The author does not own the Final Fantasy franchise.
As nightfall approached Balamb, the dark sky made the moon and stars shine all the brighter as they took over where the setting sun left off. It also added to the distinct glow coming from the eccentric yet dignified edifice that was Balamb Garden. A party had just started, and more and more people, students and distinguished guests alike, filled the main hall as the evening went on. All around, collective murmurs and the occasional tinkling of wine glasses blended with mellow orchestral music that invited couples of all ages to the dance floor.
A young brunette lady in ivory white silently stood alone among the dancing couples, watching through the open ceiling as a shooting star made its way across the night sky. Her eyes seemed to follow its path as it quickly passed the more still of its kind until she lost sight of it. Blinking twice at the end of the heavenly display, she settled on watching the people around her, eventually fixing her gaze on a raven-haired young man in the standard SeeD uniform leaning against a post by the archway, who must also have been watching the shooting star. He must have noticed her eyes fixed on him, as he quickly shifted his gaze onto her, giving her a shrug and a friendly smile. Her eyes narrowed in confusion as she slightly averted her gaze to the opposite side. Without warning, the male SeeD strode across to where she was, his quickly-approaching steps seemingly in time with the fading strains of music. He stopped in front of her as the song ended and bowed, much to the lady's surprise.
"The next dance is about to start," he began. "Can't leave a young lady such as yourself out here alone, can we?" A hand was extended to her, but she did not take it, staring up at him with slight disapprovement for a few moments.
"I don't dance," she finally said, albeit a bit too loud. At this, some people around them began to watch the conversation unfold. Suddenly tense, she panned her eyes around her, as if looking for a way to escape the unwanted attention. The young man chuckled.
"Come on," he persuaded her. "You're not going to get any guys to like you if you're very choosy. Here," he offered his right hand again. The young woman began to protest, but couldn't do so as the music began once more. A more familiar melody was playing this time, which only seemed to further encourage him to ask her to dance. The spectators to their earlier exchange were now minding their own business once more, some of them even taking to the dance floor themselves. She sighed defeatedly, and weakly let him take her right hand. Her now-dance-partner smiled down at her and kissed it.
"Shall we?" She briefly looked up at him, as if to roll her eyes. He did not take notice, instead taking their proper positions on the dance floor while she intently studied the movements of the couples around them. She looked back at her partner as he placed her left hand on his right shoulder and rested his right hand on her waist. He then gently took her right hand into his left before proceeding to lead her across the dance floor, their feet moving in time with the beat of the music.
She was not able to follow him properly for the first part of the dance, tripping on her high heels several times. One time, they had to stop briefly to let her partner reposition their hold on each other before continuing; yet another time, she bumped into him quite forcefully as she tried to twirl inward. At this, she attempted to leave the dance floor, muttering a quick "I told you so" as she did. The young SeeD, however, was quite persistent; he quickly got hold of her right hand and pulled her back to him, then moved in a clockwise direction while she merely turned at the pull of his hand, this part of the dance seemingly a bit too fast for her to follow. They collided with another dancing pair as they returned to their starting position, and both males briefly exchanged dirty looks before her partner looked back at her. She slightly cocked her head to the left in confusion as he merely smiled.
"Don't worry about it," he reassured her. "One thing at a time." He offered his right hand once more. This time she rolled her eyes and chuckled at him. "Whatever."
The second part of the dance started, with the music being faster than that of the first part. But this time, she was now more used to the dance, and was able to perfectly follow his lead, even when they parted and danced around each other before joining hands again to let herself twirl outward, then finally returning to their starting position. Suddenly, the hall lights dimmed and the music faded for a while as fireworks of different colors lit up the night sky. They stopped dancing to watch the exploding lights, then looked at each other again, smiling amusedly.
The music began once more, but they could not join the others in dancing as another female SeeD approached them, whispering something into her male colleague's ear before they both began to retreat to the side of the dance floor. She, though, was so awed and amused at the turn of events that she did not even notice that he had already left her there, until she felt gentle taps on her shoulder. It was her partner, now smirking at her, beckoning her to come with him.
"Time?" He nodded, then took her right hand and led her away in the same direction the female SeeD led him. They were met by a group of older guests and young students at the side of the hall, who have been chattering endlessly until their arrival. Silence fell upon them for a few moments before the young ones giggled and the older ones smiled at them. The lady took it all well until one of them, a blond-haired male SeeD, started laughing openly at them.
"W-we saw that!" he exclaimed, amid fits of laughter. "An exact copy of..." He could no longer continue as laughter consumed him completely. One of the older guests, a female in glasses with long, blond hair partly tied in a bun, called his attention and gazed at him disapprovingly, trying to no avail to hide her great amusement at what just happened. The newly-arrived pair, especially the young lady, glared at the lot of them before an older couple among the group approached them, upon which they automatically ceased giving the rest dagger looks, facing their guests instead.
"Don't mind them," the woman, a shorter, raven-haired version of her, tried to calm them down, gently taking the young lady's hand into hers. The older man - a brunette sporting almost the same look as her partner, on the other hand, merely pat his younger version's shoulder as if in reassurance. Although both understood what the older pair were trying to tell them, they were still not at peace, what with the rest of the group still chuckling at them.
"You don't understand, Mother," the lady protested once more; the young SeeD beside her weakly joined in, if only to appease her by taking her side. "We were just-"
"We know," the older man cut her off, looking back at the others, who by this time already stopped laughing and were smiling at them. He, too, could not hide the faint smile forming on his lips, as he returned his gaze to his wife and children. Watching the reactions of her family, she could not help but sigh defeatedly, not wanting to destroy the good mood they were in, yet not completely understanding what was going on. What exactly was it about a simple dance that set them all off like that?
"Your mother and I met also during the SeeD graduation ball - exactly on a night like this," their father started, taking her by suprise. "Waltz for the Moon, I believe the music was called. Rinoa told me about it later on." Beside them, their mother and her younger brother exchanged amused, knowing glances. At the revelation and upon their reactions, the young woman slapped her palm on her forehead.
"No wonder the music sounded so familiar," she mumbled, as she turned and shot a deadly glance at her brother, who merely held up his hands in surprise. "You knew, didn't you?"
"Trust me, it was coincidence! No dreams involved," he defended himself from his fuming older sister, before placing a hand on her right shoulder. "But... it was fun, wasn't it?"
She was taken by surprise at first, before her gaze eventually softened. "Yes... it was." She smiled at him, before holding out a hand to him. "Thanks, and.. congratulations again. On making it to SeeD."
"Uh... thanks, too," he replied awkwardly as he returned her handshake. No sooner did the gesture end when an older blond-haired male started laughing, this time directing jeers at their father.
"The kids are now as shy as their old man! Are all Leonharts like that? I should have known!" He was about to say something more when his wife, the blond female with glasses, elbowed him.
"You're just as bad as our son," she admonished. "The loudmouths you both are will soon be the death of me." Everyone else laughed for a while, until an older SeeD with a tattoo on his face spoke up. "Come on, Squall! How about telling the kids how the rest of the evening went?" The rest joined him in agreement.
"No," said person answered curtly, narrowing his eyes. The other Leonharts thought they could see a faint blush creeping on their slightly-introvert father's cheeks. Seeing that it was getting late and deciding that enough was enough, Rinoa finally called it a night for them, subsequently ending the teasing and saving her husband. Squall gave his wife a quick glance, his eyes expressing a silent thanks. Both shared a few moments of silence between them before turning to face their friends. The group took this as the end of the matter and said their goodbyes as the family took their leave from the party.
Later that night, the lady Leonhart quietly paced around in her room, packing her belongings for her return to Trabia Garden the next morning, also making a mental note to herself to steer clear of people, especially students and personnel who have been at the party earlier. While moving a heavy pile of clothes across, she happened to stop before the medium-sized mirror. For the first time in what seemed like ages for her, she studied her own reflection. She still had on the short ivory dress from the festivities - she hadn't thought of changing into her normal outfit before packing. The dimmed light coming from the night sky, however, gave her whole appearance a different glow - the way the light was reflected on her eyes, cheeks and lips, the way it seemingly transformed her dark, chocolate brown hair into almost silky, raven black. It was as if a different person was before her, and she didn't need a dream to confirm who it was.
Soft chuckles filled the room for a while before she finally turned away from her reflection and gazed out her window upon the still night, remembering the earlier events. She would definitely agree with her father if he later described that night as an enchanting one, if he ever would. After all, this one night, twenty years later, also carried some sort of magic for her, but not in the romantic sense. She did not know if her brother felt the same way, but she felt that he would somehow understand - how it felt like to waltz through the looking glass yet remain a spectator of the reflections behind it - reliving the past while being in the present. For her, it was something that a dream would never compare to - ever.