Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the FF8 characters, world, magic and etc, but I do own one little person! ^_~
Author’s Notes: I was reading some SxS stories, and realized that I haven’t bashed Rinoa enough. I mean, I’ve either pitied her, put her with someone else (make her their problem), or made her maturer (if that’s possible O_o). I never actually shit on her, so this story came about. However, I think it’s Squall’s anger from reading a story where Seifer and Rinoa get together . . .
*nods* I was more than willing to agree, not being a fan of the girl, so this story came about. I personally believe Squall and Seifer belong together, or at least not with Rinoa! *shudder*
[Squall] If she dares - ! *fingers twitch as if to strangle someone*
*wave hands frantically* Down boy! I promise never to do a fic with Rinoa and Seifer as a pairing.
[Squall] *lets out a sigh of relief*
Anyway, tell me what-cha think! : )
By Drakon Sword
Sighing softly, I gathered the little girl that I had come to love so, close to me. Her long ebony hair tied back in a braid with a mint green bow tied around the end, matching the cute sun-dress her grandfather bought for her on her fifth birthday.
I gently combed a few stray hairs that had come lose from her soft, sleeping face. I couldn’t help, but smile as she snuggled closer as I laid my jacket over her body to give her warmth. Her small pink lips curved into a soft smile of comfort. I kissed her small forehead before leaning back in the train seat as we swiftly moved down the tracks.
I never thought I could love someone so unconditionally. A father’s unconditional love. Now I understand Laguna’s adoration for me. If anyone had told me that I was to be a father 6 years ago, I would have told them they were nuts. I wasn’t a father. I never thought I could be one, but now, here I am a father of the sweet child that currently rests on my shoulder with complete and utter trust.
It was hard to believe that just less than 6 years ago, my life took such an unexpected turn that I believed to be the end of it. I hadn’t asked for what was to come, nor did I believe that I deserved it. I thought I was in for a life of comfort and relaxation after the damned sorceress’ wars.
I sure as hell deserved it.
After the war, Rinoa and I were inseparable. We were wantonly in love and nothing, nor no one could ever tell us differently. She was what I was looking for. She was my soul-mate. The one I could completely devote my life to. The one I wanted to be with forever.
Or at least I thought.
What I thought, and what was, were two completely different things, apparently.
This became obvious fairly quickly.
Seifer had returned to the Garden about 4 months after the war, having nowhere else to go and nothing else to do. Seifer - as impossible as he was - was a soldier through and through - like me. We were soldiers to the end. We didn’t know any more and didn’t want anymore.
We were soldiers.
Raijin and Fujin hadn’t come with him, had other jobs in Balamb. Raijin loved to fish, and was hired at a fishing business in Balamb (Seifer supposedly worked there also for a time, but grew tired of it very quickly while Raijin was content). Fujin, who didn’t want to leave him, worked as a chef in a restaurant. The two were quite happy, where Seifer was completely unsatisfied and decided to swallow his pride and return to the Garden.
Headmaster Cid was fairly forgiving considering his wife, Edea, had also been under Ultimecia’s control and let him back in without much question, but we all knew that it was going to be hard.
It wasn’t just that we had to adjust to him and how he had changed. We also had to forgive him, but there were many others that wanted him dead. Dead as Ultimecia because of various attacks he had done while under her control. Some people weren’t very forgiving.
We found that all of us had to watch his back while he redid his last year. We made sure that someone was always near, or with him (We had all long forgiven him when he apologised - honestly too. He was obviously very repentant for what happened.). He hated it, but we felt it was necessary. As much as he was my rival, I didn’t want him dead. In some small way, I cared for him. He may be my rival, but I didn’t hate him, or wish for his death. He was my comrade as much as the rest of the orphanage gang was to me.
They were my family. The only family I ever really knew.
That was till Dubadeasa Julia Raine Leonhart was born.
Now I’m jumping ahead a little.
While Seifer did his last year, I juggled him, Rinoa and my job as Commander. Rinoa was getting whiner and whiner as time passed. I had to put her last on the list of priorities, which angered her very much so.
However, I saw it this way; Commander was first because it was my job and many people counted on me to do so. Seifer was second because his life lay on the line and he counted on me. If someone else couldn’t be with him, or watch over him, then I did it. Rinoa was last because she was my free-time. She could wait because nothing we did was ever life threatening.
Unless of course you include her whining which was ear-shattering.
She hated being put on the back burner. I spent quite a bit of my time with her. I bought her gifts, took her out to fancy restaurants and treated her like a complete princess (which she was - a royal pain in the ass). However, she knew she wasn’t the first priority to me at all times and she hated it. She was never understanding when I told her I had other duties to preform before her. She had a hissy-fit every time - proclaiming that I didn’t care about her, or her needs.
At first, I made excuses for her. I was patient and unwilling to give up on her, but then I began to find refuge in my work to get away from her. Purposely creating work, or making it my turn to ‘babysit’ (that’s what Zell called it to tease Seifer for the name calling he refused to give up) Seifer.
I do anything to get away from her whining and complaining.
Now this was when Seifer and I started getting closer.
He was sympathetic - being her boyfriend once - and didn’t mind listening to my rants about her (I think he was just pleased to hear me talk considering how I used to be). He would offer advice and often made excuses for me whenever Rinoa came around. I would dodge out of sight while Seifer sent her on a wild goose chase to find me.
It was rather amusing.
Slowly this relationship seemed to grow between us. While I ‘babysitting’ him, we would spar, train, or study as I helped him pass his last year. He would help me in turn with Rinoa, my father - who had told me his parentage shortly after my last battle - and my job. Together we found this mutual relationship. He wasn’t as cruel or as hotheaded anymore, while I conversed more and wasn’t as cold.
We both changed and threw away the pretenses.
That was when I started to feel this unexpected attraction and warmth to him.
You see - I’m bisexual. Have been since I can remember (which maybe very little with help from the GF’s). I’m not a virgin - unlike popular belief - but I also don’t have a whole lot of experience. I’ve slept with a fair amount of people, including Rinoa.
I never slept with any classmates, or anyone I knew, but when I was sixteen, it’s not hard to find sluts out in clubs and bars. They promised a night of passion and experience that would satisfy my needs. I knew that I was attractive in my own way. I slept with a woman I was attracted to at a club, and then followed by various males as I discovered my sexuality. I found both beautiful, but never had a long-term relationship with any of them.
Frankly, that’s all I needed. We shared one night and the next day we heard nothing of each other again.
Simple, quick and painless.
I never pursued this attraction for Seifer for various reasons. Rinoa was the first and foremost. I had to dump her first and frankly, I was hesitant to do so because I was never sure if I was ready for a yell, whine and scream fest. Besides, I think I was still bent on the ‘happily ever after’ shit.
Then it was because of the whole idea of homosexuality. It had taken a lot for me to admit I was gay - or rather, bi. Homosexuality was still frowned upon by society, even though it has been common within soldiers since ancient times. People just didn’t like it and I was still under a lot of pressure and spotlight since the war being the ‘hero’.
Not to mention, my job as Commander and my father being the president of Esthar - the technological advance nation that was being introduced to the world - there was always at least one article on me somewhere in the paper.
I just couldn’t escape back to my solitude.
Third of all - and the main reason I was hesitant - was that Seifer was . . . well . . . Seifer.
I know that Seifer is a man like any other - within reason - but . . . well . . . Seifer and I had so much history. He was my rival and I wasn’t supposed to feel this way to him. It was surprising enough that you could call us ‘friends’. Being lovers would just be . . . unnatural.
Not to mention, I wasn’t sure of his sexuality.
Anyway, so my feelings for him were never pursued, but my relationship with Rinoa was still going down the tubes - which put her into a panic that I wasn’t aware of. Little did I know that the little wheels in her head were turning as my resolve to end my relationship with her continued to grow and nearing its peak.
I remember that I was practically writing out my script to voice to Rinoa to end the relationship when she threw a curve ball that I had never expect. I didn’t see it coming and it hit me smack on target - right in the gut.
Rinoa was pregnant.
That’s when the black hole opened.
Doctors checked and she was pregnant and I was indeed the father. Somehow her birth control pills ceased their job without her knowledge (so she says) and she was carrying our child. I was past shocked as was the rest of the gang.
No one saw it coming.
I wasn’t sure what the hell I was supposed to do! I didn’t want to be a father at 19! I was barely able to take care of myself at times, let alone a child! Though that was the least of my problems - Rinoa was demanding marriage.
Her case was simple. Did I want my child to be a bastard? Did I want a scandal? Did I want my child to grow in an environment where the father lived in one place while the mother lived somewhere else? Didn’t the child’s honour mean anything to me? Did I want the child to grow like I had?
Rinoa wasn’t bright, but she knew the exact buttons to push.
Being a soldier and living by duty and honour, I did what was best for the child. I dutifully married her, even though it was against my wishes and together we moved to Galbadia (which she had been bugging me to do since before she became pregnant). I was transferred to Galbadia Garden and was completely isolated from my friends.
I know the gang was disgusted and saw my great pains, but said nothing as I followed through with it. The only one that actually said anything was Quistis. She hated what I was doing, but respected me at the same time. She knew that I had to do it to avoid scandal and to take care of the child that lay in Rinoa abdomen.
“If anything Squall, you are responsible and I can respect more than anyone. However, we will all be here for when you - whenever at the top or at the bottom. Remember that.” Were her words.
I never forgot them and I know they are nothing but the truth, for which I am forever thankful for.
Time passed and Rinoa gave birth to our daughter which was named Dubadeasa Julia Raine Leonhart. When I held her in my arms, I realized all the sacrifices that I made were worth it. I was more than willing to go through it all again for her. I may not love Rinoa, but I loved Dubadeasa with all my heart, mind and soul.
Dew - the nickname I gave her at Rinoa’s displeasure - was a fairly small package being from two, rather smallish sized parents. She was 21 inches long weighing 7 lbs. and 2 ounces. She had my eyes and Rinoa’s hair. Actually, everyone said she looked exactly like me (even as a newborn, Ellone had said) and to this day she does. The only difference is the hair.
The gang had only seen her once, and that was the day after she was born. Rinoa had successfully cut all ties with them (or the best she could because like Quistis had said, they were never going to leave me) and only Laguna was able to see Dew on somewhat of a regular basis.
I knew that Rinoa was trying to sever all chances of me leaving her. She knew I didn’t love her and as soon as the chance presented itself, I was gone - taking Dew with me.
However, Dew was her greatest weapon and she knew it.
As the first year passed, I noticed her growing hatred toward the child. I couldn’t understand, but I began to realize that it was because I paid more attention to Dew then her. That I loved Dew and not her. That I was only staying because of Dew and she loathed the child for it.
It came about because she saw how I really could be if I loved someone and Dew for it. Dew had the love she never could.
Seeing this early, I quickly started taking the child with me, or having Laguna take her at times. When she was old enough, I placed her in a childcare when both of us were too busy to take care of her while Rinoa went to whatever she did.
I wasn’t till a few short days after Dew’s 5th birthday, did Rinoa finally leave.
There was no warning, no clue, no nothing till I arrived home one evening with Dew on my hip when I found that Rinoa was not home. At first, I thought she was at a friend’s, but days passed and it became obvious that she was not coming home anytime soon - if ever.
That was when I knew the black hole had ended and I could find some equilibrium.
I quickly filed for a transfer back to Balamb - which was immediately accepted - and quickly made arrangements to sell the house and moved back home. Balamb was my home and there was no denying it.
Dew had reacted so unlike I had truly expected. I had expected tears for her missing mother. Maybe anger, confusion, or some kind of fuss, but there was nothing. Dew had simply scowled (it was scary how much it reminded myself of me) for all of 3 minutes as she thought and then with a small shrug she returned to her doll.
“Mommy never loved me and this just shows that. I need nothing more than you, Grandpa and Grand K.” Was her simple reply and I blinked, only realizing then that Dew knew a lot more than she was willing to let on. However, she knew nothing more than me, Grandpa (Laguna) and Grand K (Kiros, Laguna’s lover). Rinoa had never been a true mother, or anything close to Dew. She was just a symbol that both Dew and I though we could live without.
Actually, Dew was more reassured of the fact then me.
Dew was actually excited to see my friends she had seen pictures of. She was excited at the prospect of our new life. I think she felt the unhappiness and heavy oppression of our life with Rinoa as much as I tried to keep it away from her. She could feel it and wanted to see what true happiness and a family was.
She wanted out of the black hole too.
I was more than willing to give her that. Now that Rinoa was gone, we could really start a life and she could really get out.
I couldn’t wait for the gang to see my daughter. I was so proud of her.
That is where we are now.
Riding on the train to Balamb. Going to my one true home and hopefully, to happiness. Dew deserved so much more than what she grew up with. I wanted her childhood to be happy. I didn’t want her to grow up in the dreariness I had grown up with. I wanted her to have a normal, innocent life of a child. I wanted her to be happy.
The train started to stop as the brakes squealed. I quickly held Dew closer to me as we came to the screeching halt. I was worried she would awake. It was very late - close to ten - and I didn’t want her to awake. However, she didn’t. I think with all the excitement, she was completely spent.
I reached down to throw my duffle bag over my shoulder and to pick up her little bag. The rest of our belongings had been shipped to Balamb Garden yesterday and were probably in my old rooms, waiting for us.
She only gave a small sigh as I reached down and gather the small precious package in my arms, to which she curled herself into my chest and wrapping her arms around my neck without opening her eyes.
Thanking the calm silence of the train, for it wouldn’t disturb Dew, and made my way out to the station where a voice called for us instantly.
I swung my head to the voice to see the elegant blond waving to us. There was Quistis Trepe dressed in a baby blue blouse and casual jeans. Her blond hair, which seemed to have auburn streaks through it, was curled in long spiral curls and casually tied in a loose ponytail that was almost down to her waist. I could see her slat blue eyes plainly, since she wore no glasses. Contacts, I believe.
I gave a small smile as I walked to her and watched her eyes soften to tenderness as she looked at Dew.
“Oh there’s my little goddaughter. She’s gotten so big!” Quistis exclaimed quietly when she realized that she was asleep.
I had made Quistis Dew’s godmother as soon as I possibly could. Quistis was the best person for the job in my eyes and Quistis was like a sister to me. It also helped increase the ties with the gang I missed.
At first, Rinoa and I continually bickered over who would be Dew’s godparents till I finally said she would pick one and me the other. Rinoa had yelled for a few moments longer, but gave in. She chose Zone - much to my annoyance - and I chose Quistis, which also didn’t please Rinoa much either.
However, I could care less what Rinoa wanted.
“She has, hasn’t she.” I smiled as I gently adjusted her weight. Quistis quickly took the small bag in my hand, wrapped an arm around my neck - careful not to disturb Dew - and kissed my cheek.
“Welcome home. We missed you.” Quistis murmured, not releasing me yet.
“Me too.”I sighed, also giving her a peck on the cheek as she pulled away. Quistis reached out and gently brushed some of the loose ebony strands from Dew’s face. Quistis had seen Dew twice. The day she was born and a when Dew was 4 months old when I made her godmother of Dew.
No one had seen Dew as she was now. I was able to e-mail pictures to them on a few occasions and Dew had talked to Quistis on her birthdays, but no one had seen each other in person. Mostly because the gang had taken to being very careful about keeping contact - not wanting to disturb the rickety boards between Rinoa and I anymore than completely necessary.
I was thankful for that because it was hard enough as it was to live with Rinoa.
Even though Dew was usually with me, Laguna or at the playschool, Rinoa still had enough control over Dew so that no one ever saw her. I’m not sure how, but I think it was partly no one wanted to upset her and cause more rifts. None of the gang saw me either. I think we were all waiting for the day when I could come home.
Quistis gently took Dew from me and buckled her into the backseat as I threw our bags in the trunk. She quietly closed the door after tucking a pillow at Dew’s head and we both got into the front to start our journey to the Garden.
“Everyone was so happy to hear that you were coming home. Those 6 years were hell. Everyone wanted to see you, but we knew that Rinoa was trying to sever us from you and us visiting would cause more complications.” Quistis shook her head as she started the car.
Balamb Garden. It was my home. It was all our home and Quistis knew it as well as I.
“Probably, but at least that is the past now.” I sighed, leaning back in my seat. Quistis looked at me for a few moments before turning back to the road.
“You’ve changed.” She murmured.
“You seem more laidback, happy, not at all the ‘Leonhartless’ we all knew so well.” Quistis explained with a slight smile. I frowned, thinking about it. I never really noticed, but one never sees the changes in themselves much anyway.
“Bad thing?” I asked with a small smirk.
“No! Not at all. It’s just . . . surprising in a way. I guess I expected you to be bitter and angry from what Rinoa did to you, but I guess Dubadeasa made it worth it.” Quistis turned slightly to the left in the darkness. We could see nothing outside of what the headlights shone on. There was very little moon that night.
“Yes, she did. I never thought I could love someone so unconditionally. The day I held her in my arms I knew it was worth it and I was willing to do it again if I had to. Dew was completely worth it.” I said, turning to look at my small bundle fast asleep.
“We just had to wait for Rinoa to get over her fairy tale so you could return to us.” Quistis muttered, scowling a little in distaste. I laughed.
“What a nightmare it turned out to be. At least I won’t hear from her in awhile.” I said running a hand through my cheekbone length chocolate brown hair. Quistis chuckled at the relief in my voice.
“Really sorry about that. I don’t think the gang will ever forgive themselves for pushing the two of you together. I’m not sure I will.” Quistis apologised, and I reached out to touched her shoulder.
“Don’t blame yourselves. I half regret it, but Dew wouldn’t be here if I didn’t make that mistake. When I remember that, I find that it was all worth it.” I reassured her as she turned to look at me. We both gave a glance at Dubadeasa who sat behind us - each with a small smile on our lips.
No more words needed to be said on that subject.
“How did Dubadeasa take Rinoa’s disappearance?” Quistis asked after a few moments of silence. I licked my lips as I shook my head remembering her words. “What?”
“Dew simply said that she knew Rinoa never loved her and her leaving showed that. She then proclaimed that she needed nothing more than me, Laguna and Kiros. I expected tears, anger, or something a little more frantic and emotional. She was just . . . thoughtful.” I cocked my head at my own description. Quistis arched an eyebrow. “Not normal, is it?” I asked, turning to look at Quistis.
“No, but then again neither are you. From what you have told me and what I have learned about Dubadeasa, she isn’t a normal child. She knows much more than she lets on. I tend to think you learn as much from her as she learns from you.” Quistis said, her slat blue eyes looking into my own. I blinked.
It was true. Dew had taught me to be gentle, kind and loving. She taught me to see things for what they were instead of judging it. She taught me innocence that I never had. She taught me to be a child again. She released me from the demands of my life for just a few moments at a time.
She taught me to live.
All I taught her were the rules.
“True. And I don’t think the learning has ended.”
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