Her Mother's Song

[04.19.00] » by Kristina Delgado

"Time for another goody from the mommy box today," Rinoa said cheerfully to Selphie, pulling the old blue box out from under her bed. Each day that week, Rinoa had picked one thing out of the box and looked it over, read it, or did whatever she had to do with it, to look into some other aspect of her mother’s life.

That day, she found some sheet music and a minidisc, both labeled Eyes On Me. From her mother’s journal, Rinoa remembered that this was the song that her mother had written after meeting Laguna Loire. She looked over the notes and lines on the sheets of music and quickly became confused. She handed it over to Selphie.

"You know how to read sheet music," said Rinoa. "Tell me what this is."

"Piano score," said Selphie. "The very top row is notes for the lyrics. The bottom two rows are for the piano."

"You still have your old minidisc player?"

"I certainly do," said Selphie. She went into her bedroom and quickly returned with the compact player. After dusting it off, she hooked it up through Rinoa’s stereo and carefully inserted the minidisc.

Whenever sang my songs, on this stage, on my own… Tears came to Rinoa’s eyes as she simply listened to her mother’s sweet voice, while Selphie followed along with the music. When the chorus came on again, Rinoa looked over Selphie’s shoulder to read the music and sing along.

"Darling, so there you are / With that look on your face…" Rinoa sang, very softly, while Selphie turned around and gasped. She waited for the song to finish playing and for Rinoa to wipe the tears away from her eyes.

"Rinoa! You have a great voice!" Selphie exclaimed. "I could… picture you singing this!"

"Oh, no, I couldn’t…" said Rinoa. "I’d cry on the stage."

"Well, you could still join my band!"

"I thought your band broke up."

"I’m starting a new one."

"Are you going to get Zell to tap dance for you again?" Rinoa chuckled, remembering the concert at Fisherman’s Horizon.

"Umm, no. He told me he’d rather die before doing that again. But I did get Irvine to play the piano for me. He picked that up real quick."

"But you can get Irvine to do anything for you."

"Well, yeah. Still, I could teach you how to read music. Or Cid could. He knows how to play piano."

"Somehow, I can’t picture Headmaster Cid as a musician."

"Well, when I was little and I was at Trabia, Cid came over to Trabia and played a little concert for us. After the concert, I asked him if I could play like that, and he said, ‘I’d love to teach you, but I live really far away, at Balamb. But if you want to learn, I’ll make sure that you get music lessons.’ Then he referred me to this lady… I forget her name… but she gave me music lessons till I was about twelve or thirteen. Then I kinda went off on my own and started learning other instruments."

"That’s a lovely story, Selphie. But I’m still not going to sing."

"Well, I guess I can’t make you do anything. But you should think about it. You really do have a good singing voice."

Selphie left Rinoa alone in the room. Rinoa bit her bottom lip as she read over the sheet music, written in a language unknown to her… and she reached up and pressed the "play" button on the minidisc player again.


"Rinoa, look what I found," Squall said seriously and suddenly, sitting down across from Rinoa in the cafeteria and slamming a piece of paper down next to her tray.

"Whoa, my goodness!" said Rinoa, taken aback by Squall’s actions. "Let’s see what this is… a birth certificate!" Then she chuckled and demanded, "Your middle name is… what’s this… Reiland?"

"Shut up."

"Okay, okay. Let’s see… born August 23, 2114, in Winhill… mother’s name was Raine Loire… father’s name was…." Rinoa’s face dropped as she said, "Oh, my."


"This means… Laguna Loire was your father!"

"Ismy father. He’s still alive somewhere, I believe."

"Where did you find this?"

"Well, you know how Cid decided to put me to work in his office?"

Rinoa gasped and said, "You snoop!"

"Hey, that’s my damned birth certificate! I had a right to see it!"

"I suppose so. But they must have had a reason for keeping it from you for all these years. You could have at least known who your parents were. And why didn’t they turn you over to your father if he was still alive?"

"At the time, they didn’t know he was alive. See, just before I was born, he was sent to Esthar to look for Ellone, because she’d been kidnapped. He was gone for a long time… and my mother died when I was born. They didn’t know where he was, and I didn’t have any other living relatives, so they sent me to the orphanage. For some reason, though, they gave me my mother’s maiden name as my last name. Maybe they weren’t sure if Laguna was my father, or something."

"Wouldn’t Cid know something about this?"

"I’m not telling him… I wasn’t supposed to be snooping around in the files like that. I’ll get into serious trouble. The thing I want to talk to you about is the relationship between Laguna and your mother."

"Oh, right…" Rinoa’s thoughts drifted to what she had read in her mother’s journal. "Well, come up to my room, and I’ll show you my mom’s journal. She had a lot in there about Laguna. You know, how she felt about him and stuff."

As they left the cafeteria, Squall asked, "How did your mother feel about Laguna?"

"She loved him."

"Hmph," said Squall. Changing the subject, he said, "I’m just now starting to understand this whole thing about Ellone. See, she wasn’t really my sister. I just called her ‘Sis’ in the orphanage because we were so close. She was kidnapped so that she could be a successor to Adel."

"But Adel went after me instead, after she couldn’t get Ellone."

"Exactly. She had some sort of special power… making people see into the past… that was what sent me and the others into the ‘dream world.’ They were keeping her in hiding, sending her from place to place, but my mother had her for a long time. She was safe in Winhill… until the soldiers found her and kidnapped her. My mother, of course, was nine months pregnant and couldn’t do anything. My father had to leave her to find Ellone… he never came back… she had me a few weeks later and died in childbirth."

"But Laguna is still alive."

"So I’ve heard. I know Ellone is still alive. If I could find her, I could probably find Laguna."

"How do you know all this stuff just from your birth certificate?"

"I don’t. I knew this lady in Winhill, and when I found my birth certificate, I called her up and told her who my parents were. She spilled everything she knew. She was one of the nurses that attended my mother when she was having me."

"Wow. You’re really lucky."

"No, you’re lucky. At least your parents led remotely normal lives."

"They certainly didn’t!" They arrived at Rinoa’s room, and she pulled the box out from under her bed and found the journal. "Read this. It’ll prove you wrong."

Squall sat on the floor and began thumbing through the journal. Rinoa sat on the bed behind him and began rubbing his shoulders. He stiffened up for a moment, then relaxed and said, "You’ll make me fall asleep."

"But you’ve been under so much stress, my dear," Rinoa said softly. Squall turned around and gave Rinoa a kiss, then continued reading the journal.

"Wow. My dad was such an idiot."

"At least he passed on one thing to you."

"Hey, now!" Squall stood up and asked, "Do you mind if I take this? It’s really long… and I want to be able to read all of it. It tells a lot about Laguna."

"Go ahead."

Squall stopped on his way out, turned and looked at Rinoa with a determined, rebellious look on his face. "You know what? I don’t care if Cid fires me. I need him to help me. He would at least know where Ellone is. If I need any help, though… will you help me?"

"Of course!" said Rinoa. "Let’s go now, and get this over with." They left the room and headed up to Cid’s office.


"What I don’t understand, Squall, is why you’re so hell-bent on finding out about your parents," Cid said angrily. They had already been in the office for a half-hour, arguing. "You know too much already. You don’t need to know any more."

"Why can’t I know anything about my parents?" Squall demanded.

"It’s none of your business!"

"It is my business! They’re my parents! I have every right to at least know who they are! And if my father is still alive, I feel I have a right to be able to see him!"

"Nobody knows if your father is alive."

"You’re lying. Ellone would know."

Cid turned and looked at Squall, the anger fading from his face. "You don’t give up, do you?"

Squall shook his head.

"Squall, sit down. It will actually be a lot easier than you think. You see, I was lying to you… I know that your father is alive, and Ellone is living with him. After he lost you and Raine, he raised Ellone like she was his own daughter. But he had to keep her in hiding for so many years… she was discovered again last year, when she tried going to college. She wasn’t safe in college, but she insisted on going anyway. That was when she was sent here, for her protection."

"So, where are they now?"

"In Esthar, of course. Laguna is the president of Esthar."

After all of this confusion, Squall had only one thing on his mind. "How can I see them?"

"Well, you see, I’m afraid it’s very difficult…."

"How could it be difficult? It’s peace time! Nobody’s fighting! It’s perfectly safe!"

"I suppose maybe you could try going to Esthar yourself…."

"Then that’s what I’ll do. As soon as I can. Tonight!" Squall jumped up, then turned around and shook hands with Cid. "I can’t thank you enough for all of your help. Do I… still have a job?"

"Yes. Just don’t let me catch you going through stuff you shouldn’t be again. Stick with the duties I give you, and nothing else."

"Thanks again." Squall left the office, and Cid said quietly as he left, "Good luck, Squall."


"Wow." Rinoa looked up at the huge mansion in awe. "This place is absolutely beautiful." She shifted her backpack on her shoulders, while Squall rang the buzzer at the gates.

"Who is it?" a gruff voice demanded through the speaker.

"I need to see the president. It’s very important."

"Who are you?"

"I’m a SeeD from Balamb Garden."

"What business do ya have here?"

"Umm…." Squall was hesitant to reveal his identity until he actually saw Laguna. But perhaps he had no choice….

"Hey, is he giving you trouble?" a voice asked behind Squall. He turned and, to his surprise, there was Laguna. "Ugi, they’re just kids. You can let them in."

The gates opened, and Laguna led Squall and Rinoa down the path to the mansion. It was beautifully cultivated-a perfectly green lawn, flowers lining the path, a water fountain in front of the house, and trees behind.

"So, you kids are here from Balamb Garden?" asked Laguna. "How’s Cid these days?"

"Well… he’s… he’s fine," Rinoa stammered.

"Hey, no need to be nervous. You kids got handles?"

"Handles?" Squall asked confusedly.

"Names. What are your names?"

As they climbed onto the stone steps, Squall said, "Well, that’s just about all we came here to tell you, and we were just going to let it go from there."

They went into the house, and Laguna was greeted by Ellone, who came down the stairs just as they came in. "Hi, Daddy… Oh!" She stopped and gasped when she saw Squall and Rinoa. "Daddy, that’s…."

Squall interrupted Ellone and said quickly, "I’m Squall Leonhart, and this is Rinoa Heartilly."

Laguna’s eyes widened. Ellone came down to join him, and there was complete silence for a few long moments. Finally, Laguna began thinking out loud, without taking his eyes off Squall.

"Leonhart… Raine… the baby… That means that you’re…."

Squall nodded and said, "Yes, sir. I was that baby."

Laguna shook his head and sat down on the couch, talking to himself. "I can’t believe it… my son… so many years…." Then he stood up and looked at Squall. "You’ve certainly grown up into a fine young man. Did the Kramers treat you well?"

"As far as I can remember, they did."

"Oh, yeah… they sent you to Garden… they probably got you started on GF, and you’ve forgotten everything by now."

"I remember a little bit more every day."

"Good, good… um… well, would you mind staying for dinner? Please, make yourselves at home. And don’t think I’ve forgotten you, young lady! I’d know Julia’s daughter when I saw her!"

"We’d love to stay," said Rinoa. They followed Laguna and Ellone into the dining room, where a young servant was waiting.

"Can you set two extra places for us tonight?" asked Laguna.

"No problem," said the servant, running into the kitchen.

"Please, sit down," said Laguna. "I’m still just letting this sink in… couldn’t just one of you have come, at least? Both of you is just too much at once!"

"Well, Squall wanted some company," Rinoa laughed, sitting next to Squall.

"I could have come alone, you know," said Squall, glaring at Rinoa.

"Geez, sorry. I’ll let you guys talk." Rinoa sat back, indicating that she was only going to listen quietly.

Laguna leaned forward and said, "Well, Squall, how much of the story do you know?"

"Pretty much all of it." Squall relayed as much as he knew, and Laguna nodded in approval.

"That’s about it," Laguna replied. "I guess I don’t know how to exactly explain myself. I’ve missed out on almost eighteen years…" He looked at Ellone, then at Rinoa. "I’m sorry, girls, but do you think you could excuse us for a little while? We’ll let you know when dinner’s ready."

"Of course," said Ellone. "Come on, Rinoa, I’ll show you around. I can tell you’re just dying to see this whole place."

Rinoa gave Squall’s hand a little squeeze, then followed Ellone out of the dining room.


Laguna gave Squall and Rinoa a room for the night. During the dinner, Laguna talked primarily to Rinoa, but afterwards he wanted to be left alone with Squall again. Rinoa had explored the house and talked to Ellone the entire evening, until she finally saw Squall again.

"So, how’d it go?" Rinoa asked as she pulled down the blanket and sheets on the bed. Squall was sitting on the other side of the bed, changing into his pajamas.

"We had a long, long talk," said Squall. "We had so much to catch up on. I guess it went pretty well. He told me all about my mother, your mother, about being a Galbadian soldier, being the president of Esthar, raising Ellone… all that fun stuff."

"Did you talk about the dream world at all?"

"Oh, yeah. He didn’t know anything about that, but when I told him, he knew that was completely the work of Ellone. That was when he understood why it was so awkward for me."

"What’d he have to say about my mother?"

"Not anything that we didn’t already know."

Rinoa cuddled herself under the blanket and said, "Wow, this is really comfy."

"Mind if I join you?" Squall smiled, dodging under the covers quickly and tickling Rinoa. She giggled and squirmed, until she finally ended up in his arms. He gave her a long, romantic kiss, then said, "Laguna’s so glad to see us together. He wanted to be with your mother… but I guess his son being with her daughter is good enough."

"If Laguna and my mother got married… you and I would be brother and sister!"

"Can’t have that happening. We discussed the possibility of that, too… Laguna did have a one-night stand with Julia, after all."

"Yes, I know this. But the timing… impossible. You’re only five months younger than me, and I was born a whole year after my parents were married."

"Don’t brag. I hate being the youngest one. Geez, I hate even being younger than Selphie!"

"You’re only about a month younger than Selphie. Don’t worry about it. Age doesn’t matter."

"So, what’d you and Ellone do all this time?"

"Well, I explored every nook and cranny that I could of this house, without getting in trouble by the servants. I did a couple times, but Ellone came and saved me. We talked a lot. She’s real nice."

"I have to talk to her sometime. But right now, I’m tired. Long journey, long talk, lots of memories. Laguna actually cried at one point."

"He did?"

"Yeah. He just felt so bad about running off on my mother like that… he promised her that he would be back with Ellone in time for the birth. But he got so wrapped up in what he was doing… he didn’t exactly forget my mother, but he just got his priorities mixed up. Oh, he gave me this." Squall got out of bed and reached over to the table, and found a picture. He showed it to Rinoa. It was a picture taken on Laguna and Raine’s wedding day, with tiny Ellone as the flower girl.

"This is so sweet," said Rinoa. "He let you keep this?"

Squall nodded. "It’s the only picture of my mother that I have."

Rinoa gave the picture back to Squall and fell back on the bed. "Sleepy time."

Squall turned off the light, cuddled up with Rinoa and went to sleep.


"Well, are you ready?" Selphie asked Rinoa in the dressing room.

"I guess so," said Rinoa. Weeks after Squall and Laguna met, Rinoa learned her mother’s song and was about to surprise Laguna by singing it for him. Her father had already arrived and given Rinoa yet another prized possession-her mother’s old, favorite red dress. The Balamb Garden auditorium was nearly empty, except for Rinoa’s closest friends. Selphie was helping in the back; Zell and Irvine were frantically setting up the sound system; Quistis and Squall were keeping Laguna company. Irvine had agreed to play the piano for Rinoa that evening.

"I can’t believe your dad gave you this dress," said Selphie. "Your dad’s been so nice to you."

"He has eighteen years to make up for," said Rinoa. "I hope Zell and Irvine are done. I’m ready to go."

"I’ll go check," said Selphie, darting out of the dressing room. Rinoa mulled over the lyrics for a few moments, and then her thoughts trailed away to her mother.

Mom was married to Dad, but she loved Laguna… I wonder how Dad felt about that? Was that why he neglected me so much when I was younger…?

"Time to go, kid!" Irvine said, poking his head in the door.

Rinoa maneuvered through the mess backstage, closely following Irvine because he seemed to know where he was going. She pushed through the curtains and arrived suddenly on the stage, blinded by the lights. Irvine was already sitting down at the piano.

"Hey, Zell!" Rinoa yelled. "Could you run up and turn down the lights?"

"No problem!" Zell yelled back. He rose from amid the seats and headed for the lighting booth.

Rinoa went up to the microphone, looked at it and said, "Oh, I could have used this. Is this thing on?"

"Yeah!" Selphie called from the audience.

"Oh. Okay. Umm… well, I’m going to sing for you guys tonight…." Rinoa knew she wasn’t normally this shy in front of audiences. She’d been in front of much larger ones and felt hardly a nervous twinge; why was she balking in front of an audience of six?

"It’s a song that was… written by my mother. A long time ago. It’s called, uh, Eyes On Me… and it was dedicated to a… Mr. Laguna Loire. Here goes."

Rinoa heard hushed whispers in the audience as Irvine began playing the piano.

"Whenever sang my songs / On this stage, on my own…" Rinoa felt her voice beginning to crack as she sang quietly, but pressed onward. The next few lines of lyrics made her feel better, and by the time she got to the chorus, she was singing beautifully and confidently. Towards the end of the song, she looked beyond the rows of seats to the back door of the auditorium, where she saw the silhouette of Seifer standing in the doorway. She was nearly startled, but kept singing anyway.

Rinoa finished singing, and Irvine played his piano part through the end. After a few moments of silence after the song ended, Rinoa heard Seifer applaud first. The others followed immediately, and Selphie and Quistis each threw a rose onto the stage. Rinoa took a bow as the quiet applause continued. When she looked back up, Seifer was gone.

General Caraway joined Rinoa on the stage, a bouquet of flowers in hand. He gave them to her, kissed her on the cheek and said, "That was beautiful… absolutely beautiful." When Rinoa looked at his face, she saw tears in his eyes. Tears sprang to her eyes as well, and she jumped up and gave her father a hug. They left the stage together.


"There’s the little superstar," Rinoa heard Laguna’s voice say behind her as she sat on the steps outside of the auditorium. She had stepped outside for a few moments to get some fresh air.

"Oh, hi," Rinoa said casually. Laguna sat down next to her.

"Great job," said Laguna. "I can see where you get your talent from. I mean… I’m guessing that, anyways. I never heard Julia sing. Just played the piano. But she was a wonderful musician… and a wonderful person."

Rinoa felt awkward, sitting next to the man that could have been her father. She wasn’t sure what to say.

"I know this must be kind of weird for you," Laguna said, breaking the silence. "I was going to marry your mother when I came back from the war. Well, I was going to ask her, at least. Maybe she got impatient… fell in love with your father… I don’t know. When I came back and found out she was already married… I was happy for her, but I was let down, too. I know how she still felt about me."

Rinoa still couldn’t say anything.

"You were just about a spittin’ image of your mom up there," Laguna said more cheerfully. "Except the hair… you got your dad’s hair. But you got your mom’s eyes. I think that was what I fell in love with… those eyes… that smile…."

"You are one for talking too much, aren’t you?" Rinoa asked teasingly. "You can’t have me. I belong to your son."

"Yes, you do," said Laguna. "And I couldn’t be happier. Maybe it was meant to be that way, for you two. Who knows? I do know that tonight, I ain’t goin’ within ten feet of your dad."

Rinoa laughed and said, "I don’t think he has any hard feelings. Well, I’m going in now. It’s kind of chilly out here."

Laguna walked with Rinoa back into the auditorium. Rinoa found Squall and snatched him aside for a moment.

"Did you see Seifer here?" asked Rinoa.

"Seifer was here?" Squall replied.

"He was… well, I guess you didn’t see him. But he was here."

Rinoa was suddenly crowded by Zell, Quistis, Selphie, and the few other students that had joined for the performance. She received her compliments and congratulations, then ducked out of the auditorium with Squall.

"Nice night, huh?" asked Squall, taking Rinoa’s hand.

"Yeah," Rinoa said quietly. "This has just been… all so overwhelming."

"I know," said Squall. "But you know something, Rinoa? The way you helped me through all this… the way we stuck together… just goes to show how much I love you."

"I love you too, Squall," said Rinoa. They shared a passionate kiss, which ended just as Zell burst through the nearby doors.

"Hey, guys!" said Zell. "Time for punch and pie!"

Squall and Rinoa laughed, shook their heads, and walked hand in hand back into the auditorium.

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