Disclaimer: All characters and situations from the games FFVIII and FFX are property of Square Enix. I do not claim ownership of any of them. Characters that were created by the authors of this story (such as Vira Eronwil, Dorin Vachon, Kravis, ect.) are owned by us. At least that's how I think it goes. We do this for fun and not profit.


Chapter 7
Reunion, Part II

"I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream. I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam. And I know it's true, that visions are seldom all they seembut if I know you, I know what you'll do. You'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream." - Briar Rose, Sleeping Beauty


1. Whistle Just One More Time

Bweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Tidus stared over the water, out of breath. He sighed and tried again.

Bweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

No answer. Lulu told him the boat from Kilika would come in that day, and he'd been at the dock since just after breakfast waiting for it. He thought maybe if he whistled, it'd come faster. It was a pretty stupid idea, and he knew it, but he did it anyway. Stupid ideas were things that Tidus was familiar with from time to time, and for him, they usually seemed to work out. To some, fading away might've seemed stupid, but that worked out, didn't it?

Sometimes Tidus thought he had some spirit of luck with him. No matter how bad things got, he always managed to get through them.

Then he could manage to wait for this damn boat to arrive.

Tidus sat down at the edge of the dock, dangling his feet off the edge. At first, he stared over the horizon towards Kilika with a nervous impatience. Then he glanced over his shoulder, looking over the rest of the dock. He remembered the dream he had when he first came to Besaid, right after meeting Yuna.

She stood on the dock with him, asking him if he was going to take her to Zanarkand, or something like that. Then he was jogging, he didn't know why. Rikku came out of nowhere, saying he'd say he'd go with her. Everything turned south from there when his father entered the dream.

He shook his head, knocking the memory of the dream away. The dream was a lifetime ago, and made no sense in the first place. Tidus looked back to the ocean.

Two yearsHe wanted to know what she had done in those two years. He wanted to know what she'd learned, what she'd seen, everything that she could tell him. Those were two years Tidus missed out on, and maybe having Yuna tell him what she did could make him feel more like he had been there. He had missed her so much, more than he had even thought he would. In those two years, his thoughts always drifted back to her, what she was doing, how he needed to get back to her. Tidus thought maybe because she needed him to be there, but that was a lie. She didn't need him, not for protection. She had so many others for that. But Tidus still felt that he had to get back to her, no matter how long it took.

Maybe because no girl had ever made him feel as good as she did. Tidus could just be Tidusnot a blitzball star, not a guardian, not the 'new crazy guy from a place that doesn't exist.' When he was just himself, Yuna seemed happy. That was enough for him.

And dammit, that boat had to be late. Tidus stood up again and kicked at the worn wooden dock in frustration. How much longer would he have to endure thinking about all this? He was better in action than in thought, never much for being philosophical, and all this inaction was driving him nuts.

He was going to whistle one more time and then head back to town. She'd come there after the boat got the island anyway, so he wouldn't miss her. Yuna would eventually come.

But he would whistle one more time, just to see what would happen. Tidus put his fingers to his lips and took a deep breath.

Bweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Silence. He stood and listened for a moment for something-anything-that could be thought of as a reply. He scoured the horizon for a boat, squinting his eyes against the bright sunshine.

There was something. He caught sight of a tiny dot on the horizon, one that he hadn't seen before. Then-

Bweeeeeeeeeeet!

Short and sweet, but it was clear as a cloudless sky. He heard the whistle and knew that it was herand she had heard him.

"Alright!" he shouted out loud. The excitement was almost overwhelming, Tidus wanted to jump in the air, pump his fists and shout until he became hoarse. But he had more self control than that.

Tidus stood at the edge of the dock, watching the boat become a larger dot on the horizon. He didn't need to whistle anymore, all he had to do was wait a little longer.


2. Dreamer

Yuna looked out over the deck as the boat drew closer to Besaid. Selphie was standing next to her, almost falling out of the boat, if Irvine hadn't been holding onto the back of her dress.

"Look! An island!" she cried. "Is that Besaid?"

Yuna nodded.

"Awesome!" Selphie grinned. "I love little islands."

Irvine laughed and caused Selphie to be jerked back and forth over the boat. Her eyes widened. "Hey, Irvy, knock it off or I'm gonna fall in!"

"Sefie, you love practically everything," he said, gaining control of himself.

Selphie frowned a little, pushing herself back onto the boat, Irvine letting go of her dress. "Not everything. Sometimes I don't like your attitude." She stuck her tongue out at him and laughed slightly, then walked off. Irvine shook his head and followed her. Yuna smiled and looked back at Besaid, getting larger by the minute.

She had heard the whistle, sounding more beautiful to her ears than any song she'd ever heard. It took her a minute to understand it again, not quite believing that she heard it. She had looked around, and when she noticed that other people heard it too, her heart began to swell. Feverishly, she had whistled back, to let him know she heard him. She almost couldn't believe it.

He was real, truly real, and waiting for her. She could hear his whistle and very soon, she would be with him again. Just like old times

No, not like old times. Everything was different. She herself had grown so much in the time that had passed. Yuna knew that. She took more chances, tried to be more open, tried to take the path she hadn't known existed before.

Of course, she had felt that she was just going through the motions, especially in the beginning. She could have fun, could be pleasant and smile, and sometimes even felt like she was enjoying herself. Those were rare occasions when she hadn't been thinking of someone else's problem. And still, there had been something missing. There was always the fall afterwards, the sinking feeling knowing that he wasn't there. After any fun she had there was nothing. The people would leave, the activity would end, and Yuna would be alone. Alone with that feeling that made her feel like she was sinking in quicksand, or drowning. Always that emptiness, always that feeling that something was missing.

That he was missing. But he wouldn't be anymore.

The thought of that made Yuna's heart beat a little faster, made her feel a little lighter, and gave her an excitement she hadn't felt in so long she couldn't remember when it was she had felt it last. There would be no doubts, no wondering, no guessing.

Yuna loved him. And Tidus had traveled all that way, back from the Farplane, to see her. He had to love her.

She grinned.

"Aw, c'mon, man, I sure as hell don't need that!"

Yuna looked over her shoulder to see Zell coming up from below deck, followed by O'aka, holding a bangle in his hand.

"But this one wards against any fiend! You'll never run into one while wearing this!" O'aka said.

Zell shook his head. "No way, pal. I ain't wearing a bracelet!"

O'aka looked a little desperate, he shoved the bangle under Zell's nose. "This is a quality accessory, though. A bangle, not a bracelet! You can't find a better one! Please, kid, I've run into a little bad luck with some Al Bhed and need some gil. Help O'aka out a little, would ye?"

Zell balked. "Dude, I bought twenty potions, five phoenix downs, ten antidotes, a piece of armor I'll never use, and a chocobo feather from you. But women's jewelry is where I draw the line!"


3. Everything I Have Missed

The boat pulled up to the dock, the crew of the ship going about their regular procedure. There was a splash of water and the anchor had been dropped. A man threw a large rope onto the dock, while others got out the plank. It clacked down onto the dock with a wooden noise, and one man ran down onto the dock to tie the boat off. Tidus watched the series of events with minor interest, and was wishing they would hurry up. The quicker they got done, the quicker he'd get to see-

Yuna.

She was standing at the edge of the plank, staring at Tidus with disbelieving eyes. Her hair was a little shorter than he remembered, but was still beautiful in the sunshine. She was wearing a flowing dark blue skirt that went down to her knees. It was swaying gently in the breeze. Her shirt was a simple long sleeved white one that flowed like her skirt. Her summoner garb was gone, an outfit Tidus had always thought made her look pretty, but he thought she'd never looked better. This was Yuna as she was meant to be, a teenager, young and beautiful, without death looming over her head. Her summoner's outfit was gone, and with it that which it represented. Now she was free, and there was this sense of inner peace he had never seen in her.

For another moment, the two stared at each other, motionless. Tidus wanted to run up to her but he was cut off. Yuna closed the distance between them in a few running strides and jumped at him, wrapping her arms around him tightly. He was completely caught off guard. Tidus blinked a few times looking down at her before returning the embrace.

She ran her hands across his back and heaved a deep sigh. "You're real" she whispered.

"Ithink so," he replied, stroking her hair gently. "I feel real"

Yuna squeezed him tighter. "I've missed you so much."

"I've missed you too, Yuna."

They stood silent for a moment, just holding each other in a moment of reflection. He was real. He was alive. And the two of them were together againfinally.

"Tidus!"

He looked up and saw Rikku standing at the edge of the plank, standing next to her was Vira, and several other people he had never seen before. Rikku didn't look much older than the last time he saw her, although her hair was certainly longer. She still had the same energy, and was jumping up and down, waving to him.

"See, Yunie? I told you we'd find him!" she yelled.

Yuna laughed. She let their embrace go, but kept one hand intertwined with his. This simple action made Tidus happier than he could express in words.

Rikku ran down the plank and gave Tidus a quick punch in the shoulder.

"Hey!"

"Welcome back! Let's go celebrate!" she said.

One of the strangers who had been standing near Rikku ran down the plank onto the dock. Her emerald eyes were shining to match the big grin on her face. "Party! Yes! Rikku, you are awesome! Show me to Besaid!"

Rikku grinned and ran down the dock, the other girl following her. "C'mon, Selphie. I'll introduce you to Wakka and Lulu. They're gonna have a baby!"

"Neat!"

"I swear, those two run on some sort of high that the rest of us never will," said a monotonous voice behind Tidus.

He looked and saw Vira in front of him. She looked tired as hell, more tired than he had ever seen her, and was back to wearing all black. However, she was wearing a small smile.

"Good to see you again, you bleach blond jock," she said.

Tidus smiled. "You're as polite as ever. Who are all these people?"

"It's a long story," Vira replied. "Yuna will tell you all about it."

Vira turned and walked down the dock to the beach. A blond man wearing a black uniform followed closely behind her, while the rest of the strangers stuck together. They were an odd looking group. Tidus looked down and saw Yuna was still holding his hand. Turning his gaze up, he saw she was also smiling at him.

"I saw you in a sphere. With her," she said.

"Yuna-"

She pulled him down the dock to the beach. "I'll tell you on the way."

He smiled again. "Great. Tell me everything, Yuna. I want to know everything I missed."


4. I am Intrinsically No Good

By the time everyone reached the town of Besaid, everyone was caught up with everything that had happened so far. Tidus was introduced to Vira's old friends, and immediately hit it off with Zell and Irvine. For some reason, Vira wasn't surprised by that.

Wakka, Lulu and Auron were waiting for them at Wakka and Lulu's hut. Of course, more introductions were in order. After a few minutes, everyone was acquainted with everyone else, and all the names had been learned and exchanged. Rikku immediately called for a celebration, to give thanks for having everyone (almost everyone, given that Kimahri was still up in Mount Gagazet) together. No one was surprised that Selphie seconded the motion, along with Zell and Irvine. It didn't take long for Tidus to jump on the bandwagon, convincing Wakka along with him.

The next few hours were spent in preparation for a big dinner, and a large bonfire in the middle of town. Tidus met up with the Besaid Aurochs again, and spent a good deal of time explaining the finer points of the game to Zell and Irvine, Wakka interjecting every once in a while as he gathered wood for the bonfire. Seifer listened to their blitzball conversation, mildly interested, but having nothing to add to the conversation. Rikku and Selphie insisted on doing all the cooking, which left Lulu a chance to get to know Rinoa and Quistis, who were both interested in Lulu's former profession as a black mage and a guardian. Squall and Dorin watched everything without getting involved in any conversations, although they both helped gather wood for the bonfire from time to time. Vira and Auron settled for taking everyone's bags into the Crusader's Lodge, which had enough room for everyone to sleep in. Vira knew she had to speak with Auron about what he knew, and watched him out of the corner of her eye for the greater part of the afternoon. She just wasn't sure when was the right time to speak.

A little before sunset, they all gathered for dinner. They had to hand it to Rikku and Selphie; they were good cooks. Rikku had the knowledge of Spira's foods, and Selphie had some sort of innate ability to cook them. There was more than enough for everyone, and they all ate it gladly. Not much conversation took place during the dinner, most too concerned with their food to talk. However, Selphie managed to talk about the food a few times, with Rikku adding her two gils in as well.

After dinner, Wakka lit the bonfire in the middle of town, with a little help from Lulu using a fire spell. The entire town (which wasn't a lot of people, considering Besaid was so small) came out to enjoy the fire. Rikku made Wakka talk about the baby for a while, and when it was supposed to come. Everyone started forming their own conversations, no one in the least bit concerned with the future at that moment. It was a night for peace and enjoyment, and no one seemed to want to talk about Kravis, or the growing turmoil between New Yevon and the Young Persons' Alliance.

Vira saw that Auron was alone, as usual, and not engaged in a conversation with anyone. It was as good a time as any to bring it up. She walked over to him and tapped him on the shoulder.

"Auron," she said.

He turned and looked at her. "Vira."

"Can we talk for a moment, away from everyone else?"

He nodded and walked away from the bright orange glow of the bonfire. Auron kept walking until he reached a small grove where one of Besaid's huts once fell. It was easy from this distance to keep an eye on everyone else, but far enough away to talk. He stopped and looked at Vira.

"Good to see you are alive," he said.

She frowned a little. "That implies you thought I wouldn't be."

"No. It doesn't."

"Whatever."

"I figured you would have some questions for the next time we met," he said.

Vira let out a slight sigh of exasperation. "You knew moreYou always knew more than you said. Auron, I want the truth from you. Not some half truth."

Auron stared at her out of his good eye. "Why do you ask questions that you know the answer to?"

"Because I want to hear it from you, and maybe I don't know the entire answer," she replied, returning his stare. Vira was trying to be calm about this. She knew when it came to revelations about her past, or herself, she had always taken them badly. Killing herself was the epitome of taking it badly. Whatever Auron had to say, she was going to take it in stride. It was time for her to grow up a little.

Auron cleared his throat. "I made a promise to look after you."

"Promised who?"

"You know."

Vira frowned. "My father. It seems impossible. How would you know him?"

"The Farplane. After your father died, he went to the Farplane. I went to the Farplane. He knew I was being sent back, and asked me to look after you," Auron said. He stated everything as if it were an everyday occurrence. Vira wasn't sure whether she liked it or was annoyed by it. She was sure that she had probably acted that was herself on many occasions.

"Why would you promise a man you didn't know to look after his daughter?"

"Because Jecht knew him. Joril was a teammate on his blitzball team. Years before Jecht was taken to Spira, Joril took a boat out onto the ocean to practice. He was never seen again. He had been taken by Sin, and through some accident, he ended up in your world instead of Spira. He was one of Jecht's good friends. Jecht is a friend of mine. He wanted me to help Joril."

Vira took in a long breath, held it for a moment, and let it out. "This Zanarkand was the dream of the Fayth."

"Correct."

"Then he was a dream."

"Anyone touched by Sin becomes more than a dream. He became real enough," Auron said.

She paused, looking down at her hands. It reminded her of the Siren crashing, about to be thrown into the dark waves of the ocean. She had stood there, half dying, seeing her hands become immaterial right before her. After Tidus told her what he had gone through, it sounded the same. But she brought herself back. How was any of that possible? "I almost disappeared. My hands started to fade. How can you say he was real enough?"

Auron shrugged. "A small part of you was a dream, enough to confuse your body. I cannot say for sure. Vira, you must know that you defy nearly every rule set by physics."

Despite herself, Vira laughed. "Point taken." She paused. Her voice lowered, not quite a whisper, but not loud enough to be speaking voice. Its tone became almost melancholy. "Am I real?"

Auron regarded her for a moment. Perhaps he was deciding whether to tell her the truth or some half truth again. Or maybe he would go for a full fledged lie again. "As real as Tidus is."

She looked at her hands one more time, then stared back at the bonfire. Everything there looked golden and joyful, compared to their darker, covered meeting place. "Thanks, Auron." Vira turned to walk back to the bonfire.

"There is more on your mind," he stated.

"Nothing that can't wait."

Auron paused. "What about the nightmares?"

Vira halted and stood stock still for a moment. It had always been apparent that Auron knew more than he would say. For a long time it didn't bother her. What he knew was his business and unless she had to know, she wasn't going to ask. Now it seemed that what Auron knew was much more, and neglecting to ask had cost her in some way. Her cool exterior was beginning to slip a little. "And whatdo you know about them?"

"Just that they are not mere nightmares. They are a possible future," he answered.

She turned back at him and frowned. "Possible? You mean there are more?"

"There are many possibilities. Our actions dictate which outcome becomes real."

There was silence. Auron stared back at the bonfire. They could both hear Zell and Irvine singing some song. Vira didn't recognize it, but was sure it had be something stupid. There was a small breeze that ruffled through the trees. She took in a deep breath and could taste the salty air.

"Auron," she started, "you said when I met you that you came back because something was threatening the peace of Spira. You led me to believe it was Kravis, and that made sense." As she continued her voice turned more accusatory and angry. "But, you said it also had something to do with Sin. What I want to know is what the hell do you know that you haven't said? It's not just Kravis, it's not just some vague connection to Sinthis is something elseisn't it?"

Auron's demeanor did not change under Vira's accusatory stare or tone. He had always been that way. No matter how outrageous Tidus had gotten with them, lost in the middle of nowhere, Auron was always calm. He was always blunt and to the point. But his honesty seemed to depend on what he thought someone needed to know at the moment. He returned her stare, although his remained collected. "There are two futures that are most probable. I was shown glimpses of one that has the man Kravis being involved, along with someone or something that had been connected to Sin. The other has to do with you going mad and murdering everyone."

She closed her eyes and grimaced. Silence returned as Vira took in a few more deep breaths. There was always that risk for women who had become sorceresses. Rinoa had the risk. In the history of the worldthe world where Vira had thought she came from, anywaymost women with the gift became made. AdelThey had all been given the gift of sorcery and all had lost their sane minds. Whether they had been stable to begin with was a question no one could really answer. Rinoa knew well what it meant, and no matter how happy she could end up, there would always be that sword dangling over her head. Rinoa was a sorceress. That was just the way it was.

Auron broke the silence. "From what you said, madness was common among sorceresses."

Vira opened her eyes and looked at him. For an instant, she was going to snap back at him, she had even considered yelling but that thought was most fleeting. Her eyes narrowed to give him something back, because that was always how Vira had taken it. They give you bad news, you give them a biting comment back. However, just before she spoke, Vira's face softened. Auron saw something in her eyes change, something small. Her shoulders fell.

It was realization. This wasn't something outrageous, it wasn't something that had never been heard of before. Vira just had never acknowledged the true concept of what had happened when she killed Xana. She had to take her powers, she had to accept them, and in turn, she had to become a sorceress. Vira wondered if this had been what Rinoa and Edea had felt like. The reality of who she had become after the Siren's crash hadn't hit her until that moment, and made the last two years feel like pretending. She had pretended to just be after Kravis, she had pretended she understood she was a sorceress, she pretended that it would never touch her and that someday she could go home. It was all a livable lie.

"These powerswere poisoned from the get go," she finally said. "That's what it is. None of it is right, and that's why this is happening."

Auron grunted. "I don't know about sorceresses or their powers. That is your world."

"I won't tell the others."

"That is your decision."

Vira stared at Auron, then looked back at the bonfire. Her eyes caught the dull gleam of Auron's massive sword, left where he had been sitting. She looked back at him. "Wouldn't it be better if you stopped it before it happenedbefore anyone was killed?"

Auron gave her a serious stare. "You would ask me to kill you now, and I would say no. It is not set in stone that this will happen, and you must have faith that it won't."

She seemed to consider this statement. Vira knew she had never been one for faith, not one to believe in the happy ending for real or that something would work out for the best. Of course, she also knew how smart it really was to try to kill yourself, or have someone else do it. What she had just suggested was beginning to make her feel stupid. She sighed and turned away from the legendary guardian, back to the bonfire.

"But I will try to make sure that it does not happen," Auron said as she began to walk away. "That is what I promised, and I intend to keep it. However," he paused, "if that possible future should come to pass, I will do what you ask before you harm anyone you care for."

Vira looked back at him, giving him a small sad smile. "Thank you. In the end, I am glad to see you again."

Auron watched her return to the light of the bonfire. She sat a little ways from everyone else, just enough to make her isolated. A man in black with short blond hair rose from his seat and sat down next to her. Auron assumed this man was Dorin Vachon. She had spoken of him often, and most of the time in a fond manner. Auron sighed. It had never been easy to keep his promise to Jecht with Tidus. He had spent so many years watching over him and helping him, and Tidus being the way he was, could be as annoying as hell. Keeping his promises were not easy.

And now he had made another, to look after another, who had more in common with Tidus than she would like to admit. Auron's first promise had been a long and arduous journey.

He hoped his second promise would not quite as long or challenging. Somehow, he doubted it.


5. What is Coming

After several hours of talking and singing (provided mostly by Zell and Irvine, although Selphie, Rikku and the Besaid Aurochs had thrown in their own songs) the bonfire had toned itself down. It was no longer a roaring flame that reached to the heavens, but more of a large campfire. People began to turn in to get ready for the next day. Wakka and Lulu turned in, as did the Aurochs, those in the town who had showed up, Zell and Rikku. Over time more people decided that it was time to go to sleep, and headed to their huts or the Crusader's Lodge.

Squall, however, still sat by the fire, one arm wrapped around Rinoa. She had fallen asleep, he could tell by her breathing and heartbeat, which he could feel through his jacket. Squall knew that he should get up and take Rinoa to bed, but the hypnotic dance of the bonfire kept him from turning his thoughts into actions. Rinoa seemed comfortable enough, as was he, and staring into the fire gave him a moment of thought.

Everything was so different than he had imagined. Squall remembered staring at Feabie wearing her blood clot of a dress and thinking how unfair it was that he had to accept Vira's inheritance. Although in truth it had only been a little while since that event had taken place it now felt like an eternity to Squall. His life as commander, his view of the world, hell, even his knowledge of who was alive and wasn't had been drastically changed in such a short time.

For an instant, he glanced over to Vira, who was sitting a bit farther away from the fire. She was alone now, although Squall knew Dorin had been sitting next to her for a while. She glanced back at him, and in that moment he knew for sure that the mistakes that they had made, the mistaken identity, that was all over. She had forgiven him, all of them, and now they had to move on.

Squall himself wasn't sure how to move on. He stared back at the fire, watching the flames lick at the sky, hungry for the air around them. Coming to Spiraalmost discovering it for their worldthat was something he didn't know how to move on from. Not everyone would take the idea of a sister planet easilyon either side. Would it be kept a secret? Would they be the only ones who knew? Would that mean that he'd have to guard the knowledge so no one else would find Spira? That idea did not appeal to Squall. There was enough responsibility he had to uphold in the first place, much more than he ever wanted, and this added would tip the scales. He wouldn't be able to take all of it and do it. He didn't care what Cid said, there was a limit to what he could handle. They made him leader, he didn't want it, but took it anyway. They made him commander, he didn't want that either, but took it. That was the extent of what Squall Leonhart would take from others. He could lead them, he could command them, but dammit, they could get someone else to handle whatever the hell happened between their world and Spira.

And besides all of what he had waiting for him back home, he also had committed to Rinoa. Squall looked down at her hand and saw the ring shining in the firelight. There was no backing out of it now, no matter how much the idea still scared him. All those things that people have to do to get ready for a weddingand everything he had to deal with before thatThe idea of the reality of getting married still did not appeal to him.

Making Rinoa happy did, though. Maybe she could take care of it all, and let him only deal with a little of it. Yeah, she'd probably like the idea of doing it. She'd get Selphie and they'd have a good time. Girls liked that stuff. Well, at least Rinoa and Selphie did.

Rinoa made a small moan. Squall looked down at her head, stroking her hair with his free hand. This wasn't unusual. Rinoa told him she sometimes had bad dreams, replaying memories of the painful things in her past. Squall knew what that was like; he had nightmares sometimes too. When you had lived lives like they had, a few nightmares were inevitable. Squall was always able to remind himself that's just what they were. Nightmares twisted what was and what might be until it was some horrible present that scared you. When you woke up, that was the end of their hold. They meant nothing more.

It was too bad that Rinoa didn't feel the same way. She believed in omens, signs and Squall guessed that if the right nightmare came along, she'd believe that too. Squall couldn't totally dismiss her belief, though. Rinoa's abilities were something that he couldn't always predict. She was constantly learning more about them, stretching them and bending them, perfecting and discovering what she could do. When she knew enough, she would tell him, but there were always a few things that were beyond his understanding. At times Squall wondered if for sorceresses, dreams weren't just subconscious thoughts being brought forth. That perhaps they were differentthey were a little bit more.

Rinoa moved and Squall knew she had woken up. She mumbled something he couldn't understand.

"Rin?"

She looked up at him, her dark brown eyes wide and clouded with sleep. "Huhn?"

"You fell asleep," he said. "Dreaming?"

She sat up and rubbed her eyes. "I guess so."

"Another memory?"

Rinoa shook her head. "Noit was different. I can't quite remember. Justa lot of darkness, anda person doing some bad things-"

"What things?"

"I can't remember. It couldn't have been that bad if I can't remember, though." Rinoa looked at Squall again and smiled. That smile could make him feel like everything was fine, even if it was falling apart around him. "Don't worry about it. It's not like my other dreams."

Squall wrapped his arms around her again, and held her close. "If you say so. But you think that there is something wrong, don't you?"

He couldn't see her face, all he could see once more was the top of her head. However, he knew that she was frowning. "Yes, but I can't tell what. It's too far off. We'll just have to wait and see."

Squall paused. "Maybe you should go to bed now."

"In a minute," she replied, her voice soft.

They said no more, just stared into the fire. A golden beautiful creature that could also cause great pain. Being burned took only a second, took months to heal, and could leave a scar for a lifetime. Moments in life were very much the same, only the wounds were unseen by the naked eye. The fire hadn't burned anyone yet, but that feeling prevailed that at some point it would.

Author's Notes: I really thought about giving up on this story, working solely on my own work until I kept occasionally getting reviews asking for it to continue, and even an email. It didn't feel right to let these incredibly faithful people not get their ending or closure. So yeah, here we are again. To those of you who kept reading and letting me know what you thought of the story and begging me to continue; thank you so much for your interest and support. This isn't over yet, but with any luck, it will be when the story has been told. See you guys next time.