphie said. "There were a lot of SeeDs that wanted to know what the big deal was. As long as you didn't do anything they thought it'd be fine if you stayed. Plus with Xu, Cid, Matron, Dr. Kadowaski. There's no way Quistis can get all the SeeDs if they're all trying to stop it. Nobody wants a war raging inside a Garden anyway."

Selphie had a point. There were some people who might try to cause chaos for the heck of it, but I don't think that they're currently in the Garden. "Do you think there's a way to get into the Garden?" I asked. Irvine, Selphie, Squall, and Zell all looked at me rather in shock. "I've got an idea," but we've got to get inside first."

"The morning after Squall left, Quistis totally lost it. We left the next day and took a train to Esthar. From there we saw Laguna and Ellone, and they told us where you'd probably be. But of course this idiot knew the whole time!" Selphie screamed. "But I think they still might be in FH for another day or two."

"How did you guys get here?" Squall asked.

Irvine, Selphie, and Zell grinned. "The Ragnarok!" They exclaimed together. Squall and I looked at each other smiling. In a silent agreement, we quickly made our way to the Ragnarok.

When we walked in, we made our way to the bridge. In a circle we had a small meeting. "Rinoa, come on tell us your plan," Zell begged.

"All right." I nodded. "If we can first get a hold of Xu, Cid, Edea, or Dr. Kadowaski, then that'll be helpful. If not, we'll wing it. But my plan is to go in as either the representatives of the Esthar army or White SeeDs. We could say that rather then Laguna returning, we're his representatives. Through the confusion we could get people stopping and thinking a bit. And then…"

"Then?" Selphie asked.

"I didn't get that far really. That bit just came in some of my dreams, and so far they've been a representative of what's been happening…"

"So you still need our input?" Squall asked.

"Why you! Hmph!" I turned my back to him and crossed my arms.

"Come on now!"

I laughed. "I know, I'm not the greatest at planning. I'm so used to just doing whatever seems best in the current situation."

"Well," Selphie said jumping into the pilot's seat. "Off to Esthar we go!"

Once we started, I went down from the bridge and walked into the room that Squall and me ended up coming in from space. I opened up the hatch and climbed up looking out. I felt the wind blowing through my hair and the birds flying over head. The sky was a bright beautiful blue, and the clouds appeared as a Phoenix across the sky. IThat's me. I am a Phoenix. I will rise up once more. I can rise and fight. I've been reborn from the ashes!!!/I

I smiled and jumped down from the shaft. My hair was windblown, but my soul really felt renewed. Angelo barked running towards me and jumped on me. I caught him in my arms and he licked my face happily. I smiled and laughed. I closed my eyes and remembered when Angelo had been just a little puppy and had done the same thing in the Timber Pet Shop when I first went to Timber after leaving my father in Deling City. I got Angelo even before I met Zone and Watts. After telling them my story and why I had come to Timber, they quickly took me into the Forest Owls. Zone was really good for nothing and Watts could get decent information easily. But I fit into the Forest Owls quite easily because of my love for fighting.

When I was younger I took a liking to my mother's boomerang she loved to play with, but seeing all the warriors and soldiers in Deling City made me want to be a warrior and fight monsters. When I was younger, I used to think that the soldiers fought against monsters to protect everyone. That's what Mom told me. She didn't want me to become a fighter. She had been teaching me how to play the piano and how to sing. But seeing the soldiers at the house always made me want to become a warrior. So my father gave me the Blaster Edge which I mastered quickly. The Forest Owls were glad to have me as a fighter. As with most of the rebel factions in Timber, they could think up plans but they were all short on fighters to actually carry anything out.

I put Angelo down and began singing Eyes on Me softly to myself. I heard him laughing and I looked up and put my hands on my hips playfully glaring at him. "No, no, no!" He exclaimed. "It's just…Laguna…was obsessed with your mother…and he's my father…"

"Are you serious?" I laughed.

"Yeah," he replied.

Hehe, I thought it was really funny that my mother could have been his as well. But then I suppose that I wouldn't be here if it weren't for that…I pushed the thought out of my mind. "Come on, I think we're almost to Esthar."

I was right; we had arrived there. We left the Ragnarok and went to the Presidential Palace. Kiros and Ward immediately let us in. I nodded as a thank you.

Laguna seemed surprised to see us there, but he was glad to see all of us together. I think he was even happier to see my face relaxed, but he also noticed the seriousness in it. "Yes?" He asked. I began to tell him the little of the plan we had. The others added various comments in, but I did most of the talking. I felt important. I felt like I meant something, and that I was needed in this operation. I was the cause. But I can't just sit and do nothing. I must fight on. I have to reclaim the Garden for my knight. I can't take him away from his job, and I don't want him to have to choose, so I'll let him have his job and me.

"I think it'll work," Laguna said. "We've got plenty of the uniforms. But voices…How will you guys pull that off?"

I looked down and thought. "Easy!" Selphie shouted. "We just change our voices!" I heard Zell snicker, but Selphie was right. That would be the only way we could pull it off.

"We'll just have to try!" I shouted talking in the highest voice I had. But none of us took that seriously at that moment; we all started to crack up. "But seriously, we have to…We gotta take the Garden back…"

The others kind of looked down. I knew why. And in a way, I felt like it too. I had not known Quistis as long as the others had. Hell, they grew up with her in the orphanage. And then Zell, and Squall knew Quistis as an Instructor and SeeD at Balamb Garden. "I…I know that you guys grew up with her…I mean it's not like I completely want to do this…But we don't need to kill her, or even hurt her."

"Then how?" Zell asked.

"We'll surround her on the bridge. Yeah! We'll go on board as White SeeDs and request to see a meeting with Quistis!" I exclaimed, the whole plan suddenly snapping into my mind. "We can tip off Head Master Cid and Edea and Nida and Dr. Kadowaki and Xu. They'll help us right?"

"And from there we can meet with Quisty on the Bridge and surround her," Irvine added, seeing the plan clearly.

"But one problem," Zell said. "What about the SeeDs?"

Dead silence. No one had thought that far yet, including me. Everyone's head raced. Our expressions showed deep thought and worry.

I took a deep breath. "I'll address the whole school. We'll have Xu and Cid gather all of the kids into the auditorium. And I'll tell them. Everything."

"But what if the SeeDs attack you?" Selphie interrupted.

Damn it. Another hard question I couldn't answer.

"That won't happen," Squall said. "I'll be right there with her. I'll address them as well."

"Sounds like you kids have a plan now," Laguna said.

"Do you think it'll work?" Selphie asked concerned.

"We can only hope," he replied. "Kiros? Ward?" The two men walked into the room. "Can you get them soldier uniforms?" They nodded and wandered off for a minute.

We were all nervous. Laguna was as well. I didn't know what would happen. In all honesty, I was scared. Squall looked at me. Our eyes met and he flashed one of his small adorable smiles. It comforted me greatly. I looked out the window and felt the sunshine fall through the glass. I had to squint my eyes, but it covered my skin. It gave me a strange kind of strength. Mother? You're there? I smiled. She has. She has been with me the whole time. And she is still with me now. Don't worry…Squall's taking really good care of me…Hey. Tell you what Mom, after we reclaim the garden I'll go back into piano and singing. But I can't give up the warrior's life completely. I still have to reclaim Timber…even if it means fighting against Dad…

Sorry Mom. Do you remember Laguna? He's here right now. You know what's funny, he's Squall's father. Yeah, the irony in that. I wonder if he remembers you…

"Umm…Laguna…?" I asked. "Do you remember a woman named Julia?"

"Yeah…" He said gently. "How could I forget such a wonderful woman like her? She played the piano so great…aww man…"

"And he had the biggest crush on her," Kiros said walking back in.

I giggled as Ward handed each of us the Esthar uniforms. "Where's the White SeeD ship?" I heard Squall ask.

"They're on the east coast of this continent actually," Laguna said. "They volunteered to come in and help us while you guys were working on it."

"We'll get help in as soon as reclaim the Garden!" Squall replied. "Let's go guys!" They ran out.

I looked over my shoulder at Laguna. "Oh! Just in case you wanted to know…Julia's dead…and I'm her daughter." I saw his look of shock and giggled as I ran out after the others.

By sheer luck, we ran into the leader of the White SeeDs. I explained everything to him, and he listened. He seemed rather shocked that a Sorceress was attempting to reclaim a Garden, but he said that I was one to be admired. The leader gathered the other SeeDs and let us on their ship. We had a meeting on the deck, and I once again explained our plan.

"Lilka, go pinpoint Balamb Garden and send them a radio message."

"Yes Sir!" Lilka, the red head, saluted the leader and ran down to the bridge.

"I'll go too sir," Another White SeeD said following Lilka.

"Now we wait for their reply."

"Let's hope that Cid's getting the message and not Quisty…" Selphie said.

We all stood anxiously, I think I was the most. What was I trying to do? I was trying to lead an uprise against Quistis. Quistis. The one that they all grew up with.

No. No. That's not it. It's not that I am leading an uprise against Quistis. She was out of her mind. She was risking the lives of everyone. All the SeeDs, Edea, Cid, everyone. Even Seifer. I looked at the sun shining right at me. I had to do this for everyone. No longer am I going to hide behind Squall. He can protect me, but I am not weak. I am Rinoa Heartilly! I am not afraid of anything! I wonder…will Seifer join us? Maybe I could convince him. Maybe he would give me hell. I wonder what his feelings had been the whole time when Quistis passed around the note about me being the Sorceress. Of course he knew…but…Oh Riny. Save it for later.

"Sir!" The second SeeD had run back up the stairs. "It is Headmaster Cid. He wishes to speak to you!"

"Yes," The leader nodded running down the stairs.

I noticed Squall, Selphie, Irvine, and Zell were all talking in a group. I walked over to them and honestly hesitated a bit. "Guys…I…know your relationship with Quistis and everything…but…"

"Don't worry," Irvine said. "We're backing you all the way."


"We gotta reclaim the Garden back right?" Zell asked. I nodded.

"Booyaka!" Selphie randomly yelled.

I let out a sigh of relief and looked at Squall. I must've smiled, and saw him smile back at me. I was happy. Hell, I felt really good. I felt like I was finally worth something. There's no need to be afraid. I have so many people behind me. Irvine, Selphie, Zell, Cid, Edea, Xu, Dr. Kadawaki were all here for me. Even many of the SeeDs, and I'm sure even Quistis too. She always was so supportive of me. I remember that time when we were attempting to assassinate on orders from Balamb and Galbadia Garden. And I foolishly thought I could do things on my own and went to visit her myself. I heard from them later that Selphie, Zell, and Quistis got caught in the room my father locked me in because Quistis wanted to apologize to me. Had she changed during the journey? No, I know she didn't. In fact, we became even more of friends then ever. What changed her? What made her suddenly resent me?

"Sorceress Rinoa and Knight Squall?" Lilka ran up and addressed us.

"Yes?" I asked turning around.

"Headmaster Cid wishes to speak to you."

"Ok. Let's go." Squall and I ran down the stairs.

The White SeeDs left Squall and I alone to talk to Cid via radio. "Rinoa," Headmaster Cid started. "It is an interesting plan."

"Do you think we can pull it off?" I asked. I winced. Here I was, doing what Squall had scolded me about back in Timber. I always had to rely on someone else's input! "I…I think we can."

"It's a different idea yes. I believe getting you inside the ship will be quite a mess. Quistis is being very strict in a very proper inspection and hasn't allowed anyone to leave or come into the Garden."

"What if we had Laguna with us?" Squall asked.

"It'll be difficult to find him now," I replied.

A frustrated silence filled the room. No one had an idea on what we could do.

My mind raced. What other possibilities did we have? How could we sneak into the Garden and use an excuse?"

The Leader of the White SeeDs came in. "I believe that you all at Balamb are very familiar with me, are you not?"

"Yes," Cid replied. "Why Quistis knows you by first name and just your face."

"Then allow me to go."

"But!" I protested. "You can't get involved in this!"

"I will help however I can. Our Sister Garden is at war and we must help. I don't mind if it's dangerous. It won't be the first dangerous thing I've been through."

"Yes…Well it might work. She is rather interested in you."

"As I can see," The leader laughed slightly. "I will make sure that you can get a meeting. And I'll help any other way."

"Cid! What are you doing up here?!" Quistis voice was heard in the back round. Cid quickly shut off the radio and we heard only static from ours.

"Her voice!" I exclaimed. "It was so…harsh!"

"That's not the Quistis we know."

"Then I know there's someone there doing something to her. I'll put a stop to it! I swear it!"

"We're in this together," Squall replied.

"As I am too. I do not believe you know my name. It's Salvatore. Nice to meet you."

"Do we know where Balamb Garden is currently located?" Squall asked.

"Damn! I knew there was something I forgot to ask!"

"I believe Dave got the coordinates."

"Yes sir! Balamb Garden is currently located south of FH. We have a tracking device on her should she flee. If she does not move, then we will arrive there in approximately 30 hours."

"Thank you." Salvatore turned to us. "Well, I'll show you and the others to your rooms for the night."

"Thank you," We nodded our heads in appreciation.

That night was calm and gentle. I was too excited and nervous to sleep, so I leaned on the railing of the ship letting the wind rustle through my hair and cape. The sound of the water was gentle. It was soothing to my heart. I heard Irvine and Selphie talking a bit, then Zell came over and joined them.

Suddenly I heard two familiar voices.

"What did you do to Rinoa you bastard?!"

"I told you, she's safe!"

"Where is she sir?"

"Guuuuuuuyyys!" I giggled turning around. They all looked at me and I waved. Zone and Watts ran over to me and both hugged me tightly.

"Sir! You're all right."

"Of course I am," I replied.

"But last time I saw him…"

"Shut up Zone. I'm safe. I'm fine. He's protecting me," I said walking over to Squall hugging him a bit. He hugged me back some holding me closely.

"We still need to liberate Timber," Zone reminded me.

"Of course. I haven't forgotten about the Forest Owls. Once I'm done with my current task, I'll come back. I promise."

"You better hold to that…"

"I will. Don't worry Zone."

They nodded and walked off. Squall held me a bit closer. I closed my eyes and leaned against him. He swept me off my feet and carried me downstairs so I could sleep. Although they had given us two rooms, we slept in the same bed holding each other tightly as we had done in the Garden after the note had been spread. But I was stronger now. He just gave me that extra boost of confidence in myself.

I slept really long and hard, because I woke up to Selphie shaking me. "Come on! You need to change into your uniform or else we're gonna get screwed over!" I jumped up and slipped the uniform on over my clothes and put the mask on. "This isn't as bad as those Galbadia uniforms!" She said.

"I wouldn't know. I was at Balamb then," I replied.

We ran upstairs and I found that the others were all ready. Balamb Garden was in sight. Everyone was practicing their different voices. It was silly, but it seemed good enough to swing by.

"Here," Salvatore said handing us each a small ear radio that snapped into our ear and had an almost invisible microphone that picked up even the slightest whisper. "We'll use these to communicate. I'll get Quistis up in the bridge…"

"I don't think the bridge is the greatest idea," Selphie said. "Cuz then she could radio for help or move the Garden and stuff."

Ahh, last minute problems! Gotta hate them! "Then…?"

Everyone had a blank look upon each other. Our minds were exhausted and our bodies wanted to collapse. The constant tolling of the Garden being divided and essentially our group also being divided was beginning to affect us. But we can't stop now!

"We'll radio each other understand?" Salvatore whispered as we approached the Garden.

"Who goes there?" A young SeeD shouted from the balcony.

"I request an urgent meeting with Quistis. I am acting as a representative for Laguna."

"No one may be allowed in."

"Then tell Quistis that Salvatore is here, and see if she will allow me and five other representatives for Laguna come aboard."

Just as Salvatore was speaking, Quistis came out on the balcony. "Salvatore! It is nice to see you."

"Yes, the same to you Quistis."

"What business do you have?"

"I and these five other representatives come from Laguna and wish to speak to you."

"I see…" I watched Quistis eyes look at each one of us. Her eyes narrowed a bit, but I don't think she realized it was us, her old fighting companions. She then turned to the SeeD. "Let them on."

"Yes Commander." The SeeD threw down a rope ladder for us. Each one of us climbed it and reached the balcony. Irvine knelt down to roll up the ladder with the SeeD. Salvatore waved to the SeeD ship to let them know that they could leave now.

"You are dismissed," she said to the SeeD. The SeeD saluted her then left. "So, tell me Salvatore. What business do you bring from Laguna?"

"It is something very important. We cannot mention it until we can be in a private meeting with you."

"Ahh, will it take long?"


"Then you'll have to wait until tomorrow. I am booked today. However, Salvatore, I would like to see you later tonight, is that all right?"

"Of course," he said in such a manner I thought that they might be going out. Wonderful…

"Show the others around. They'll be sleeping in the Infirmary," Quistis walked off.

Salvatore looked at us. "You all need code names. Even when alone in the room, you cannot call each other by your real name," He whispered. "Come up with a code name quick."

"I'll take Julia," I said.

"Call me Aileen," Selphie said.

"John," Irvine said.

"Zack," Zell said.

"Aaron," Squall said.

"Very well then, come. Let me show you around." Salvatore walked us to the Directory pointing and explaining each place. I think all of laughed inside because we knew the Garden like the back of our hand. But our mission was underway. Every moment was crucial.

"If you'll excuse me, I think you should all get yourselves better acquainted with the Garden and its SeeDs." We all nodded.

Everyone split up. Zell was headed to the cafeteria for sure. Irvine went to the Infirmary. Squall was running to the library. "Aileen! Wait up!" I said in my high pitched voice.

"Yeah Julia?" she replied in her lower voice. "Do you think the training grounds are open now? Do you think they'll let us in there?"

I noticed Dr. Kadowaki walking by. "Ahh, you must be the representatives from Esthar. Welcome to the Garden. Excuse any confusion you may see."

"Good afternoon Dr. Kadowaki. I'm Julia," I said extending my hand. Our hands shook and Selphie introduced herself. We winked at Dr. Kadowaki. She winked back. Cid had tipped her off. That would make things easier.

"Well, yes. If you'd like to train I'd say go right ahead. I don't think anyone will object to it. Just be careful of the T-Rexaurs, they're hell to go through. I suggest getting away if you can."

"Thank you. I guess I'll so you later since we are sleeping in the Infirmary?"

"Yes," She said and walked away.

"So Aileen, are you gonna go to the training grounds?"

"No, I'm actually going to the cafeteria, but I'm just looking around."

"Ahh, cool. I'll see you later!" I said and ran off down following the green arrow to the training grounds.

I went to the right side of the training grounds and fought some of the weak monsters there. Although awkward, I used the gun I was given instead of my Blaster Edge. Oh how much I wanted to use it!

After I finished a rather rough battle, a voice came behind me. "Well, well," I was pushed and from the shock I dropped my gun and fell to the ground. I sat myself up and looked at him. "Funny you showing up here."

"Excuse me?" I asked trying to hide my shock.

"Now now Rinoa, it's not nice to ignore an old friend. If you come to visit, you might as well say hi to me too."

"I…I'm sorry. I don't know who this Rinoa girl is. My name's Julia, and I'm a representative for Laguna." I said in my high pitched voice.

"Riny…Do you take me for a fool? Don't you remember that summer? When this was the voice you talked in?"

Of course I knew what Seifer was talking about. That summer we went out, our big joke was how funny I sounded in a high pitched voice. But he would remember it after almost two years? "I still don't know what you're talking about," I persisted. Why couldn't I move my legs? Why was my body paralyzed? I was afraid. Yes, was I going to screw this plan up too?

Seifer walked to me and ripped off my mask. I looked away. Now of course it was positive. "Seifer…" I said in my normal voice quietly.

"Explain to me," He knelt down beside me. "Why."

"I…I can't! Seifer, just let me go! Trust me!" I said nervously.

"I'm not letting you go until you answer me."

I nodded a bit and quickly told him the whole plan. He smiled and nodded. What was I doing? Why was I telling him? After I finished explaining, he stood up and extended his hand out to me. One gloved hand fit inside the other and he lifted me up. Quickly putting back on my mask and handing me my gun, he said, "Well Julia, I hope you'll be more careful on the training grounds from now on."

"Yes, of course I will," I said. Whatever he was doing, there must've been a SeeD or something in the Grounds, because of the way he acted.

Seifer walked me out. When he got towards the entrance and whispered to me. "Be more careful. There are many SeeDs here," and laughed a bit. What did he mean? Either way I ran off flustered.

That night, we all met in the Infirmary and sat in a large room with many beds. The door was shut, but as Salvatore instructed us to do, we continued to use our voices and code names. I hadn't told them of the run in with Seifer.

"So Aileen…isn't the Garden cool?"

"Yeah!" She exclaimed.

"Julia, how was the training ground?" Squall asked me.

"It was nice, probably the best one I've ever seen."

"Did you encounter any of the famed T-Rexaurs?" Zell asked.

"No, but I did see one."

"How scary!" Selphie shouted.

A loud knocking on the door made us all jump and look towards the door as it flew open. In ran Quistis leading a whole bunch of SeeDs. "Nice try!"

"What are you talking about?" Squall asked.

"Your cover up sucked," she replied.

"Cover up?" he replied. "We are not covering up anything. We are representatives of Laguna."



"I see. Then why do you have these little headsets?" Quistis asked ripping one from Irvine. "And Zell, you might want to try not choosing a name so close to yours…" She walked to Selphie. "Nicely done, except soldiers aren't that scrawny," she laughed. "Sorceress, you might want to not use your mother's name in the future." I tried not to show my surprise, but it failed terribly. "And…if I'm right…You should have a scar." She ripped off Squall's mask revealing his face and scar. Silently, we admitted defeat. What could we say now? "Such a pity that you all would be condemned by the Sorceress to attack the Garden-your own Garden!"

"No!" I yelled.

"Arrest them!" Quistis ordered.

We found ourselves in the basement of the Garden back in our normal clothes. All of us just sat around. We had tried so hard, but the plan failed. We hadn't seen Salvatore, was he OK?

I sat in the corner by myself. I was so depressed. Why did I tell Seifer everything? Was it him? Did that bastard rat out on us? Why? Damnit! Why did I have to be the moron? Why did I have to screw everything up? The night was long and quiet; everyone kept to themselves.

Early that morning, someone in black appeared. "Do not worry," The voice whispered. "It will all go well." The figure disappeared. Where did I know that voice? I just couldn't pinpoint it! It left me confused and curious. Was it Salvatore? No, Salvatore's voice shows of wisdom and strength, this voice was harsh almost!"

Later that morning, SeeDs appeared and took us upstairs to the auditorium. I looked at the SeeDs. They were screaming at me and throwing whatever trash they could find. Squall stepped in front of the guard me. I think he was afraid something sharp would hit me, so he probably wanted to take that blow.

This continued for only a few more minutes until Quistis put her hand up. They all sat down. "Listen here!" She started. "This is the Sorceress Rinoa and these are the people that she has corrupted. Recognize them? You should! They were once members of the Garden until she put on her little charm and corrupted them!"

"Hold it right this minute!" Yelled a voice. I looked up. Seifer! With Raijin and Fuijin. "What you're accusing them of isn't right. If anyone's corrupted, it's you and the way you run this Garden. Now I'm not saying it was the greatest before, but my dear Instructor, you've made it only worse since you took control as Commander."

"Hmm! As if you should be speaking up."

"I do so when there's a cause I think might benefit me." Benefit you? Seifer, what are you talking about?

"And how will the Sorceress benefit you?"

"That's little of your business Instructor." Seifer walked up on the stage and cut off our ropes that were tying our hands together. "Listen to me. All of you." He announced. He took me by the wrist and pulled me forward some. "This Rinoa you see here…she ain't just a Sorceress. She's the whole reason that you're still alive. She's a brave warrior and fought against Ultimecia. She's the Sorceress that you're after, not Rinoa."

"But…" A female SeeD stood up. "Why? Why are we still formed? Wasn't SeeD formed to destroy the Sorceress?"

"The Sorceress can't be destroyed!" I yelled. "Because once a Sorceress is killed…her powers pass on to the closest girl…she can't die without passing them on. So even if you kill the Sorceress, it won't do anything…"

"Absurd!" Quistis yelled. "Listen to them. They're covering you with lies! Lies! Trust me!

The SeeDs looked around at each other. Suddenly fights broke out everywhere. The place turned into a frenzy. Quistis dove at me, but Seifer pushed me out of the way to push her off. The others shook off the SeeDs that had brought us up.

I looked around at the mess. This was not my knight's Garden. This was some other Garden. A Garden possessed. Now, I need to break it before it destroys the Garden.

"Everyone!" I yelled in my loudest voice. "Everyone listen here! Listen to me!" Most of the SeeDs put down their weapons. The grappling and fighting stopped. Even behind me, my friends stopped. All eyes were on me. My heart pounded with anticipation and worry. Sweat poured down my face and my knees buckled. No! Now was not the time to be afraid.

"Listen to me, please…" I said. "Yes, I am the Sorceress…but not all Sorceresses are evil! I'm not about to destroy the Garden. The reason I first left was because I was afraid. I was scared. I was being attacked and hunted down as if I were a dog. But my friends came. My friends came through for me. They comforted me when I was afraid. When I felt threatened, they protected me. They always have, and I want to protect them.

"I came back because I heard that Quistis had taken over as Commander and the Garden was split. My knight, Squall, was torn between his job and me, and I know he doesn't want to have to choose. I also came back because this is where I met Squall. This is such a meaningful place to me, and I wasn't even raised here. I know how much this place must mean to many of you, and I hate to see you have to be torn apart because of me!

"I don't want you to hate me, or to resent Squall, or anyone here. This place should be united so that we may fight for one another and fight for the world. We fight for those who need it. Like Squall, Selphie, and Zell were assigned to help my Timber Resistance Group. And although eventually our journey led us to fight Ultimecia, we all have protected one another, looked out for one another. That's what this place should be. There shouldn't be all this fighting, all this segregation for something that is totally unnecessary."

I looked about the auditorium and the SeeDs were helping one another up, even if they had been fighting just moments ago. The eyes were still upon me, but I was not afraid. I continued with my speech, letting the words float out of my mouth.

"Maybe…maybe this seems weird because many of you probably think of me as an enemy. But the real enemy is ourselves and the images that have been implanted in our heads. Of course it's natural, we all saw the terror that Sorceress Edea had brought back in Deling City that night. But please…everyone! Have faith in me! Believe in me! I don't want to hurt anyone…I don't want to see anyone get and be hurt…No one deserves it. I don't care what you've done in the past, or who you are. No one deserves to be alone and afraid, especially if they can't fight.

"So…let's all start out and help each other. We all have differences…and we're gonna get into fights. But this is silly. I don't know if I'm making any sense here…but just trust me. Trust that I'm only here to help. I'm a Sorceress, and I'm not afraid to admit it now. Let the whole world know! But also, let the whole world know that my knight is here to protect me, so I won't lose it. I won't hurt anyone. I promise it until the day I die. So please…Please trust me. Trust everyone else…" I looked around nervously. What else could I say?

No other words were needed. I heard a single person clapping to the right of me. Seifer? Within a few minutes the whole auditorium was erupted in applause and Quistis fell to her knees. Squall approached me and clung to me. He smiled a bit, but his body sensed danger, which worried me greatly.

"Foolish SeeDs. Such a pitiful thing formed," Spoke a voice which none of us had ever heard before.

"Show yourself!" I heard Seifer yell angrily drawing his gunblade. Squall embraced me tightly ready to protect me. A sudden bright light filled the auditorium and a heavenly type figure appeared on the stage where our group was. We all armed ourselves but Quistis kneeled possessed.

"Silly girl. You've been quite useless to me," the Angel spoke.

"Who are you?" Seifer shouted pointing his gunblade at the woman.

"I am the first Sorceress, the first descendent of Hyde."

"You had the power to control me…?" Quistis looked up weakened. Selphie ran to her side helping her up.

"Yes, of course. I am the Sorceress. I have that power…" She looked around the auditorium. Squall pushed me back some more and the Sorceress opened her mouth from a revelation and stared at me. She walked toward me. Squall attempted to keep her away, but I stepped up. "Young Sorceress, you descendant of mine…" The Sorceress put her hand on my cheek. I looked up at her anxiously. She looked into my eyes and I felt her staring deep into me. She pushed me away and I fell onto the ground. My lock with her eyes did not break. "How pathetic the powers have become over the thousands of years!" Squall quickly helped me up and stared at her. "Ahh. I see. You are her knight, no?"

"If you touch Rinoa again I'll see to it that you die here and now."

"No! Wait! Squall!" I exclaimed. He looked at me strange as I stepped forward back to the Sorceress. "Please…I have so many questions…How did these powers come to be? Why me? Why are you here? Why? Why?"

"Young Sorceress, I was born as an Angel from Hyde. Falling from the sky, I appeared on this world. I was taken in by an old couple and raised happily, but always was different. There was one man who kept me safe and he loved me. He was a knight at the nearby Kingdom, and came to visit me often, because he knew of my loneliness. Away from him, I was a terror. I was unpredictable. But when I was close to him, I was calm and gentle. I was willing to open my heart up to others." So that's why they call a Sorceress' protector a knight… "You see Young Sorceress, I am actually part of you. The Powers have been gradually passed down, and now pathetically they have weakened!"

"Why…why are you here?" I persisted hesitantly.

"To destroy what shouldn't be here in the first place!"

I stepped back clutching my pounding heart. I knew what she meant. She hated not being able to live a normal life, and not being around her knight. Suddenly, her whole life came into my head spinning around and around. As she said, she was raised by an old couple, but her whole life she was treated poorly. And her knight treasured her and cared for her…much the way that Squall cares for me. "But why? Why? Why? If you're gone now…!"

"But…I cannot rest. And once you die, you will never rest again. All of the Sorceresses ever existed-they live inside of you! And when you die you will live on inside of the next Sorceresses forever until the powers are destroyed! And I am here to rid of them forever!"

"No!" Squall yelled gripping his gunblade.

"You cannot stop it Knight. Young Sorceress, you know that you want this too. You know you don't want to be haunted and feared by your powers forever."

"No!" I yelled. "I'm changing all that! No longer will the Sorceress be feared, but instead…they're gonna protect everyone."

"Ha!" The Sorceress laughed. "Silly young idealistic Sorceress. You know little of the outside world do you not?"

"Enough to know how scary and hurtful it is. Enough to know the pain that people feel. I've seen the homeless wander; the rich oppress the poor. I know of people trying to get their freedom, and others abusing theirs. It's not fair, but I'm going to try to make it."

"Your words mean nothing! Move Knight, or no doubt you will be gone with the Sorceress forever." The Sorceress approached me closer. I forced a ball into my hands of all of the magic I had into a ball. It wasn't really a spell and had no name or element, it was just power. I fired it at the Sorceress who merely held her hand up to stop it. "This, this is magic! How pitiful! Let me show what your power really should be!" With a simple chant she stopped everything around us.

"What was that?!" My jaw dropped. She was right, her magic was much stronger. I could use some time magic such as Haste or Slow, but I couldn't stop time completely. How had she done that?!

"A simple time spell. Very simple Young Sorceress."

"Simple? Magic like this doesn't even exist in this time…" I looked around at everyone frozen. Had she compressed time? No, Ultimecia attempted that. "Ahhh! I'm so confused!" I screamed.

"Of course, you mind can't understand it. Mine barely could. I have come from the past in order to find the Sorceress to destroy her and the powers forever."

"But Ultimecia! And Adel! This doesn't make any sense!"

"Ultimecia was created, manufactured you could say. She had powers that appeared to be the Sorceress, and people believed she was. She inherited the Sorceress powers later by force, but in her time they were pitifully weak. Her time skills were from that girl, Ellone. But, I've noticed a loop here Young Sorceress. You took Ultimecia's power…"

"But she lives on!"

"No, that was another Ultimecia they produce with the same magical abilities. The fact is Young Sorceress, you possess the Sorceress power of Edea, who took Ultimecia's power, and Adel. Thus there is a mix of powers and a loop has formed. I am going to stop this loop, and destroy the Sorceress once and for all!"

"But! How do you mean loop?"

"Ultimecia inherits your powers in the future," The Sorceress answers me. As I was trying to understand what was going and what happened, I saw her holding a hand up and a bright light was collecting towards it. She lowered it cupping it in front of her.

"Damnit!" I heard someone yell. I looked over to see Seifer jumping in front of the Sorceress. My jaw dropped. How had he broken away? I looked around, and everyone was still frozen. I heard an eerie yell and everything turned white.

When I opened my eyes and could see once more, I saw everyone still frozen and Seifer lying on the ground. The Sorceress was gone. As I stood there looking at him, it snapped in my head. "Seifer!" I yelled kneeling down beside him cradling him in my arms. "Seifer…" I started to cry as he opened his eyes just barely.

He brought his hand up to my cheek wiping away a tear gently. "Rinoa…" I gripped onto him tighter. No Seifer, don't go. Don't leave me…Even…even if Squall has hated you, I haven't. "Don't worry…I don't even belong here…"

"Don't say that…"

"No really…I came from her time when I was a kid…my parents insisted me to follow her…I did my job…it's ok."

Through tears a looked around clutching him to me. Everything was still frozen. The only one who could make things back to normal, had simply vanished! "Is…is time stuck?"

"No…Accept her powers Rin…They're here…floating around in this room…Take them…"

I closed my eyes. The power suddenly jolted through me and I fell backwards passing out for a few moments. Or maybe they were hours. It didn't matter. Time had stopped, but Seifer was still slightly alive when I got up. I walked back to him and sat down.

"Change things back to normal…"

"But won't everything get screwed up? I inherited her powers! What about all the Sorceresses before me??"

"Rin…You can put things back to normal…Concentrate…you have the power. It's a strong spell, but I know you can handle it Rin…"

I stood up shakily. "But that means…that when this is back…You'll be…?"

"Concentrate," He commanded.

I nodded slowly and held my hands out in front of me. I closed my eyes. In my mind, it was like a whole flurry of spells flashed through it. Before I knew what was going on, I was chanting a spell I felt the power gathering on my hands which were cupped as if to hold all the energy. What I felt was so powerful…so much stronger then what I had fired at her before. I don't remember much about the chant or the spell. All I remember is this:

"Hands of time

Balance out once more

Return to your equal position

And return where they belong."

I remember there being something about Hyde, but the words were just spitting out of my mouth. I also remember Seifer say to me "Riny…thanks. Until we meet again my friend…" At that moment I just wanted to stop the spell, but it was already proceeding to do what I had told it to do. Me…I was restoring time. It went to correct time, and to correct the holder of the powers. I still had the powers in my possession, and they were still strong, maybe it could be called the Sorceress's rebirth or something…I just know I didn't have any thoughts of Ultimecia, at least memories and such. I felt confident that my spell had worked.

I opened my eyes and noticed everything was coming back to life. And that's when I looked at Seifer. And he was… "Seifer!" I yelled running to him kneeling beside him. I cried taking his lifeless body into my arms. I knew…he really was gone. Oh Seifer…you sacrificed yourself. Why? Of course…the answer was obvious. For me…but it was also the world he seemed to hate so much. It was rather funny to me. What was he, the one who hated the world and despised everything so much, thinking when he jumped in front of the Sorceress?

"Riny! Riny?" I felt Squall kneeling beside me bear hugging me tightly from the side. I looked up at him crying. He put one hand behind my head pushing it to his chest.

The others knelt down beside Seifer. "Rinoa, what happened?" I heard Quistis ask. I just cried in his chest.

"Hey!" Selphie exclaimed. "Where's the Sorceress?"

Of course they didn't know. They were frozen to the point where the Sorceress had casted the time spell. They didn't know about Ultimecia…or me…or her. All they knew was that one second the Sorceress was about to kill me, and the next Seifer was lying on the ground dead and the Sorceress was gone. I just cried as Squall held me. He rocked me gently and I felt all of their eyes, including the SeeDs on me.

I honestly have no recollection from the time that I was in Squall's arms after the Sorceress killed Seifer and herself, to the time that we had Seifer's funeral. I remember sitting in the front row in my black evening gown staring at the casket, knowing Seifer, in his gray trenchcoat and gunblade by his side, the man who never showed his weakness, was dead. Headmaster Cid had brought Balamb Garden back to where it had been built before Squall found that it could move. We had decided that Seifer would be buried under in the basin and we would put a giant tombstone in front of it for him.

"Does anyone wish to share their thoughts about Seifer…? Memories…feelings? Anything?" Dr. Kadowaki asked, acting sort of as the priest. The place went silent. No one went up.

"I do…" I said releasing Squall's hand and walking up to the podium. I looked at Seifer's casket then looked at the SeeDs. I swallowed the lump in my throat and began to speak.

"I first met Seifer when he came to Timber…I was new there and had joined the rebel faction. He had come on an excursion with Raijin and Fuijin and we met by an accident. We talked a lot…and that summer we went out. He broke up with me at the end though…because he knew he had to go back to the Garden. He swore to me that he did care about me…But I didn't believe him of course…Later…when Squall, Quistis, Selphie, Zell, and I were in Galbadia Garden…when I heard that Seifer was to be executed I wanted to cry. I felt the same feeling over again, and I think I would've given myself up for him. Of course, Seifer wouldn't have liked it.

"But then…there was a time when I thought I really hated him…Though that time went away and we became friends again, a bit. But he never approached me or anything during that time when the word got around that I was the Sorceress…" I started to break down in tears.

"Let me tell you something…Seifer would probably be mad if he knew I told you this…When the Sorceress appeared…she froze time for a bit. She was intent on killing me and herself. But just as she was gathering her power for her spell…and just as she was about to fire it at me…" I bit my lip to get my last few words out. "He…he jumped in front of her…"

I bursted out crying. Squall came up and helped me back to my seat. I was at the end of my story luckily, but thinking about what he did…What possessed him? Why? I guess…I have to wait to get my question answered…He said we'd meet again right…?

Some time later I was standing on the second floor balcony. It was only a few days after the funeral in the auditorium. It was the night after we buried Seifer in the basin. Forever he would be a hero, at least to the SeeDs. But it's rather ironic because he never made the cut as a SeeD. This whole situation is ironic! Seifer saving me…and then the whole funeral was ironic. He would've killed everyone if he saw it. And then the fact that he's a hero…

But by far, the most ironic part was that since his death and since the conquering of the Sorceress and the restoration of time, Squall has been distancing himself away from me. Why? Can he not see I need him to hold me more then ever?

"Rinoa…?" I heard Quistis' voice. She walked up beside me and leaning on the railing looking at me. "What's going on with you and Squall…?" I shrugged. "Are you in a fight…?"

"Why? So you can take him?" I asked looking down.

"Rinoa…I…" She turned away from me. "I know what I did was inexcusable…but I couldn't help it. I know you can't forgive me…but…at least go talk to Squall? You two went through all of this…" She was right, I had to admit that.

"Where is he?" I asked turning my tear stained face to her.

"In his room…Irvine and Zell have been trying to comfort him…Oh Riny…" I buried my face into my hands crying. What was going on? My head was spinning. I can't face the rest of my life without my knight. I just can't do it. No Sorceress can! Quistis took me in her arms hugging me tightly. The whole group basically called me Riny now. They all had their nicknames like Quisty, so they sort of fit me into their group by calling me Riny. "Come on dear, I think you two need to have a talk."

"I hate these talks! I've always hated them!" I cried as she kept an arm around me walking me towards the dorms. It was a long walk because I was reluctant to go. I was afraid of what would happen.

"Riny, but if you don't you're only going to get more hurt. Besides, don't you need your Knight?" I smiled a bit. She was right. Oh, Quistis was always right. Even only if only by a year, she was the eldest in our group and always seemed to be the wisest. "Come on, I want as much as you do for you two to be together."

"But you want him too…" I said sorrowfully as we were in the elevator.

"I've gotten long over it. I know I don't have a chance…it's OK. Riny, you two love each other. You can't separate an Angel and her Knight. Now come on!" She took my hand and ran to the dormitory. We found Irvine and Zell outside. "What happened?" Quistis asked them.

"He just can't think," Zell said.

"Why is he so upset…?" I asked.

"Seifer…" He said. The three of them walked away leaving me standing outside Squall's dorm.

I took a deep breath and slowly opened the door. As I stepped in I saw him reaching for his gunblade. I gasped and almost walked out. "Riny! No!" I heard him cry desperately. I shut the door and bloodshot eyes met one another. We each stood there looking at each other.

What was I supposed to do? I wanted to run into his arms and have him hold me like he always did. But then, everything suddenly dawned on me. Just as he needed me and his job, he needed me to support him too sometimes. He needed me to comfort and console him when he was weak. I can't expect him to care for me the whole time all the time!

I took a few steps to him slowly. "Squall…I love you!" I ran to him throwing my arms tightly around him. He closed his eyes and I felt a few of his tears fall on my hair as his arms gently wrapped around me. I slipped off his jacket and massaged his shoulders a bit looking into his eyes. "Please…talk to me…"

"Sorry…I just…got jealous…and I didn't see you much…"

"Squall…shhh. It's Ok…I'm sorry I didn't talk to you…but I love you…"

"Really…?" He asked unsure of everything.

"I…I promise…I'm sorry if I hurt you…" I wrapped my arms so tightly around him. "I love you so much…" I whispered to him.

"Thanks…Riny…" He wrapped his arms around me tightly around me. I wrapped my hand around his head and pushed his head into my shoulder. He did the same to me and we held each other for who knows how long. We cried a bit, then snuggled a bit. I don't know how long we held each other like that…but it didn't matter. We were together and we loved on another. That's all that mattered. That's all that'll ever matter.

Together we helped each other to his bed and pulled the covers over us. We held each other tightly and slept in each other's arms. It was so comforting…because I knew I'd wake up in his arms…and he'd wake up in mine. "Isn't it amazing…?" I asked gently. "Everything in this short time…"

"Shhh…it's done now. It doesn't matter…" He whispered back to me half asleep. I smiled and closed my eyes. Squall was right; it DIDN'T matter. Only we did.