Disclaimer : All characters belong to Square Enix
A/N: For the WIB Challenge. This story was inspired by the fact that it was Squall's birthday AND the Chinese Valentine's Day! As mention by Rinoa, this is kind of once in a life time event. For those who are unfamiliar with the lunar calendar, today is the 7 day of the 7 lunar month of the Chinese calendar. It happen on different dates each year.
I tweaked a lot from the actual version of the myth to suit the FF8 world. The actual myth title is called Cowherd and Weaving Maid. So for those who actually know how the actual story goes, please do not kill me for twisting it :P
Fair warning though. I try to look through to spot any mistake as much as I could. When Rinoa was retelling the story to Squall, she was actually using the name 'the pub owner' and 'angel' rather than Squall and Rinoa. I get this done within 2 hours so I hope that it is actually decent. I admit I kind of cut some slack in the character development in the myth that Rinoa is retelling. Maybe I will get into more details in the story in the future
Right now, I would like to share this special dates with all of you and may all lovers reunite on this day. Happy Chinese Valentine's Day everyone
It was closing eleven at night on 23 August when Squall found Rinoa on the balcony of their apartment. Shortly after the birthday party that was held for him had ended (though he wondered if the party was more for him or for them, since his friends seemed to enjoy the party more than he did), he found Rinoa occasionally looking up to the night sky and couldn't help but feel curious about what she was doing, so he decided to go to the balcony to ask her.
"Rinoa, what are you doing up here?" Squall asked as he hugged his wife of three years from behind.
Closing her eyes and leaning against her husband, she answered,
"Looking for two stars that are said to be connected to each other during this time of - year," Looking up toward the night sky, Rinoa gasped in surprise and gestured for her husband to look up at the night sky.
Indeed, two stars, seemingly connected by a line of smaller stars, had appeared in the night sky. Even Squall himself was amazed by the sight.
"What was that?" He wondered to himself and when he looked down at his wife, Rinoa gave him a peck on his cheek and said, "Happy Valentine's Day Squall."
Raising his eyebrow and chuckling in amusement, Squall said,
"I am sure that Valentine's Day is already over Rinoa. Are you sure you haven't had too much to drink just now and mixed up the dates?"
Shaking her head, Rinoa giggled in response,
"No Squall. Today is indeed Valentine's Day. Not the usual February 14 Valentine's Day. But rather, this day happens to be the 7th day of the 7th lunar month of the ancient Centra culture. In other words, today is ancient Centra's Valentine's Day. And mind you, I guess this is a once in every few decades chance that your birthday happens to fall on this date." Rinoa winked to him after her explanation.
Squall looked at her in question and Rinoa knew that he was waiting for more explanation from her. It appeared that ancient Centra history was not quite Squall's forte.
"Ancient Centra used a different type of calendar than we do. They simply divide the months into 30 days with every 15th day set to be the full moon. And it is really accurate! All right, let's not get into this,"
Turning around so that she could face her husband, she asked,
"Would you like to hear about the story behind the forming of the two stars that you witnessed earlier?"
Giving her shrug, Squall answered,
"Well why not? I am curious about that. I will try to see if I find a scientific explanation for this…" Squall trailed off as his wife rolled her eyes. Typical Squall, always trying to use logic to explain the unexplained things in the world.
"All right, here goes. I was reading about the myth and legends of Ancient Centra when I came upon this story…"
"Squall, would you please try to find a wife to help you out? Soon you will be old and lonely and end up dying alone in this pub with nobody knowing!" Ellone exclaimed as she watched her younger brother wipe off a glass before putting it back on the shelf.
Ellone was back from the city with her husband to visit Squall. After their parents' death, Squall inherited the pub and continued to run it. However, his efforts in maintaining his late parents' pub meant that he had little time to look for someone, or so his sister said. Frankly speaking, he was not interested, period.
"Don't worry sis. I will give your grandchildren a call once I am dying. For now, there is no one special so quit bugging me about it. I want someone who is willing to take care of the pub and work hard, not like those girls who expect to do nothing simply because they married the boss of a pub."
Ellone sighed. It appeared that there was no one who would meet her brother's requirements.
"But Squall, your special someone is not going to drop down from the sky. You have to look for one actively!"
Squall gave his sister a shrug and went back to work and Ellone sighed in defeat. She had failed to talk sense into her brother…again
And she had no idea how right she could be, when she mentioned that the special someone would literally drop from the sky…
Ellone went back with her husband and reminded Squall again to look for someone before she left that night. Squall couldn't help but shake his head. He would never hear the end of it from his sister as long as he stayed single.
As he went back to his pub, he suddenly heard a loud bang that sounded like someone had fallen from a great height. Rushing to the source of the sound, he was astonished to find a girl laying flat on the ground. She was dressed in blue, and had inky black hair with caramel highlights.
Slowly, the girl picked herself up and dusted the dirt from her clothes. Looking at Squall with her big brown eyes, she introduced herself,
"Hello! I am Rinoa, an angel from above and this dog is my sidekick Angelo!" And the dog barked in response. Raising her hand to Squall, she continued,
"Nice to meet you!"
But before she could shake Squall's hand, she found him laying flat on the ground.
'This must be a dream' Squall concluded as he slowly opened his eyes. He remembered he was making his way back to the pub after sending his sister off and hearing a loud noise. Certainly, he did not see a girl and her dog who claimed to be angels. He must be hallucinating.
"Are you all right?" Squall jumped and stared at the girl. She was real! And he was definitely not hallucinating!
Giggling at the boy's response, she said,
"No worries. I am here on a so called vacation granted by Hyne to learn more about humans. See?" She gestured to the flowers around her, which had not been there moments before, and told Squall,
"I am the angel of nature. My power is to grant life to the flora and fauna around the world! So, will you offer me a place to stay while I visit here?"
Squall kept staring at her as if she had grown another head. Were the flowers even real? Suddenly, a flower appeared in his hand as if she was trying to prove to him that she was real.
Maybe he was crazy to actually believe her but for once Squall actually said to a girl,
"All right, you and your dog can stay at my place while you learn whatever you want." And Rinoa couldn't help but squeal in delight at the kind human that she had met.
When she first entered his house, he had to stop her from trying the first drink that she saw, which was alcoholic. He set ground rules for her; the most important of which was not to mention to others who she really was or to show off her power. It would scare people off; he explained when Rinoa asked him why. He simply told her that either she followed the rules or she and her dog would have to find another place to stay.
Knowing of her own situation and trusting the man before her, she nodded and satisfied by that, Squall showed her where she would be staying.
Soon, weeks turned into months and all too soon, a year had passed since Rinoa had 'landed'. Over the year, Rinoa had learnt a lot about human behaviours and their culture. And most importantly, she found herself learning the one thing she secretly wanted to learn, and that was love. Rinoa felt that she had found it in the usually stoic Squall. He might appear uncaring but in actual fact, he was quite protective of her even though she never really told him the truth about why she was among them.
During that year, Squall couldn't help feeling attracted to this so called angel that he'd met. Of course, he had to lie to his nosy neighbours, telling them that Rinoa was a friend of his sister's from out of town looking for a place to stay. Squall observed that Rinoa was easily contented and she possessed the boundless curiosity of a five year old child. With her dog following her, she soon earned her fair share of admirers, mostly the elderly for her respectful ways and child like attitude. It also helped that she brought in more customers for Squall because of her unique flowers that she 'grew' by herself. She became known for being quite a proficient florist.
"When are you going back Rinoa?" Squall asked her one day when he was closing his pub. Looking at him, Rinoa shuffled her feet and answered,
"Well Squall. You see, I was not on a vacation. I escaped from Hyne when he refused to let me come down to experience human life."
Looking up at him, she continued,
"So, I am not sure when Hyne will realise that I am gone. But still, I think I've found what I wanted to learn."
Pausing for a moment, she added, "And that is love." And she quickly headed back to her room.
Staring at her disappearing back in surprise, Squall felt a headache coming. Escape from Hyne! What would happen if Hyne came down himself to find her? Would he be able to protect her? Wait…protect? Squall knew he was in trouble. The moment Rinoa had entered his life; he couldn't help but to be drawn to her. Outgoing and sincere, she had opened him up more than anyone else had managed to do. If Squall had remembered correctly, the usual bedtime stories he'd heard from his parents told him of how Hyne had actually forbidden his angels from ever falling in love. For fear of one of his angels losing their mind should their loved one die.
And did Rinoa mention love when she looked at him? From that moment, Squall knew that he would do anything, to keep her safe.
Ever since the little confession from Rinoa that night, Squall and Rinoa grew closer. Squall was determined to keep her safe from any threat. And finally, on the night of a full moon, Squall asked Rinoa,
"Would you like to…stay with me?"
"Well, I am staying with you now" Rinoa replied, puzzled.
"I know, I mean, would you like to…" Frustrated, Squall left.
Rinoa soon caught up with him and said,
"You know, I've always wanted to have a family, and I kind of wish that you would be the father of that family." And with that sentence, Squall turned and hugged Rinoa and for the first time, things were right. It didn't matter if Hyne came down now to find Rinoa. They would find a way to be together.
Another year passed since Squall and Rinoa decided to get married. Looking over at her set of new born twins, she couldn't help but feel that she was the luckiest angel of Hyne. Having a family of her own, experiencing love; not only that, she also had a sister-in-law, a term she only knew after getting married to Squall, who simply adored her and thanked her for making her brother 'normal'. As she was thinking about this, she heard a frighteningly familiar sound.
"RINOA!" a voice boomed from above and Rinoa was terrified. Squall rushed to her side when he heard that voice and realised to his utter horror that Hyne himself had come down to find her.
Hyne was dismayed when he learned that Rinoa, his favourite angel, intended to learn more about humans. He knew that she would be heartbroken and might lose her mind if the human she loved died. And if an angel lost her mind, Hyne would have no choice but to destroy the very soul of the angel in order to prevent the destruction of the world with the power He'd bestowed to them upon their creation.
When Rinoa was in the process of giving birth, she had unknowingly released the very energy that made Hyne able to locate her easily once he discovered that she had escaped from her prison.
When Hyne came down and witnessed that Rinoa had outright disobeyed him, even having a family with the mortal, he was beyond angry but most of all, he was disappointed.
"COME WITH ME!" he boomed and when Squall was about to stop him, Rinoa disappeared into thin air.
"What has happened? And where is Rinoa?" Ellone asked him.
Unable to answer his sister at his sudden loss of his wife and his guilt at being unable to protect her, he simply told her,
"Take care of the twins, I am going to bring her back" And with that Squall was gone, leaving Ellone with his new born twins.
Back in heaven, Hyne looked at the crying Rinoa, who begged him to let her go and reunite with her family. Giving her a firm shake of his head he said,
"You should know better Rinoa. Giving you a chance is like giving other angels a chance to rebel like you! It is for your own good! Do not worry. Soon, you will forget them. I promise you that, I will make sure to watch over your children and your husband."
And with that he left.
Meanwhile, Squall just ran. He had no idea how to get his wife back. Walking through the flower field that his wife created not long ago, he suddenly heard,
"Come, let's find my mistress. I will give you a ride" Angelo said.
"YOU CAN TALK?!" Squall exclaimed when Angelo sat beside him.
"I think you forget that I came down from heaven with her. I knew that talking to humans would only make you all freak out."
"You already are…"Squall mumbled and before he knew it, Angelo nudged him to its back and soon, Squall found himself flying up to heaven.
"Rinoa" Squall shouted when he saw her crying on a stone hedge. Startled and surprised by the voice, Rinoa look out and quickly ran to her husband and hugged him.
A few seconds into the hug, Squall and Rinoa felt a force dividing the two of them, forcing them apart.. In between them was a river of stars.
"HUMAN! IT IS FORBIDDEN FOR YOU TO ENTER HERE! YOU ARE LUCKY THAT I DID NOT PUNISH YOU FOR LEADING MY ANGEL ASTRAY! LEAVE NOW WITH ANGELO OR DIE TRYING TO GET ACROSS TO HER!"
"Why you want to separate us! Don't you preach about love to us? "Squall shot back. He could not believe that the all powerful Hyne would actually stop them!
"IT IS FOR THE BEST FOR BOTH OF YOU! YOU ARE A MORTAL AND WHEN YOU DIE OF OLD AGE. RINOA MIGHT LOSE HER MIND, FORCING METO DESTROY HER SOUL. "
In defiance of what Hyne had said, Squall took a tentative step toward the river of stars.
"No Squall! You will fall to your death! Return now with Angelo and take care of our children!" Rinoa begged.
"I know it is selfish but Ellone can take care of them. What is life without you? You gave it meaning when I thought my life would be bleak. You made me appreciate the beauty of life around me whenever you created a flower with your smile." And with that, Squall took another step and when Rinoa was about to scream, thousands of maple birds flew in between them and form a bridge. Surprised but happy, Rinoa ran into Squall's arms, who was in shock as well.
"LOOKS LIKE YOUR DEVOTION TO EACH OTHER HAVE MOVED THE MAPLE BIRDS TO FORM A BRIDGE BETWEEN YOU. VERYWELL. ON THIS VERY DAY, ON THE 7th DAY OF THE 7th LUNAR MONTH, YOU WILL GET TO REUNITE WITH YOUR FAMILY ONCE A YEAR"
"And so, the pub owner met his wife in heaven once a year, along with his children, helped by the dog and the maple birds. As the children grew older and had their own families, it was once again just the pub owner going to visit his wife each year. As the man grew weaker, he finally died in her arms on the day they met. His spirit left his body and upon seeing his devotion, Hyne let his spirit stay in heaven. But they could only hold each other on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month with the help of the maple birds. Their story was told by their descendants, who decided to honour them on this special day."
"So, this is the story? It sounds kind of farfetched." Squall said
Resisting rolling her eyes yet again, Rinoa said,
"Squall, this is a myth. It is supposed to sound farfetched. But still…" Rinoa paused.
"Would you go this far for me? To defy even Hyne himself and face imminent death in order to be with me?"
"I did jump into space for you if you recall. But to only hold you once a year? I don't think I'll be like the pub owner; I want to hold you forever."
And with that, Squall shared a passionate kiss with Rinoa. Up in the sky, the two stars twinkled, as if glad that true love was still alive even after generations had passed.
A/N: For the WIB Challenge which is happening right now! Please go to the forum for more details!
P.S Beta Reader are welcome:) Please help me to improve my writing:)
Edited on 26 August- I tried to edit some of the more glaring mistakes that I made. As I was editing, I have actually more ideas and details I want to put in. From why Rinoa decided to learn more about the humans, her escape, her attempts in learning to be a human and falling in love with Squall etc. Maybe I will get into it one day. In the meantime, enjoy:)
Final edit: Special thanks to Ronin-ai for helping me to edit the whole story!