My first go at a fanfic... Um...

Heh, alrighty… The first page was ridiculously long… and that happens to be all I’ve written so far. I wanted to submit it to Weiila but it’s unfinished gulp and not likely to be done for some time, due to length, not lack of writing.
So… I’ll post a little bit. It’s a FFVIII fanfic… Oh, and the stuff written in italics is a flashback… but I don’t know if I’ll even get to that part yet. Wait, maybe I will.

Rinoa tossed in the hot bed, feeling sweat run into every crack and crevice. She couldn’t get comfortable; it felt like she was covered in a coating of grime. She ran a hand over the intruder in her body, feeling the moisture clinging to the downy hairs on her skin. She cursed herself in her mind for ever wanting this… this thing.

Her vehemence scared her, and she frantically cast her eyes about the room, to try and distract herself from her thoughts…

There, to her left.

The young woman felt her anger subside only slightly as she watched him. His chest rose and fell softly, and his dark hair was forever in his eyes. Part of her wanted to slap him for being so damn comfortable, and the other part wanted to take him in her arms and…

No! She couldn’t even do that! Oh how she wanted to… Oh…‘Wanted’ wasn’t nearly a strong enough word.

Rinoa rolled onto her back with a sound half-way between a groan and a sob.

Her small sound of distress woke up her lover. He reached a hand out into the air to comfort her, fingers sliding over the slick surface of her skin. He found her in the blackness by following the heat of her body and the smell of her hair.

She seemed to him to be glowing, as his eyes began to focus and he could make out her shape. It had to be the starlight reflecting off that alabaster skin of hers. He suddenly craved the weight of her, and large rounded shapes filled his hands and arms as he drew her near to him.

She acquiesced, but only for a moment until the heat became too much to bear. Then she pushed him away, wiping the salt from beneath her tired eyes. There was silence between them, but it wasn’t the awkward kind. They had gotten over that quickly, thank the Gods. She couldn’t stand anymore of the nervous shuffling and sideways glances from him. Granted, he’d had a reason at that point in time, but he had rallied smartly.

Squall stepped out of bed and pushed aside the netting that kept the bugs out. Not that the wide-open balcony door was helping any. It wasn’t helping him, so there was no way she felt any better. The weather hadn’t let up for near on a month, and the heat had been likened to waiting for a fever to reach its pitch and break in sweet rain, but there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

He walked around to Rinoa’s side of their bed, accidentally brushing by Angelo as he passed the foot. The dog stood up and whined nervously, wagging her tail, unsure of what to do. The past months had been confusing for the loyal animal, but she still slept at the foot of the bed every night. Squall gave her a quick scratch before continuing towards Rinoa and sitting gently beside her on the bed. The mattress sank slightly, and Rinoa leaned towards him almost automatically. He pushed her heavy ebony hair out of her face and off her temples, and smiled down at her, unsure of what to do.

[i]Rinoa was sitting at a grimy table in a grimy pub in a grimy town. She looked like she belonged there, but Squall would never say that to her. He was only safe thinking it. Not that she wasn’t still gorgeous… it was just that she was, well… dirty. Her white tank top was stained with blood and other substances, and her dark jeans were singed and torn, showing off altogether too much flesh for his liking. He frowned slightly at the stretch of beautifully tanned thigh showing through a precisely placed rip.

Not like he looked any better.

Covered in sweat and stubble, and overlayed with a fine coating of dirt, he certainly couldn’t criticize her. Also, he was sure he had more blood on his shirt than she did. He wiped the back of his hand across his jeans, making a face at the resulting smudge. Yes, regardless of splatter-placement, he definitely had more blood on him.

Eyes followed the tall young seeD as he slapped some money down on the counter and made his way back to the dimly lit corner table. Rinoa smiled at him, a little too brightly.

“Perhaps not the way we intended to spend the past couple of days,” she admitted, “but as long as the food isn’t poisonous, I’m not going to complain.” She adjusted the hot, heavy leather gauntlets that were laced to her forearms, and her hair fell limply over her face. She rolled her eyes and pulled it back into a loose ponytail with a leather strap that looked as though it had seen better days. Sweat shone on her skin in the light from the greasy lamps.

“I didn’t think it was possible to sweat through leather,” Rinoa continued, “but here I have. I feel disgusting.” She sighed. It was true. She really did. On the other hand, there wasn’t a hope in hell that she could actually clean herself up in this greasepit of a town, so she was going to have to live with it.

A high female voice called through the smoke, and Squall and Rinoa turned to see Selphie making her way towards the table. Saying the shorter SeeD looked ‘the worse for wear’ would be a gross understatement. What a wonderful trio they made.

Short hair pinned haphazardly back from her round face accompanied the rips and tears, spills, stains, and scorch marks in her top and skirt. She navigated her way around the tables carefully, avoiding both jagged splinters of broken wood, and amorous grabs from the local male population. Squall grinned as a comment from one of the regulars unleashed invective from Selphie that would make Zell blush on a good day. She turned with a toss of her head and continued towards them.

Her high boots were damp and sweaty and came away from the floor with a nasty sucking sound as she approached. She pulled up a rickety chair from a neighbouring table and sat down beside Rinoa, looking around with interest.

“You sure know how to pick 'em Commander,” Selphie joked. “Though I’d say we fit in pretty damn well in this shithole.” She waved almost rabidly at the barmaid for a drink, then tossed a grimy leather pouch on the table and rooted around in it.

“Thanks,” Squall’s sarcasm was fairly apparent. “Where’s everyone else?” He asked. Selphie pulled several gil and a worn metal case out of the pouch, then re-fastened it to her belt before answering.

“Quistis,” she started, flipping the metal case open and taking out a cigarette. “Quistis is somewhere along here trying to find a replacement bolt for Save the Queen. Everyone else… I have no idea where the hell they might be. Prowling?” Selphie suggested as she struck a match and lit it, simultaneously pulling a caked ashtray towards her. Rinoa looked mildly annoyed, but it was a habit that she and Squall had picked up recently. The exhausted sorceress sighed, shoving the case into the middle of the table.

“When you can’t beat 'em, join 'em,” Rinoa said with a shrug. Squall leaned over and helped himself.

Rinoa shifted how she was sitting, crossing one ankle over the other knee, contemplating what various substances she might be inhaling at this very moment. Each breath tasted like a damp boot. Oh, what glamorous work for a SeeD… for a Sorceress.

Selphie tapped the ash off her cigarette and stared absently over her shoulder towards the door. The barmaid arrived with her drink; a sinister looking concoction in a thick, greenish glass. The busty woman cleared her throat, bringing Selphie back to reality with a start.

“Oh sorry… I’m just so tired…” Selphie apologised, handing over payment for the drink. Rinoa could see the blood under her fingernails, and the welts left by the leather gloves she used to protect her hands.

They were all tired. It had been someone’s bright idea to send SeeD out to dispatch the remnants of the Lunar Cry, which were now happily settled in all over the world. It had been a tough job so far, and was still nowhere near done. Squall, Rinoa, and Zell, along with Quistis, Irvine, and Selphie were travelling throughout Centra and the ruins currently, flushing out anything dangrous that happened to reside there. Unfortunately travelling solely on foot had its disadvantages. This town was one of them.

Dinner arrived and Squall eyeballed his plate, wishing that he’d at least requested a clean set of dishes. Rinoa caught the look on his face and laughed, putting her head down on the rough wooden table. After some time, she sat up again, looking refreshed.

“I’m glad you find this so funny Heartilly,” Squall glanced at her. He was irritated that she would find his discomfort so humorous.

Rinoa looked at him, reading the tone of his voice. She sighed, watching him as he shelled himself up again. She turned from him to Selphie for the rest of the meal, ignoring him until he was ready to talk to her again. This was one of the many skills she had rapidly acquired for use in dealing with her boyfriend. She hated that term, but there wasn’t anything else to call him yet.

After dinner was complete, emerging from the damp atmosphere of the bar into the night air was like being thrown into a lake. Squall lifted his thick, damp hair off his neck, allowing the faint breeze to cool his skin. He stretched and turned to Rinoa, who was fanning herself dramatically with one hand, choosing the possibility of a cooling breeze to the surety of looking like a fool.

“We can camp for the night, or try to find an inn.” Squall said, peering up the street, determined to ignore the fact that she was ignoring him.

Rinoa looked around, and spotted Quistis walking towards them, tailed by Irvine and Zell.

“If we can find a clean one, I wouldn’t mind sleeping in a bed for the first time in weeks.” She said, waving an arm to attract their attemtion. She personally had her doubts about finding a clean bed, but the word bed just tempted her too much. “We may as well look. If not, we can set up camp outside town quickly enough.”

The other party members arrived, and nodded in agreeance to Rinoa’s suggestion. They started up the street in a group, but before they had gotten far, there was a commotion to the left. Through an open door that Squall was sure led into yet another grimy bar, a person came tumbling out head over heels, landing in a puddle of filth on the cobblestones. Squall stepped back from the door just in time to avoid the little man, and Quistis leaned down to help him up.

“Are you alright?” She asked the man automatically. In reality, she was far to tired to care. He pushed a tattered hat back down on his head and glared at her for a moment before scuttling off into the darkness. Quistis stood up and shrugged, looking into the pub through the doorway. Suddenly a familliar voice called out, and a tall man stepped through the door and into the street.

“Now there’s someone I haven’t heard in a long time,” Seifer’s eyes were blue creases of amusement. He stood in a t-shirt and grubby jeans, trademark white trenchcoat slung over one shoulder, and Hyperion within easy reach. Quistis’ cool blue eyes met his straight on.

“Seifer… always a pleasure.” Quistis put one hand on her hip and looked him over from hear to toe, her expression dripping with scorn. “May I ask what you’re doing in… these parts?” Her voice was like ice. Seifer looked hurt.

“Now now, is that any way to greet an old friend? I don’t need a hall pass to be here do I?” His voice was rough and gravelly, and his eyes were slightly unfocused. He smirked, staring at Quistis until her eyes dropped. She turned away abruptly and shrugged.

"No, I suppose you don’t, but I’m no “old friend.” The blond woman glanced sidelong at her former student. Seifer’s half-smile graduated into a grin, and he stared right into her eyes.

“Y’got that right.”

Squall stood up straight, intending to call this meeting to order. He was, as always, strongly annoyed at the fact that Seifer was much taller than he was. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about that. More unfortunately, there wasn’t much he could do here. Seifer had made a formal apology to Cid after the Sorceress War, but had vanished before any punishment had been decided. Squall was fairly sure, however, that the remorse Seifer had very eloquently professed was real. His courage to stand up to Military punishment wasn’t quite as strong.

“Take care,” Squall said in an off-hand manner, turning to walk down the street. He could, strictly speaking, strangle Seifer, knock him over the head with something, and drag him back to Garden to face the punishment he so richly deserved, but a confrontation in the street was the last thing he wanted at the moment. Besides, if the former Knight was truly sorry, he would eventually show up of his own accord.

Seifer was mildly surprised as Squall left, but merely raised one eyebrow, along with Hyperion, in a quick salute to the Lion before he stepped back into the bar. [/i]

I like! :smiley: It’s got that whole “dingy” thing going on, which, as well as being a particular favourite style of mine, also makes a nice change from the “everyone returns to Garden and live happy carefree lives” scenarios that happen all over the place (okay, so that was how the game itself ended, but bear with me, please?)

The writing is solid, I can’t find anything in particular to pick apart- the flashback is a bit long, though- had it been a normal scene then yes, but it does kind of detract from where the story as a whole had been heading. It’d work best if it was a little shorter, or a little later. Otherwise, keep it up! :slight_smile:

Thank you, and thanks for the comment on the flashback =D
I should explain that the way it’s told is for the first half mainly through flashbacks (a la FFX, sort of.) until it “catches up” in the middle, so to speak. And from then on, everything is told in the present tense.
Also, that was like, half of the first page lol. There’s a couple more ‘present scenes’ and some more flashbacks on that page slone, but the whole page is so long I wasn’t sure if I should post it.
Thanks again :kissy:

Your writing is excellent, doubtlessly, but I think I’ll have to see a bit more before I can properly judge the story. Off to a nice start, though.

Very well written. I find the whole “gritty” approach on the FF8 characters funny, because they were portrayed as such “cool” characters in the game. But it’s certainly an acceptable take. Like GG, I’ll wait until I see more about the story to judge it, tho.

BTW… GG’s a cheesehead now!? :eek:

Well if a couple of people want to see more, I’ll post a couple more sections. Thanks for the feedback, it’s hard to get around home when everyone just smiles and says “It’s wonderful!” because they don’t want to crit it lol.
So, this is the next section, in the present. The one after will go back to the past, and so on and so forth. Thanks for reading! :kissy:

Squall gently pulled Rinoa upright. She was resisting him slightly, and he chewed his lip, looking at her closely.

Her face was flushed and she looked terribly cranky.

“What’s wrong?” He asked in a soft voice, only a touch of anxiety showing through. Rinoa tried to reassure him by smiling, but the corners of her mouth quivered.

“It’s this bloody heat. I can’t stand it. I don’t think I’ve slept in days…” She sighed, tears forming at the corners of her eyes. “I can’t ever get comfortable…” Here she gestured towards her belly with an impatient swipe of one hand. Squall pulled her slightly closer, taken off-guard by the heat radiating from her. He noticed the silken top she usually slept in was soaked through, so he pulled it off her gently and stood her up, taking most of her weight in his arms. He was getting very used to moving slowly with her, and taking care not to awaken any of the mood swings that lurked in her subconscious. He still had bruises on his thighs from the last one, where despite her bulk, she had made a very credible attempt at kicking him in the groin. She had blamed it on the hormones, and he had not felt disposed to argue. She was quite the formidible presence now.

“Come on,” he gently manoevered her towards the washroom and flicked on the light. He sat her down on the toilet, noticing the alarming creaking noise the seat-cover made under her weight. He glanced at her, but her dark eyes dared him to comment. He ignored her expression, and pretended he had heard nothing. Generally it was safer that way.

Rinoa sighed inwardly. She had to pee, again. Always. Every time she saw a washroom, and then some. Squall had thankfully gotten used to it, and no longer rolled his eyes when she made a frantic bee-line for the washroom every half-hour. She still didn’t feel like talking, so she reached out and tapped Squall on the arm. He turned to look at her, and then turned and walked immediately out of the bathroom. He knew that expression from a mile away.

When she was settled, he re-entered the bathroom and turned on the shower, setting the temperature to be fairly cool, but not shockingly cold. By now she was aware enough to pick herself up, shed the remainder of her clothing, and greatfully step inside. Her immense dark eyes thanked him as the cool water soaked her from head to toe.

“I’ll be in in a minute,” Squall called to her softly, his voice still husky from sleep. He stepped back into the sweltering bedroom and began stripping the bedsheets off. Then, with a sudden flash of inspiration, he put both a new set of sheets and a pair of low cotton shorts in the freezer. Smiling triumphantly, he then rejoined her in the shower. There was barely enough room for the both of them anymore, but he still eased in behind her and ran his rough knuckes down her spine. She arched her back and groaned in pleasure, her spine strangely echoing the sinuous curve of her stomach. Squall continued to massage her lower back while he closed his eyes, letting the water run over his face and body, draining the damnable heat from his bones.

Her constantly changing shape intrigued him, and he opened his eyes again to look at her. As he watched, the bulk shifted with a fluid ease. Rinoa’s eyes snapped open in some consternation at the feeling, but she closed them again shortly, absentmindedly rubbing her hip.

“It feels like I’m being kicked black and blue from the inside,” She had said to him once. He nodded respectfully to her bulge, and continued working his way down her back.

Rinoa wanted to collapse in relief, but figured if she did, she’d run the risk of flattening Squall. In actuality, she wasn’t all that large, she reasoned with herself. It was just that she was all that much larger than she was used to being.

Awhile later, Rinoa regretfully extended slender fingers towards the tap, long nails clicking on the polished surface. She turned off the shower and stepped out, not bothering with a towel. Squall snagged one of the thick white ones for himself and wrapped it carelessly around his waist. He kissed her shoulder, lingering.

“Wait here,” Squall ordered finally, leaving the room only to return momentarily with the shorts he’d placed in the fridge. He handed them to her, and then went outside again to re-make the bed.

He had to firmly supress his hormones as he shook the sheets out over the mattress, as he could still catch glimpses of her wet skin glistening under the naked bulbs. Squall closed his eyes tightly and took deep breaths, gradually releasing his strangle-hold on the sheets. He resumed making the bed knowing she wouldn’t appreciate any sort of advances from him at this point in time. He shouldn’t even bother thinking about it.

Rinoa however, knew she was being spoiled, but she felt too damn good about it to feel guilty. She let a wicked smile creep over her features as he came back to the bathroom.

“I know this must be awfully hard for you,” Rinoa’s voice was husky with sleep, and she draped her arms over his shoulders, already slick with sweat. Squall closed his eyes tightly again and tried to imagine anything that didn’t involve Rinoa, water, and sweat. He was remarkably unsuccessful, and her naked skin against his back wasn’t helping matters any.

Squall turned to face her, crinkling up his face in mock exasparation. He summoned up all the willpower he possibly could, and regretfully pushed her hands off his shoulders. He pointed sternly towards the bed.

“March, you little harlot. Get in that bed right now before I do something terrible and depraved to you.”

Rinoa winked at him, flashing a smile that showed her pointed canines.

“I don’t take orders from anyone, Leonhart,” she said, still in that whisky voice. “But,” she paused to yawn, dropping all pretenses of alertness. “I’m pretty damn tired, I’ll admit to that.” Rinoa tried to stifle yet another yawn. Tired wasn’t even the word for it anymore. She was done for.

Squall pushed her gently into the bedroom and over to the bed. She felt the sheets with one hand and smiled in delight at the cool temperature, raising one eyebrow.

“You sure know how to treat a lady,” she whispered. “Thank you.”

Squall smiled at her, watching as she eased herself into bed again, stretching out against the chilled sheets. He kissed her collarbone lightly, and the lay down, watching her pulse beat in the hollow of her neck until she eased into sleep.

I know how hard it is to get good feedback from your family…and not just on my writings, on ANYTHING. If some mad scientest swapped my head with my ass, my mom would STILL tell me that I’m good-looking. :slight_smile:

The story intrigues me, definately. You can bet that I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

[i]Squall, Rinoa and Zell walked casually along the scorching plains, trying to appear innocent and unarmed in the relentless midafternoon light. So far it had been working well, and the trio had been merciless in their slaughter. Frequent radio contact with Quistis, Irvine, and Selphie assured them that things were generally the same with the other party.

A hideous shriek echoed across the barren landscape, and Squall immediately tensed, looking around. Rinoa brushed a hand across her forehead to remove both sweat and hair, and stopped beside him.

“What’s up?” She asked him. Squall was still scanning the sky. He was more than a little concerned.

“That cry… It was a Ruby Dragon, I swear it… But they’re not supposed to be in Centra…” He was speaking in such a low voice that Rinoa had to strain to hear him. She leaned in closer as he continued to mutter under his breath. “There!” Squall shouted, making Rinoa take a step back, covering her right ear. She looked up, ears ringing, following his arm.

The giant reptile was streaking towards them like a house on fire.

“Shit that’s huge.” Zell said quietly, cracking his knuckles. Rinoa paled slightly as it drew closer, but cast herself back in her consciousness to make quick contact with the Guardian Forces lurking there.

There is a battle to be fought. We will come. They replied as one.

Before Rinoa could form another coherent thought, the dragon crashed into the ground mere feet from Zell. The martial artist leapt backwards with surprising agility, waiting for the dust to settle. Squall positioned himself slightly in front of Rinoa, Lionheart held at the ready.

The dragon was excited, and very confident. It extended its neck, snapping at Squall, who slashed at it with the Lionheart in retaliation, driving it backwards so quickly that is sat down on its rump looking bewildered. Rinoa might have laughed if she hadn’t been so scared. She remembered the previous encounters with the beasts, and wouldn’t have been happier if she’d never seen one again. The darkest presence in her mind surfaced briefly, seeming to be amused by her thoughts.

The lithe reptile recovered quickly from Squall’s rapid-fire parry, and lashed out with its tail. The Lion saw it coming and stabbed at the iron-hard scales, distracting it while Zell took the opportunity to land lightning fast hits to its head. Squall winced every time Zell’s fists connected with the animal’s natural armor. Each plate had the strength of steel… but then he had seen Zell put some formidible dents in a steel door when he was in a foul mood.

The big Ruby shook Squall off its tail angrily, but not before significant damage had been done. It jerked the appendage back, favoring it, then glared at the three humans, affronted.

It rushed for Rinoa this time, nearly knocking Squall off his feet. The Knight took the momentary distraction as an opportunity to gain access to the creature’s vulnerable areas. It reached for Rinoa just as Squall plunged the Lionheart into its side. The narrow red eyes snapped open wide, and the dragon roared, striking out with one clawed talon. Squall felt the fabric on his shirt disintegrate and shut his eyes, but there was no contact with his skin. He braced himself and squeezed the trigger on the gunblade before yanking the sword free of the dragon’s flesh.

The beast was truly enraged now, and ran at Rinoa, who was off to one side by herself. She shakily extended one hand in a motion that looked as though she were about to slap the giant creature across the face. Instantly, all the moisture in the air began to condense on the dragon, freezing to the scaly body. The giant lizard shook and squealed, snapping its teeth in a frenzy and backing away. It despised the cold, and the ice slowly encasing it was torture. It lost control.

Rinoa was pleading with her eyes for the ice to hold, but the heat began to crack the fragile material, and the dragon, sensing this, flexed its wings, shattering the rest. It fixed its eyes on her yet again, and lumbered towards her, picking up speed at an alarming rate.

Both Zell and Squall ran towards Rinoa as the dragon started for her, but it outpaced them in three steps. Rinoa stumbled backwards and tripped as the beast swiped at her stomach.

Squall watched in horror as the razor sharp claws plowed through Rinoa’s belly, spraying droplets of blood across the sand. Rinoa’s face went white as she hit the ground and tried to back farther away. Her hands slipped on the sand beneath her, and she couldn’t force her numb fingers to close. She could hear her breath, harsh in her ear, but she couldn’t hear anything else. Only a curious ringing that seemed to vibrate through her entire being.

She wondered if she was going to die. She wasn’t scared, only mildly curious… Stop it. She gritted her teeth and forced herself to focus on the pain. Of course she wouldn’t die. There were potions in nice glass bottles that were meant to stop that from happening…

Squall got there in time to catch her head, and was desparately searching his pockets for the oddly-shaped glass bottle that marked the contents inside as Elixer.
“Please no,” he whispered, watching as Rinoa’s eyes rolled back into her head, her fingers were shaking, and her teeth were clenched so hard he thought they would shatter under the pressure. Her blood stained the ground around him, spreading farther with each second that passed. He yanked the bottle out of his pocket. It was empty. His blue eyes blazed with fright as he frantically searched for another.

Rinoa’s conscious blinked in and out several times, capturing fragments of images. Her skin… The sun… Squall.

She sat bolt upright and found herself watching over her body from a small distance. She instinctively cried out and tried to run toward herself, lifeless in the dirt. She was frightened… no… angered by the image. She couldn’t just die like that… a pathetic waste under the burning sun. She ran harder. Her dead body mocked her, skidding away as soon as she got close. Rinoa doubled her efforts, breath searing her lungs, but no matter how hard or fast she ran, she got no closer.

She ran until she collapsed, lungs burning. Bile rose in her throat and she leaned to one side and threw up noisily, bringing tears to her eyes. She heard laughter on all sides of her, spiraling inward. She curled in on herself in dispair, and a voice spoke to her. The laughter ceased abruptly.


Rinoa knew who it was immediately. The voice that spoke was so deep that she could feel it resonating through her body rather than actually hear it. She staggered to her feet, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand in distaste. She walked unsteadily toward the disembodied voice, searching the dark for a sign. She looked down and blushed, upon realizing she was wearing no clothing. She made an attempt to cover herself, and a laugh rolled like thunder out from the shadows.

“Daughter of Hyne. Are you so afraid to show your skin?”

Rinoa turned again to face the shadows and dropped her arms to her sides, head up, displaying herself. Her skin was smooth, and the gaping laceration that infested her mortal body was not present in this realm.

“I am not afraid.” She said clearly. “Show me your skin,” Rinoa challenged the darkness, which had thickened considerably since her arrival in this… place. It was almost like the dark was its own being that lived and breathed. Tendrils wound around her feet, caressing her thighs, stroking…

One eye blinked open on a level with her midsection, and the darkness retreated. The eye looked black, but Rinoa knew it was the color of blood seen in the shadows; the deepest, purest crimson. The darkness shifted, parts of it coalescing into solidity, and a regal head ten times the young woman’s height pushed forward.

“Where am I?” Rinoa asked. She tried to keep her voice from shaking.

“You are not dead, and you will not die.” Was the response from the dragon. He directed his gaze behind Rinoa, and she turned to see Squall still frantically trying to stop her life from escaping her battered body. Rinoa lunged towards him instinctively, but a talon longer than a lamp post curled delicately in front of her, gently pulling her back. "Time passes differently here Child. Decades may pass in seconds."The gleam of a tooth caught Rinoa’s attention. She turned to Bahamut, tears standing in her eyes.

“Please let me go!” She cried, making an attempt to run towards Squall. The dragon sighed heavily and scooped her up carefully, turning and stalking off into the darkness. He spoke quickly now.

“Patience is a virtue you must learn Child.” There was weariness in the giant’s voice as he chastised her.“Another thing you must learn is that everything happens for a reason. Everything. There is no such thing as a coincidence in life, and anywhere beyond.” He stopped moving and switched the subject abruptly. “You are not supposed to be here, in the realm of Dreams.” Bahamut regarded her out of the corner of one eye. Rinoa stared back at the distorted image of herself present in the Guardian’s eye. She shuddered, and twisted back to look over her shoulder. Her body, and Squall had long since disappeared. She struggled, but Bahamut simply closed his fist more tightly, choking the life out of Rinoa. She gasped for breath, feeling her ribs start to buckle. Her lungs flamed, and black spots swam before her vision. One floated close enough for Rinoa to be able to make out features… a face…

“Seifer!” She wheezed. Her eyes began to shut of their own accord, filling up with the blood being squeezed from her near lifeless body. Bells rang in her hears again, and her head thundered like it was about to explode. She mouthed another word, tears streaming down her face.

Bahamut released her, dropping her carelessly on the ground.

Rinoa gasped and sobbed, hauling air into her lungs and spitting it back out again for fresh. She felt like a small child, crying until she could no longer cry, breathing until she could no longer breathe. She lay for what seemed like centuries on the blackness until Bahamut moved once again. He retreated slightly and seemed to be watching her. Then he closed his eyes and disappeared.

Rinoa’s harsh breathing was all she could hear and see, but she could feel the darkness creeping up to her again. It touched her foot, working its way up her leg. She shuddered, but didn’t move. Gently it helped her to stand, encircling her bare waist for support. It brushed across her lips, leaving a taste like blood, then wrapped gently around her neck. It resolved into a hand, then and arm, then a face.

Rinoa jerked away impulsively, as Seifer grinned down at her, leering at her naked soul. She spat blood at him, but he easily dodged it, keeping one hand on her neck. His expression changed to one of sorrow, and he reached his other hand towards her face, tucking her hair behind her ears.

“I’m sorry Rin… I am. I’ll do it, I’ll make it up to you…” he leaned towards her, then grabbed her hair and pulled her face to meet his. Rinoa fought as his tongue bruised her lips, forcing her mouth to open, she brought both hands up to push him away, but her palms met unexpectedly with a thick fur collar. She opened her eyes again and stared right into Squall’s. He pulled away from her and turned, disintegrating back into the dark as he walked.

“Remember what I told you Child. Everything happens for a reason!” The last part of the sentence emerged as a roar, as Bahamut sprang to life and leapt for Rinoa. He spun her around, scoring his claws down her back. Rinoa’s eyes opened wide, but they were dry, and her mouth would only scream in a silent voice. She felt blood running down her legs as the hideous wound in her gut re-opened in concert with the gouges inflicted by the King of Dreams. She gasped for air frantically, to replace the oxygen her body was starving for, and then her head snapped back, and her bruised soul screamed.

Squall reeled as Rinoa’s body snapped backwards, bending like a bow string. He struggled to hold her while she screamed as though her soul were being prised from her body. The scarlet ribbons of flesh that hung across her body began to glow, knitting themselves back together. Rinoa’s body bucked in his arms and the Lion held her as tightly as he could, wrapping is arms around her. And then as suddenly as she had convulsed, she relaxed, taking deep breaths. All that was left of the gaping wound in her stomach were three jagged scars.

Squall’s attention was diverted from Rinoa by a crash that shook the earth. He glanced over his shoulder to see Ifrit sitting back on his haunches, and Zell down on his knees. He started to rise, until he felt the gentle pressure of Rinoa’s hand on his arm.

“I’ve got it.” She whispered, looking up at the sky. Squall was completely at a loss. He wanted to break her neck for scaring him like that. He wanted to know that the hell had just happened. He really wanted to get her back to Garden, but he could do none of the above until giant walking death was dead itself.

He attempted to rise again, until a shadow fell over him. He looked up to see another dragon descending at an impossibly fast rate.

Bahamut landed with such force that the earth cracked under his talons, and before Squall could blink, the Guardian Force launched himself at the red adversary.

It was over in seconds, and Bahamut casually slapped the carcass to one side, before bowing his head regally to Rinoa and peopwlling himself into the sky. Rinoa nodded back, and carefully stood up, holding onto Squall for support. Her shirt was in tatters, and Squall and Zell tactfully averted his eyes until she had changed into something else. Squall inspected her carefully for residual damage, but he found none. Zell wandered over and whistled at the trio of scars across her stomach.

“You’re lucky Squall got to you as quick as he did…” Zell said to her, putting his arm across her shoulders and giving her a quick, comforting hug. Rinoa looked up at Squall, who gave her a shaky smile and drew her into his arms.

Oooh…and the plot thickens! Interesting… :mwahaha:

That was the next section… still on the first page lol, but it’s getting to page two slowly…
I don’t know if I’m happy with that bit or not… I think I am, but at times it seems a little… melodramatic? Maybe?

Melodrama is good as long as you don’t overdo it. As it stands, you’ve got the story balanced pretty damned well. :slight_smile: I like these new parts- the description of the fight was good, even if it did end a bit abruptly- but then, they usually did in the game anyway when Bahamut got involved. :wink:

Keep it up! :slight_smile:

I like. Your writing itself is excellent, and the story is fascinating. I look forward to more.

Well, here’s another bit… this one’s small though… but hey, when the next one gets posted, it’ll be the end of Chapter one! w00t.

Squall woke before she did. He always did. Call it Military precision, or something. The morning air was a bit cooler, but already the sun was out in full force. Squall sighed. She wouldn’t sleep again this night. He wondered if he could convince Cid to steer Garden towards Trabia for a few days. It was a possibility… The Headmaster had been more than accomodating to Rinoa’s needs, and Squall had a suspicion that Cid was looking forward to being a “grandfather”.

Still thinking, he eased himself out of bed carefully, taking every precaution against waking her. He padded into the small kitchen, absentmindedly wondering what the time was. The clock on the wall read 6:49 and he grunted, but quietly took out a tiny kettle and a package of herbal tea from the cupboard. He filled it and set it to boil, filling up the coffee maker for himself, and then walked silently back into the bedroom. He took a light cotton robe off one of the chairs in the corner and shrugged into it, then stepped outside onto the balcony, away from the open door. He lit a cigarette and looked down towards the ground, moving slowly by far below.

He rubbed the heel of one hand across his eyes, blinking several times to clear them. In all likelihood he was getting only marginally more sleep that the Sorceress, but for some reason it didn’t seem to affect him. Dark, sleepless nights had been a part of him since he had been a child.

Ellone. The name passed through his mind like a ghost. He knew she was under Laguna’s protection in Esthar, and that both his father and surrogate sister were anxiously awaiting the birth of his child.

A chill passed through him despite the heat. His child. He was still unsure of the whole thing. They were so young… Squall forced himself to think of something else, massaging one temple with his thumb.

He wasn’t sure where it was that Garden was headed, nor did he care. He could see Rinoa’s sleeping form out of the corner of his eye, and as she shifted position, the silvery scars across her belly came into view.

This has all been one chapter?

Awesome. I likes me a good long read. :cool:

I like. Your descriptions are strikingly vivid and your story is fascinating.

Well, this is the last part of chapter one. I’m doing a ‘second draft’ of two and three as I go kind of, to fix things that are overdone, etc., so I should have more up soon :kissy:

[i]Dr. Kadowaki had requested Rinoa’s immediate return to Garden following the attack by the dragon, and Cid had even sent the Ragnarok to pick them up. Now Squall and Rinoa walked wearily down the carpeted hallways, not even having had the chance to clean up before being summoned to her office. They were not particularly concerned, as Rinoa seemed to have made a full recovery.

She had explained the events that had transpired in her mind as best as she could to Squall, but she had pointedly omitted the meeting with Seifer. Her heart told her it was still too soon, while her head was sickened with her for lying. She had debated it for quite some time, but then seeing him walking next to her, blue eyes fastened on her in concern, her heart had won out.

Rinoa entered first and was waved to a seat by Dr. Kadowaki, who looked almost surprised to see Squall with her. Nonetheless, she smiled warmly at both of them, trying to give them some reassurance. In reality, the doctor was worried. Given the description of the attack, severe damage had to have been done to her internal structure. However on the other hand, the healing process was alien to her, so perhaps everything was fine.

“Rinoa, I’m just going to take a look at your stomach first of all, then I’ll take a peek at your back, although from what you’ve said, everything seems to be okay there.” The Doctor paused, going over the events that had transpired step by step. She clearly recalled Rinoa saying that her back had been split open to the bone on either side of her spine, but there had been no evidence of this at all. The smooth, unblemished skin on Rinoa’s back denied the story strongly.

Dr. Kadowaki turned to Squall and looked at him for a moment.

“Squall, I think it’s best if you leave for now,” she said gently. “I’ll have to do a full examination of Rinoa, and it would probably be more comfortable for both of you if you stepped outside into the waiting room.”

The Lion looked at his Angel for a moment, startled, and then nodded slowly and headed for the door.

“I’ll be in my room if you need me,” he said softly to Rinoa. His voice was rough, and caught in his throat, and his eyes were tired and hurt.

Rinoa nodded.

“I-I’ll come see you when I’m done. I’m sure it wont take long.” She said as he turned and stepped out of the room, shutting the door quietly behind him. Rinoa looked after him for a long moment, until the doctor’s talking snapped her back to reality. She wished he could have stayed with her. She was beginning to get scared.

“You’ll need to take off your shirt,” Dr. Kadowaki instructed her, tactfully busying herself with something on the other side of the exam room as Rinoa shyly complied. She tossed her shirt on the chair beside her, crossing her arms over her chest. The doctor looked at the young woman over her glasses, but refrained from commenting. Instead she nodded, and walked over to Rinoa, instructing her to stand up as straight as she could.

Three scars, each the thickness of her finger, tore through Rinoa’s skin starting underneath her left breast. The last one tapered out just before her navel. The doctor’s eyebrows drew together as she inspected them. Although she doubted they would ever fade, they seemed to be perfectly healed. She looked at Rinoa a while later.

“Well, the exterior damage seems to be little to none,” she said, standing up and moving to Rinoa’s back. Rinoa nodded slightly, noticing the emphasis on the word ‘exterior’. There was strong pressure on her back for a few moments, but nothing uncomfortable. Finally the doctor walked back around to her front and shrugged slightly. “And I can’t find anything wrong with your back at all. I think I’ll refrain from sending you in for x-rays because that usually causes more damage.”

Rinoa breathed a sigh of relief and reached for her shirt, but Dr. Kadowaki put a hand on her arm, stopping her.

“I didn’t say I was done with you,” the doctor said wryly, pointing towards the exam table with a stern eye. Rinoa looked at it, eyes wide. “I said I needed to do a complete exam.” Dr. Kadowaki said, heading for the door. “Get undressed down to your skin and hop up on that table. You can cover yourself with the sheet if you want, but I need to see if you have any internal damage from that injury. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Rinoa looked at the doctor in terror as she walked out the door, and then back at the table. This was definitely not how she’d wanted to spend the evening. She eyed the table in revulsion, and then walked slowly towards the door the Doctor had just left by. She paused, listening. If Dr. Kadowaki had gone somewhere else for the moment, she might be able to escape. She turned the doorknob slowly, and pushed it open with a soft click!

The doctor’s brown eye stared right back into hers, and Rinoa closed the door again with a slam, nearly hitting herself in the face. A voice came through the door, sounding mildly annoyed.

“Rinoa, I’ll tape you down to that table and undress you myself if I have to, however I suggest you cooperate. It’ll make things much more pleasant.”

Rinoa crossed her arms and made a face at the door, thinking that pleasant was quite possibly the least fitting word for what she was about to experience. She looked around desperately for a window she could slither out through. There was nothing. Not even a heat vent. The Sorceress huffed out a sigh, then grudgingly removed her pants and underwear, wrapping herself securely in the sheet on the table. Not a moment later, Dr. Kadowaki walked back in. She rolled her eyes at Rinoa and pointed to the table.

“Now.” She ordered. Rinoa stuck her tongue out and stood her ground. “Now!” The doctor’s tone was becoming more serious by the second. “Sorceress or not, you still have to do this. Get on that table.” She glared at Rinoa.

The young woman glared back for a moment, then slowly dragged herself over to the exam table. She hauled herself up, and sat with her legs crossed demurely. The doctor shook her head. Rinoa sighed. This was going to be a long night. Perhaps it was better that Squall had gone back to his room.

Hi! I’m a newbie to the board, but I saw your 'fic here and decided to try my hand at giving some C&C! I hope you don’t mind! Before I begin, I just want to say that I understand that you probably have everything done in this fanfic for a reason, I’m just trying to point out things that stood out to me as a reader. Feel free to ignore anything you don’t agree with!

First of all, I really enjoyed reading this! It was well written, and you’ve piqued my curiosity! I’m looking forward to finding out what’s happening as you go along! And did you say this was your first fanfic? You’re really good!

Someone else mentioned that the flashbacks were long, and you said that that’s because you’re doing this in a style sort of like FFX. So far the ‘present’ scenes are shorter than the ‘past’ scenes, so you might want to consider switching which ones are in italics until the story catches up with the present. I don’t know about others, but I find italics a bit harder on the eyes than normal font, so if the ‘present’ scenes are going to continue to be shorter it might be an option to look into.

Your description is excellent! There’s a fine balance between too much, and too little, and you seem to have hit the nail right on the head! I felt that you really painted a picture so I could see exactly what you meant for the reader to see as I went along! The dirty town in Centra, the extreme heat of the bedroom, Rinoa’s feelings about her pregnancy, her dream sequence with Bahamut, the fight with the Ruby Dragon, I could see/feel/experience these as I read about them. There was the slight occasion when a word choice would throw me off, however. In the description of the town you used the word ‘grimy’ three times in a row. It gave it a sort of sing-song, surreal quality, which may have been what you were looking for. You would also need to insert a comma after ‘table’ and ‘pub’ in that sentence.

Also, immediately after they left the bar, you described Rinoa fanning herself choosing “the possibility of a cooling breeze to the surety of looking like a fool”. I believe choosing breeze ‘over’ looking a fool would fit better than ‘to’ looking a fool, although I don’t believe the other is wrong. It’s probably just a matter of personal preference.

When the dragon first attacked, you described Zell dodging with ‘surprising’ agility. Why would it be surprising? Wouldn’t his friends know how fast he was? Perhaps ‘amazing’ or something similar might fit better.

I loved it when you described them as walking across Centra trying to look innocent and unarmed! I can just picture them whistling innocently calling ‘here monster, monster, monster!’

During the fight scene, you described Rinoa casting an ice spell on the Ruby Dragon. I loved your description of her casting pose, and the result of the spell, but I can’t help but wonder why the guys didn’t charge the dragon before the spell failed. Was it too far away, or did the spell happen too fast? I’m not quite sure… I’ve always been bad at picturing spatial/temporal details for this kind of thing…

I find it hard to believe that Squall would waste space with an empty bottle, especially knowing how vital it is to find the right potion fast in a battle situation. Perhaps finding that the bottle had cracked and leaked the contents out? I realize you need to delay Squall from healing for dramatic purposes (which I eagerly await the revelation of!)

I have to admit, imagining Selphie smoking caught me a bit off guard at first, but once you mentioned it had been picked-up recently it made more sense. Day after day of monster hunting could bring even that cheerful gal to the brink.

It was nice to see Rinoa learning to adapt herself to Squall’s habits, rather than trying to conform him to her way of life, for once! Thank-you for not falling into the trap of Squall completely turning over a new leaf, just because he smiled in the last CG scene! And thank-you as well for not turning Rinoa into a whining ditz! You’ve kept her as a character who can be respected! The only things that I found deterred from this, were her near-phobia of the doctor and her omission of Seifer being in her dream from her report. Is this here for a plot-reason for either of these? Is her fear a quirk you added to give her more character? As for her omission, has Squall proven to be jealous? She could easily explain how she wasn’t a willing participant in the dream. I just have to admit that I didn’t find these two reactions of hers to be very plausible.

I liked how Squall thought back to Ellone while he was smoking on the balcony. It shows that she’s an important part of his life. Of course, Elle’s my favourite character, so I’m not biased or anything… whistles innocently But I have to say I like that scene with Squall overall, anyways! It was nice to see his concern about being a parent, likely to be emphasized by the lack of parenting figures in his own childhood. And the ominous revelation of the scars as Rinoa turned over was a niced touch as well!

Just some random questions/comments now…

Is Angelo a gender-neutral name? I’ve always thought of it as being male, but I don’t want to assume anything. I’m just bringing it up because you portrayed him/her as a female. Or is this an in-joke of Rinoa’s? :slight_smile:

I really liked your idea about putting the sheets in the freezer. I’m going to have to try that one next time it gets too hot! :slight_smile:

Just out of curiosity, how are you portraying the Knight? Are you just using it as another way to describe Squall, as he always looks out for Rinoa, or are you doing the whole ‘Knight Bond’ thing? And if anyone can tell me if the ‘Knight Bond’ was actually in the game, I’d be grateful, 'cause I keep seeing it, but I don’t remember it…

“There were potions in nice glass bottles that were meant to stop that from happening…” <-- This, by the way, was one of my favourite lines!:slight_smile: I’m not even sure if I can explain why, only that it made me very, very, happy!

I found it extremely ironic that they sent the Ruby Dragon shaped airship to pick them up after being attacked by a Ruby Dragon. Did you do that on purpose? :slight_smile:

You handled the conversion from game mechanics to story very well so far! I’m interested to see more about the junctions, especially after the way Bahamut’s acting!

Hmmm… I seem to have rambled on for quite a bit here… If I’ve gone overboard, could somebody please let me know? Like I said, I’m new here, and I don’t want to be treading on anyone’s toes… Thanks for sharing this wonderful story! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

It’s not going overboard at all…on the contrary, we encourage that sort of thing here! 'Twas very well-put.

I can answer the Angelo thing! I think it is sad that I know this, but I will say it anyhow… Angelo is a female… she is named after St. Angelo de Roma – Saint Angel of Rome she was given a male name after the Christian saint. More useless information she is molded after the Black Tri Austrian Shepard… she’s two years old and likes Sushi, Apples, and dislikes dog food! She was purchased at the Winhill pet store… and was born on December 13th.

Yes, I am writing a portion of Dancing in Time on this…this is why I have the research! :slight_smile:

Someone shoot me, why do I know all of this? Anyway, there are a lot of technical details left off of the American version, and only one time does it say ‘she’ in the script, so many think that ‘she’ is male…and to get that ‘one time’ you have to have a specific group of characters, leaving Irvine behind in Esthar. I have a friend who had done all the research on this, and translated all of the original Japanese interviews. Nothing in the American game is what it seems… I can’t tell you how much I have written wrong, after talking to someone who worked with the square site at one time… Yes, Adel, not a girl…but is that really a shocker?

The biggest one I break is who “Hyne” is… as in the American version he is referred to as a deity of sorts…which is what I always wrote…even saying ‘Oh Hyne’ Instead of God, but in the Japanese version he is a human, more a sorcerer…

As for the Knight/Bond thing…again there is a mention of it, but the English version lacks a lot of details… it’s not even hotdogs that Zell likes! I have thought about going back trying to change things in what I wrote, but then I figured people would just think it was wrong, besides those who have translated the interviews with the designers…trust me, there are some really amazing things in there. I didn’t know a lot of this stuff until I was asked to write an article, and then felt like a complete idiot for being so wrong in my writing. Luckily, not many notice. :slight_smile:

The story looks great, and it’s always good to have another Squall and Rinoa person around! If you ever want useless technical stuff let me know, I have pages of things…

Now, someone tell me why I know this stuff??? :moogle:

Elysial: Oi, whoa :slight_smile: Everyone has already told you about what I was going to say, I’m a bit stumped. So I’ll just leave it at that you should definitely keep up the good work!

Jade: Welcome aboard. Everyone, get ready for a master of long, helpful comments! :kissy:

Ashbear: “There is no useless knowledge!” -Beldin (I think)