Disclaimer: None of the character in this fic is mine. They all belong to our beloved SquareSoft Co. I’m just a humble Final Fantasy VIII addict who are writing this for fun, so please don’t sue me since I’m making no profit out of this fic.
With a knock on the door, the door to the President’s office was opened, and the raven-haired girl walked in smoothly with a plate of hot coffee and some homemade snacks.
The man looked up from his pile of paper works, and smiled at his fiance. He just celebrated his 42th birthday, which was when he had proposed to her on that day. Caught completely by surprise, she agreed happily, and they had set the wedding for June, which was around two months away.
“Why aren’t you in bed yet?” he asked, helping her set the tray on the side table.
She smiled and gave him a quick peck on his lips, “I was worried about your long nights, so I decided to make you some snacks before I go to sleep.”
The President of Esthar returned the smile, and felt warmed by her kind gesture through and through. “Rinoa, you shouldn’t have….”
Rinoa shook her head, and poured the coffee from the pot into a china cup. Adding two cubes of sugar and no cream, just the way he liked it, she handed to him, “It’s ok, Laguna. I want to. Besides, you’ve been working on freeing Timber from Galbadia for a long time now, you deserve a break.”
Accepting Rinoa’s offer, he snatched a cookie from the plate, and threw it into his mouth with a comical expression. Rinoa chuckled, and extended her hand to wipe the crumbs off the side of his lips.
“Well, Timber deserves to be freed. It’s not a colony. Besides, you grew up there, so I’m being selfish by working extra hard on freeing them. Unfortunately, President Deling was tougher than his old man, and sometimes, God I just wish I can knock some moral sense into that man’s thick skull.”
Rinoa laughed, patting Laguna on the shoulder. “Ok…. I assume you’ll come to bed when you’re done?”
Kissing Rinoa’s lips lovingly, he nodded. “Yeah. I had to get this proposal ready for tomorrow. But I’m almost done. Go to sleep first.”
She stepped out of the gates of Esthar Airstation, and was greeted by the long-haired, still handsome looking man, who’s her ex-boyfriend’s father.
“Rinoa! Glad to have you here!” he exclaimed, taking her light carry-ons and hugged her, kissing her on the cheek politely.
Rinoa Heartilly smiled, “Thank you, President Loire. Pleasure’s all mine.”
Laguna laughed, “Hey! Don’t go all formal on me! I hate that, ya know?” he gestured to the two men next to him, “You’ve all met before. Kiros, Ward.”
She nodded in acknowledgement, “Mr. Seagul, Mr. Zaback.” Being polite was always the best thing, especially since the relationship here was awkward. She, after breaking up with Squall because of numerous of fights, escaped Balamb to his father’s country in the name of science, but in truth only to find a sanctuary for her heart to calm down.
“…..” Ward looked at the slender black man next to him, unable to speak because of his injuries that happened so long time ago.
As if he could understand his lover’s thought, Kiros said immediately, “Ward says that you don’t need to be formal around us. You can just call us Kiros and Ward, and I’m sure Laguna won’t mind if you call him by his first name.”
“Or,” Kiros translated, “his nick name we gave him–‘Baka.'”
Rinoa burst out laughing, the first time after she and Squall broke up a month ago.
Laguna looked at his old crush’s daughter, and commented without thinking, “You’re beautiful when you laugh, Rinoa. You should do that more often.”
Rinoa blushed and looked away, feeling flattered yet uncomfortable. “Um… maybe we should get going…. I still need to talk to Dr. Odine…”
Laguna slapped his forehead dramatically, “Oh my GOD! Where are my manners!!” he smiled apologetically at Rinoa, “I’m sorry, Rinoa. This way. Dr. Odine was expecting you, and, if I may say so, he was quite impatient.”
That was about, what, a year ago? Rinoa thought to herself as she walk back to her bedroom — THEIR bedroom. Although she was very conservative, and strongly believed in no sex before marriage, she still couldn’t hold her passion and eventually gave in on the night Laguna proposed to her. They had been sleeping in the same room for about three months now, and she had not once regret about her decision. She was 22 years old, and deeply in love with a man about 20 years older than her. Adding onto that, he’s her ex-boyfriend’s father, which means in two months, she’s going to be her ex-boyfriend’s stepmother.
What irony this was! During the Ultimecia War, she thought that Squall was the one, and that she was so in love with him that if he ask her to marry him, she’ll agree without a doubt. But they broke up! The perfect couple in all their friend’s eyes were not so perfect after all, as they each went their separate ways, though still being friends.
It struck her greatly when Squall suggested to break up, and she was very depressed. After all, she DID loved him, and she thought that changing him was good for him. But Squall was hard to change, and unbelievably stubborn. At first, he had tried to comply with her, trying his best to talk about his feelings more. But soon, she discovered that he would rather talk to Seifer Almasy than her, and she was enraged by that. Not only did she felt betrayed, she knew about Seifer’s feeling towards the brunette even before she got involved with Squall. It was normal for a girl to worry, wasn’t it?
She guessed she was afraid to lose Squall, because he was her prince, and a man every woman ever wanted. But now when she reminisced the past, she laughed at her immaturity and foolishness. Why didn’t she figure out that Squall was just trying to get Seifer’s attention in the first place when he showed interest in her, and later saving her during the Ultimecia War only was because of his sense of duty?
She smiled warm-heartedly as she entered the giant, luxuriously bathroom, thinking of her fianc? Laguna was the best thing that had ever happened to her, next to Squall’s romantic promise in the garden of the Orphanage. Laguna guided her out of her little depressing shell, and gave the happiness she lost because of his son back to her.
After she arrived in Esthar, she got involved with Dr. Odine’s science project immediately, and kept herself busy so that she wouldn’t think about her ex-boyfriend. Dr. Odine was no gentleman. In fact, he was a geek, and he was practically married to his science. Everyday Rinoa had to face the endless tests, analyses, and experiments. She was drained both mentally and physically.
But Laguna would invite her to dinner every night, sometimes with Kiros and Ward, sometimes alone. His charm and chattiness would light up her day, and his passionate stare and his gentle care would melt her heart.
Am I going mad!? she thought to herself. Falling for Squall’s father!? He’s 20 years older than me!
But she did, and she hid it to her best. It wasn’t until one night that Kiros and Ward dragged Laguna into her room, and dumped him on the floor and locked the door that she found out he had the same feeling towards her. He confessed about his love for Squall’s mother, Raine, and her own mother Julia. She was surprised that he knew her mother.
“But are you taking me as a substitute for my mother?” she had asked, trying to play it cool though the thought burned her heart in dismay.
Laguna shook his head, “At first I thought I was, and I keep telling myself I’m just favoring you since you’re Julia’s daughter. But time passed and I was drawn to you by your sensitivity, your passion, and your energy. You are an incredible woman, Rinoa, and though I adore your mother, I think you outshine her in many ways.”
Rinoa blushed, her heart filled with joy. “I can’t play the piano,” she joked, letting Laguna hold her in a tight embrace.
“Hey, I don’t care,” he tilted her face, and looked deeply into her eyes, “But just for your information, I can.”
She giggled, and let him kissed her.
Later on, she found out about Seifer and Squall, and was happy for them. She knew they would come together at last, and was ready to congratulate them without any grudges. Squall was shocked at how well she had taken the news, and accepted her friendship gratefully.
But there lied the question of the fact that she, as Squall’s ex-girlfriend, was in love with his father. She didn’t want to jeopardize Laguna’s relationship with Squall, which was still under construction at that point. So she cleverly avoided being in the same place with Squall and his father, just so that both Laguna and her wouldn’t feel uncomfortable.
Seifer noticed immediately, since he was extra-sensitive at relationships and confronted her. She admitted, and begged him not to tell Squall until Laguna and Squall’s relationship was stronger. Seifer admired her thoughtfulness, and agreed. Frienship between her and Seifer was built almost at that instant, and she found the former Sorceress Knight incredibly fun to hang around with. His dark humor and cockiness often amused her, and they went out as neutral friends several times when both him and Rinoa had time off. Squall kept joking that he’ll get jealous, but he knew better that Seifer loved him and only him, so Squall wasn’t worried at all.
Things were going great for Rinoa. Her life brightened because of her new boyfriend, and the science experiments with Dr. Odine was no longer stressful. She had learned how to control her sorceress power, and had used it several times for her Elite SeeDs duty. Laguna often worried about her health. He fretted that being involve in both the ‘Sorceress Research Project’ and the Elite SeeDs, Rinoa would collapse because of the pressure she was bearing.
Rinoa proved Laguna’s worry useless. She was a strong woman, and she had endless energy. She felt that helping out both Dr. Odine and the Elite SeeDs was something she should do, and it gave her a sense of great accomplishment.
“I’m a sorceress,” she once told Laguna, “and that’s a dangerous gift. I should use it wisely, and give back to the people who were hurt by the previous sorceresses.”
She did it, and the people of the world now viewed sorceresses differently than before. Though still in fear of them to take over the world, they no longer thought of every sorceress to be an evil one.
Several months ago, Laguna hit his 42nd birthday. He didn’t want to make such a big fuss about it, so he only invited members of the Elite SeeDs and his close friends. They had a little party, where some mild alcohol were involved. After Laguna blew out the candle, Selphie and Zell urged Laguna to make a wish.
Laguna had a mischievous smile tugging on his lips. “Well, I know my wish can come true if somebody agrees to it….”
Selphie jumped, “WOO! That sounded so exciting!! Hurry! Say it!!”
Smiling, Laguna took out a velvet jewelry box, and walked over to kneel in front of Rinoa. Everyone gasped, and Rinoa frozed there, not believing her eyes. Laguna opened the box, revealing a beautiful diamond and sapphire engagement ring.
“Rinoa, will you be my wife?” he asked earnestly, looking up at the love of his life. “I know I’m way~~~~~~ older than you, but I love you dearly, and want to commit the rest of my life to you. Please, Rinoa?”
Rinoa looked at Laguna, tears starting to form in her eyes. She blushed, and nodded shyly, extending her left hand to let Laguna slipped the beautiful ring onto her index finger. Laguna stood up, and embraced Rinoa, kissing her deeply.
Seifer sighed, “About time.” He felt truely happy for his friend and his “father-in-law.” They’ve been joking about this new term for Laguna for a while.
Squall looked up to Seifer unapprovingly, “You knew?”
“Yes, my love,” Seifer whispered to Squall’s ears, “And I’m sorry for not telling you, but Rinoa made me promise. She didn’t want to jeopardize your newly-built relationship with your father.”
Looking at the embraced couple, Squall shook his head, “Still, I don’t really think this is right….”
Seifer squeezed Squall’s hand lovingly, “Hey, I’m sure she won’t mind if you don’t call her mother. Besides, as long as they’re happy, why not?”
“They’re 20 years apart….”
That about shut the brunette up.
The rest of the Elite SeeDs accepted their love with open arms. They were all taken by surprise, of course, and Quistis was worry about the age difference as well. But as time went on, both Laguna and Rinoa proved to be meant for each other, so the questioning voice died down.
Squall took the longest time to accept the fact that Rinoa would soon to be his step-mother. He had a hard time facing Rinoa and Laguna together, but with the help of Seifer, he got around it and wished them happiness. Rinoa burst in tears when Squall told her that he refuse to call her mother, but he was glad that Laguna found her, and he was happy for both of them.
Laguna snuggled into bed, careful so that he won’t wake Rinoa up. Unfortunately, thanks to the experiences from the Ultimecia War, her senses were sharp and keen. She snapped her eyes open, and turned to her fiance.
“Hey,” he greeted softly.
Rinoa whispered, “Hey,” Her voice full of sleepiness. “You’re done for tonight?”
Laguna shrugged, making himself comfortable with sheets covering him, wrapping his arms around Rinoa’s waist. “Well, the proposal’s done. We’ll just have to see what Deling’s reaction is.”
Rinoa sighed, “Hopefully he’ll finally accept it. This is what, your fifth proposal?”
“Sixth,” Laguna scoffed. “Can’t you just use your sorceress power to zap him back to a human being?”
“Honey, you know my powers don’t work that way. Besides, I shouldn’t anyway. It’s unmoral.”
“I know I know…. But it’ll just make things so much easier if you could!” Laguna whined.
Rinoa chuckled, “Go to sleep, my love. You’re tired.”
“Good night, Rinoa…” with that, Laguna closed his eyes, and was fast asleep in Rinoa’s arms.
Rinoa looked at his childish face, and smiled softly. Stroking his head, she thought to herself: Maybe it’ll be better if she tells him about Squall’s new little sister tomorrow after the World Conference…. Can’t wait to see what her love’s reaction would be….