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Final Odyssey

Chapter Text

A man with half-long brown hair. He wears a heavy armor. A sword is strapped at his side.

A woman with short dark hair. Wearing armor over her dress. A sword strapped on her back.

A woman with a pair of glasses on her nose. She wears a yellow dress. A staff is clenched in her hands.

A woman with a pair of blue-purple eyes. She wears the colors of her former nation, ocean blue. She leans on her staff looking to the ocean.

They wander around a world that is not theirs.

Four immortals come across a mortal. A child. A girl with blond hair and brilliant blue eyes with a purple swirl.

A Blue Mage.

Suddenly the child screams. A sword has been plunged through her back and it comes out of her stomach. The child looks at the sword and tears fall from her beautiful eyes. A last plead for her mother.

 


 

“NO!”

Laguna heard the heart wrenching scream from his niece and runs to her room. He throws the door open and puts the light’s on.

Ellone is asleep, dreaming, but it appears the dream is not pleasant. Ellone is turning, twisting and moaning in her bed. Her sheets are tightly wrapped around her legs, her pillows have fallen on the ground.

Laguna places his hands on her shoulder to stop her squirming. He whispers softly to her, trying to calm her down, but it won’t work. Laguna looks worriedly at his niece. What are you dreaming about? Ellone didn’t have a dream in the last ten years, not once did she dream since she had given up her powers. Was it a coincident that it happens on their tenth anniversary? Ten years after they returned home? Laguna didn’t think so.

He places both his hands on her face and with his thumbs he strokes her hair out of her face. The sweat is pouring from her forehead, Laguna feels the heat radiating from her. “Please, wake up,” he whispers softly while kissing her forehead.

 


 

 

The child’s mother comes running, she is wearing a peach skirt and top. But, she is too late. Her child is dead. Anger and sadness clouds her eyes. She grabs her whip and strikes.

The attacker is too strong and too fast. Bleed is seeping from too many wounds. The sand has turned red. The mother crawls towards her child. Her hand is trying to reach the hand of her child. A finger touches her daughters still hand before her hand falls limp.

The attacker had finished his job.

 


 

 

“Quistis!”

Her eyes flew open, light brown eyes look up into the blue sky. She is breathing heavily and she puts a hand on her chest trying to steady her breathing.

“That dream again?” Ming looks concerned at one of her oldest friends.

“Yes,” Sarah looks up to the sky, the stars shine brightly. But they are not the same stars she watched for the last ten years, but still they are very familiar. “Where are we?”

Ming points to a familiar looking lighthouse and orphanage, and Sarah knows exactly where she is.

Kaim and Seth are standing near the water, the full moon shines behind them.

They were back. All of them.

Back in the world they left years ago.

Back in the world they lived in for thousands of years.

Back in the world to which they weren’t suppose to return to.

And yet, they were back.

 


 

 

A man comes running. His gunblade held tightly in his hands.

He runs towards the attacker and the two get involve into a fight.

Both men are wounded, but neither gives up.

Both are fighting for something important.

One for the love of his family.

The other for the preservation of the world.

The swords clash again.

The immortals stand by and can only watch.

 


 

 

Ellone wakes up slowly, trying to remember what the dream is about she just had. The details are already getting vague but she can still remember that Quistis was in it, battling against someone and losing? With her eyes still closed she can barely move her limbs, they are too heavy to move. In the distance she hears Laguna and Kiros talking in hushed voices.

“They are back.”

“Who are?” Laguna asks Kiros.

“The Immortals.”

“That is impossible,” Laguna huffs.

Kiros places a hand on Laguna’s shoulder to calm him down “Cid called, they are back.”

Ellone opens her eyes and sits up, her sudden movement alerts Laguna and the two men sit on either side of her.

Laguna wanted to ask her, ‘How are you?’ but Ellone holds her hand up and stops him.

“I am fine, but something bad will happen to Quistis. I know it.”

She sees Kiros wants to ask her, ‘How do you know?’ he has always been the practical one.

“I saw it.” She looks both men in the eye, making them understand she means it. “I dreamed about it.”

Chapter Text

The sand under her feet, the ocean and its salty air, it all reminds her of a time long gone. She sailed the oceans, but they were different than the one she is staring at now, she was the most fearsome pirate to sail the seas. That all happened a long time ago, but it did happen here, in this world.

She knows for sure that this is the world of the mortals, she remembers the last time she was here, or what looked exactly like this place, it was a replica of this place in a Time Compressed world, every little detail was exactly the same. Years ago she had come to take her friends back to their own world.

This time however she didn't come back alone, the others are here with her. The Immortals are back in the mortal world. They don't know how or why, but they are back. Back into a world they weren't suppose to return to.

Before they could find the reason why they are back, the most know when they are. They were happy to find Edea and she informed them it was ten years since they last set foot in this world, the same time that passed into their world. Sarah concluded that something had changed after Time Compression and the two worlds flow in the same time, meaning one day on this world is one day on theirs.

So they found out when they are, but now they need to figure out why. Cid told them nothing was wrong, all of his children are alright. The immortals suspected it had something to do with the dream Sarah had, but they couldn't be sure, so they hadn't told Cid or Edea about it yet. No need to worry them.

Seth didn't really know them all that well, so she wasn't really listening at all the details about everyone in the last ten years. Digging her heels in the sands she watches the ocean, thinking about her best friend Aneira, her son Sed and the adventures they had, the good and the bad. She misses her friend and son terrible, the only comfort she has is that she will see them again, sometime, but she doesn't know when. It could be one year, it could be a million.

Seth looks to her fellow Immortals and she sees that Kaim, Sarah and Ming are still talking with Edea. Cid was probably making some phone calls, telling his children about their return. She makes her way towards them but stops in mid-step when she sees a small child playing in the sand. She hadn't noticed her before, a girl with blond hair.

"Hello," she said. "Who are you?"

The child looks up and Seth sees a pair of brilliant blue eyes with a purple swirl in them which tell Seth exactly who this child's mother is.

A hand covered in mud is outstretched and Seth grabs it.

"I´m Ayla."

"Hi, my name is Seth," Seth said and she shakes Ayla's small hand. "How old are you."

"Five," she said proudly holding out five fingers.

"So you really are a big girl," Seth can see the likeness to Quistis, even though she had only see her for a short time, and she can also see Ming in this child. Apart from the eyes they have the same nose and cheekbones. She wonders who her father is. "Nice to meet you."

Ayla continues building her sandcastle and Seth helps her wherever she can, remembering the time she build sandcastles with Sed.

Seth didn't hear Ming and Edea approaching, not until their laughter announced their presence. It must be funny to see a small child and a grown woman, both covered in mud, building the biggest sandcastle they had ever seen.

"Quistis is Ayla's mother," Edea told her softly without Ayla hearing.

"I thought so. She looks so much like her."

"She is spending the weekend with Cid and me while her parents are working. We will leave for Esthar in two days, next week is our private anniversary party," she lifts Ayla in her arms and holds her on her hip. "It is time to eat young lady."

"No." Ayla whines. "I´m not hungry. I want to finish my castle with Seth." She stretches her arms towards Seth and Seth lifts her in her arms.

"How about we finish it after diner?"

Ayla's entire face light up, "Can we Matron?"

"I don't see why not."

Ayla struggles out of Seth's arms and starts running towards the orphanage. The three adult are laughing at her departure.

But their smiles leave their faces when they see Cid rushing out of the house, a bewildered look on his face.

"What's wrong honey?" Edea asks her husband while placing her hand on his upper arm.

"I received a message from Squall. It is about Quistis."

Ming and Seth share a distressed look.

"She is MIA."

Missing in action?

Minutes later everyone was seated across the large dining table, a sour look upon their faces. They realized it couldn't be a coincident they were brought back on the same days that Quistis went missing. Seth is playing with her fork, she is not hungry at all, and none of them are. Only Ayla is digging in her food and not in a proper way, she has spent too much time with her uncle Zell, which her father uses to tease him with. Ayla has no idea that the adults are tense; she is so focused on finishing her food so that she can finish her sandcastle together with Seth.

Ayla has no idea her mother is missing and the others intend to keep it that way.

"Hurry," Ayla points her spoon towards Seth with a big grin on her face.

When nobody reacts a frown appears on Ayla's face and she asks, "Is something wrong?"

Cid is the first to put a feign smile on his face. "There is nothing wrong sweetheart."

Ayla grabs Seth hand, intending to drag her along.

"Ayla," Edea warns, which makes her drop Seth's hands and she starts pouting.

"Seth will join you soon," Edea said while shooing Ayla away.

'Okay," Ayla shrugs her shoulders and walks outside. Grabbing her bucket which is lying on the porch, she turns around and shouts back in the house, "don't be late!" She runs to her sandcastle, filling her bucket with water on the way.

Edea watches her until she is safely playing on the beach, some distance from the ocean, before she returns inside. She takes her seat again and folds her hands in her lap. Her stomach is grumbling but she can't force anything through her throat.

"The Ragnarok will pick us up." Cid said quietly. "Selphie and Zell will come and take us to Esthar. They will be here in a few hours."

Esthar, the hyper bolic city. Seth doesn't know much about that city, except for what Kaim and Sarah had told her, both Kaim and Sarah had spend some time in the city. She remembered Sarah told her something about what happened in that city, about another Sorceress, a woman named Adel, but she can't remember any of the details. Seth was brought back out of her thoughts by Edea's soft voice.

"You know something," Edea unfolds her hands and places them on the table, drumming her fingers softly on the table.

Seth looked at her fellow immortals; they had agreed they wouldn't tell Cid and Edea about the dream, at least not yet. They still hadn't any proof that the dreams are real, Seth hopes this one isn't real. With only spending so little time with the small child she had already formed a band with her, almost as fast as she did with Tolten's child, the child that was named after her.

Nobody answers. They do know something and yet they don't know anything. Everyone is lost in their own thoughts; blank eyes stare at various objects. The whistle of the boiling kettle snaps everyone out of their daze. Edea puts the kettle from the stove and Seth walks out of the door, she had told that little girl that she would help her with her sandcastle and Seth is a woman true to her word.

 


 

Irvine is watching his friend closely, in the past ten years Seifer has become a good friend. After the whole Sorceress and Guardian issues and then his trial Seifer had slowly warmed up to them, and they to him. Irvine has to admit that most of it must have come from both Rinoa and Quistis; even Ellone had helped a lot. But now his apparent permanent scowl has returned on his face. Irvine couldn't blame him; he would have gone crazy if Selphie went missing.

When Kiros got the call from the Lunar Base he and Seifer had just returned from a mission in the Great Salt Lake. An Abandon had appeared again, or so a few eyewitnesses said, they were sent out to investigate and if necessary kill the Abandon. The eyewitnesses didn't lie, the monster did appear; only there wasn't one but there were five of them. Irvine had to radio for backup. He and Seifer could easily take care of one Abandon, even two they could handle but not five. With the backup Esthar send they had dealt with that problem in no time, but they couldn't figure out where the monsters came from. They went back to Esthar to report to Laguna and ask him what to do next when Kiros rushed in and told them about what happened near the Lunar Base.

The Thor has crashed outside the Lunar Base. Nida Jackson is badly wounded; the medics are working on him right now. Delia Neva, she is dead. And Quistis…Quistis is missing.

It took all of Irvine's strength to keep Seifer from doing something that he will regret later, to Laguna. He kept screaming about how he had sent her there, and now she was gone. Kiros tried to reason with him but to no avail. After Seifer had ranted for a while it was Ellone who was able to calm him down with a few words and a tight hug.

He grunted an apology to Laguna, he grabbed his coat and Irvine didn't need to guess where he was going. In the end Kiros and Irvine went with him, an Esthar soldier was driving them and the only sound in the car was the humming sound of the engine. Irvine wanted to comfort his friend but he didn't know how. He really wasn't the comforting type, that was where he had Selphie for, but Selphie was back in garden, does she know that one of her best friends is missing? Irvine wondered while he stared out of the window.

The last remaining of smoke was disappearing some distance away from the Lunar Base. Irvine could see the Thor; the cockpit was separated from the hull. All kind of wires and metal structures spread between the two halves.

How could anyone survive this? Well they almost didn't. His subconscious chided. One is dead, another is facing death and the last is missing.

In the Lunar Base they were brought up to speed, but it wasn't much, nor was any of it helpful. The Thor was having some kind of engine trouble; the researchers were checking the black box at the moment. Nida was found in the cockpit, cuts covered his arms and his face. He had internal bleedings and the medics had to operate immediately, they didn't have an update yet. Delia Neva was found dead with a knife plunged through her chest; she was lying in the engine room. Irvine thought she probable encountered whoever was messing with the engine, and she had to pay the highest price. There was however no trace of Quistis, it was as if she simply had disappeared into thin air. It reminded Irvine too much about what happened ten years ago, then Quistis too had disappeared, along with Ellone. Irvine is sure that Quistis can take care of herself in any situation, but still he will feel a lot better when he will see her again, and he certainly isn't the only one.

Waiting never has been, and will never be Seifer's style, but they can't do anything besides waiting. If they would help they would only be in the way, the researchers are capable of doing this on their own, and they don't need SeeD destroying the crime scene.

"Please stop pacing," Irvine pleaded. He was getting nervous seeing Seifer walk back and forth with that scowl on his face, "I´m sure Quisty is okay."

Seifer turned around sharply after hearing his wife's name. "You don't know," he points his finger angrily towards Irvine who backs away, he had never seen Seifer so angry before, "for all we know she could be…." Seifer couldn't finish his sentence, nor would Irvine or Kiros want to hear that ending.

She couldn't be dead, she was always the strongest one, maybe not physically but she was mentally. She helped everyone with their problems and didn't expect anything in return. She was the shoulder they always use to lean on, everyone has relied on Quistis for more than once.

Now she needed him to be there for Seifer, Irvine knows he has to keep an eye on Seifer before he will go and do something stupid he will regret later. He still has a daughter to think about, that made Irvine wonder, "What will you tell Ayla?"

"I don't know," Seifer slams his fist to the wall, a small piece of calk falls down the floor.

Irvine places his hand on Seifer's shoulder, "You are not alone. Everyone will help you in any way we can."

Seifer sighs. Turning around he stands with his back against the wall, his hand in his pocket and his eyes staring at his shoes.

Irvine stands next to him and together they wait for some news, anything that will help them to find Quistis.

 


 

 

Rinoa is standing on the balcony, she likes the feeling of the cold wind on her face. Trabian winds are the coldest but she doesn't even shiver. Since she lost her Sorcery powers she feels the emptiness inside of her, on some days it is worse than others but the gnawing feeling is always present. The cold helps her forget about that, and to forget that feeling for even a minute, she will do anything.

"What did he say?" She asks when she hears footsteps approaching, footsteps she knows by heart.

"He doesn't know much," Squall closes his jacket and walks over the threshold. He closes the door behind him and stands next to his wife. "Nida will be okay. They are going to transport him to the Estharian Hospital."

"Thank Hyne," Rinoa whispers. In the last few years Nida had become a good friend of her. He was even trying to teach her how to fly the Ragnarok, he had the patience Selphie lacked to teach her.

"Delia Neva is murdered."

Rinoa turns her head and is shocked to hear that. She knew Delia was dead, but murdered? "How?"

"A knife was edged in her chest, that probably killed her," Squall places his hands on the railing and stares towards the Trabian Mountain range. "We don't know for sure until the coroner confirmed it."

"And Quistis?" That was the most important detail she wants to know, but she dreads the answer. She couldn't be dead, she simply couldn't.

"They found no trail of her."

Rinoa pulls her blue coat tighter around her, not because of the cold outside but because of the cold feeling in the pit of her stomach. "Nothing?"

Squall shakes his head.

"How is Seifer?"

"You know him better than I do, how do you think he is?" He didn't mean to sound so harsh, but this whole situation was just too frustrating. At moments like this he wished he wasn't the commander of Garden.

Rinoa knows Squall didn't mean it in the way he said it, he too is concerned about Quistis. Even about Seifer. In the last ten year they had slowly become friends, they aren't the kind of friends who will hang out together and enjoy a glass of beer but in the training aspect they are the best of friends. When neither is too busy they will train in the training centre together. Most of the time they can be found sparring, with a large group of students gathered around them. And when Zell and Irvine are around you can be sure a lot of betting is taken place, something Xu isn't all too happy about. Thinking about her Rinoa asks, "Have you told Xu?"

"I have," Squall places his hands in his pocket, the railing too cold for him to lean onto. "She has almost finished her business, she will be ready when we arrive." Xu had been in Trabia Garden for the last two months, and her business wasn't finished yet, she told Squall she couldn't make it to Esthar for their anniversary, but this changed everything. Now she wasn't only acting as the commander, but also as a friend. She told him the headmaster of Trabia would understand.

"I am glad." Rinoa is glad to hear that. The slightly older woman isn't really a friend of her, both their stubborn personalities don't mix well, but Xu is a close friend to Quistis and for both their friendship with her they at least act civil around each other. Their 'friendship' did improve after the babysitting incident. Together the two women were forced to baby-sit Ayla, she was only three months old at the time. It shouldn't really be a problem for them, but when there was an emergency breach, although it was false, all the doors went into lock down and they were stuck with a very hungry and loud crying baby. They had to work together and during those hours they gained a lot more respect for each other.

"I´m worried."

Rinoa waits for Squall to continue, she wants to hear what he thinks, of course she can guess it already, she is worried about the same things, but even after being together for almost ten years and married for seven, Squall is sometimes still having trouble expressing himself, especially when one of their family is in trouble.

"First Cid called that they are back-"

Kaim, Sarah, Ming and even Seth have returned. She was in Squall's office when he got that call, shock was clearly written on his face. At first Rinoa was happy for the chance to see them again but it didn't take long for something clicked in her mind, they couldn't be back without a reason, but what could it be?

"-then dad called about the accident with the Thor."

The phone calls where just minutes apart and Rinoa knew it wasn't a coincident that it all happens on the same day, even within the hour. Squall had to call Cid and Edea to tell them their daughter was missing. It was hard for Squall, he was struggling for words, and they weren't the only he had to tell. Selphie and Zell had just returned from Balamb. When Zell is stationed in Balamb he will go and see his Ma at least once a week, when he goes one of them usually will go with him, Selphie was free that day so she went with him. She can still clearly see how their happy faces turn to sadness and to anger.

Leaning back on the railing Squall confesses, "I don't know what to do."

Rinoa walks behind Squall and places her arms around his middle, "Listen to your heart," her left hand moves over his heart and she can feel his steady heartbeat. She rests her right cheek on his back, "Always follow your heart," she whispers.

Squall places his hands atop of Rinoa's. Together they remain standing on the balcony. Trabia Garden is already visible in the distance.

Two hours later they had reached Trabia, in the last ten years its population had grown, a whole town was built around the Garden. Trabia Garden is more than just a military facility these days, there is an orphanage with a school for the really young ones and the older children can either enroll in SeeD or learn for something else.

The eternal snow is crunching under their boots, thankfully this is one of those few days the snow isn't falling, and even the sun is trying its hardest to shine through the clouds.

At the entrance of the town Xu is already waiting for them, with her are two Trabian SeeD and the Headmaster, David Winters.

Squall and Rinoa approach them, Rinoa stands back slightly and Squall walks forward to shake David Winters' hand.

"I am sorry about the SeeD you lost, and with Quistis missing-" David Winter shakes his head sadly, he knew Quistis personally. A few years ago they had worked closely together to improve Trabia's teaching level. "If there is anything I can do to help you, let me know."

"I appreciate that," Squall puts his hands back in his pocket and gives Xu a tiny nod. "I will keep you posted."

"Thank you." The headmaster moved back towards the Garden but not before saying, "Good luck."

The two SeeD follow behind him and in no time they are out of sight.

We are going to need that, Rinoa cannot help but think.

Xu grabs her backpack and walks towards Balamb Garden. "Any news?" She asks when she walks next to Squall and Rinoa.

Squall shakes his head. "Not yet, Irvine is supposed to call back in another hour." Walking in the warm halls of his home Squall shrugs his coat off. "Zell and Selphie will be at the Orphanage soon, they will report back when they are on route to Esthar."

"Okay," Xu nods her head. "I am going to drop my stuff and I will meet you in your office."

Xu didn't wait for an answer but rushes towards her room.

It was quit in the hallways, it was dinnertime and most SeeDs and students can be found in the cafeteria. Although neither of them feel like eating, especially in the cafeteria, they still need to eat something. "I will grab something to eat," Rinoa announces and gives Squall a quick kiss on his lips. "I'll be back soon." A forced smile is on her face while she makes her way towards the cafeteria.

 


 

 

Rocks and sand as far as the eye can see, that is what Zell has been staring at for the last half hour. He couldn't understand how such a perfect day could go so wrong. Just this morning he had been fishing with Selphie and they had caught a bunch of them. They had taken the fish with them to his Ma and she had made the most delicious fish dishes since he can remember. They were just starting on their desert, a nice slice of apple pie, when his phone started ringing. Hearing Squall's voice he immediately knew something was wrong, Squall had hung up immediately, Selphie had looked at Zell worriedly, and she could tell something was wrong.

They thanked his mother for the lunch and made their way back towards Garden as fast as they could. When they arrived at Garden the Ragnarok was ready for takeoff, Rinoa stood at the docking platform and told them Quistis was missing. After the shock had faded away she had told them they were to dispatch Edea, Cid and their guest. When Selphie had asked her about the guest Rinoa had told them who were back. They didn't need to know more, Selphie ran into the Ragnarok, shooing all the other SeeDs out of her way. The pre-flight check had already being taken care off and as soon as Zell said goodbye to Rinoa and was inside Selphie flew away, Zell barely was able to buckle himself in before they were lifted in the air.

The entire flight they just sat there in silence, both of them lost in their own thoughts, mostly thinking about their friend.

Zell steals a glance to Selphie and he sees she is gripping the steel wheel so tightly her knuckles have turned white. "Relax," he said while touching her arm lightly.

"I can't," Selphie said but she does loosen the grip on the wheal a bit. "I keep thinking about Quistis and it makes me so mad." With one hand she slams the steering wheel and the Ragnarok makes a sharp turn to the right.

"Oops."

Selphie corrects the Ragnarok and they are flying smoothly again. Realizing she almost made a fatal mistake she puts the Ragnarok on auto-pilot as she leans back in her chair.

Releasing the breath he had been holding, he never could get use to Selphie's piloting skills, he too leans back in his chair. "I feel the same." He looks to his right and he can see Selphie's bright green eyes staring at him.

"I feel so helpless. We don't know anything, she could be-" Selphie gulps "-dead."

Zell knows that it is possible, but he doesn't believe that, Quistis is stronger than that. He holds out his right hand and Selphie grabs it with her left. The only support the two friends have right now.

"And what about Ayla?" Selphie's grip tightens on Zell's hand, but he doesn't care. "And Seifer."

"We will help them in any way we can," Zell reassures her. "But I know we will find Quistis, you'll see."

"I hope you are right Zell" Selphie gives Zell's hand a final squeeze before she puts her hands back on the steering wheel, adjusting their course. "I really do."

Me too.

Zell looks back outside to see the same landscape again, rocks and sand. He is glad to see Cid and Edea, but not under those circumstances. It was less than a week before their big party, everyone would be there, he hadn't seen Ellone in such a long time, but now he wished it would be another few days before he would see her again. Thinking about her makes him remember that her mother is back, that's right, her mother is back. "But how were they able to return?"

"Who?"

Zell didn't realize he spoke the last part out loud. "The Immortals," he explained, "they told us they couldn't return, and now they are here, on the same day Quistis disappeared."

"I know, I thought about that too," Selphie makes a few final adjustments and she puts the Ragnarok back on auto-pilot pilot. "I don't believe in coincidence, there must be a reason why they are back."

Zell nods his head and Selphie continues.

"I can't help it, but I have this feeling that all of this is connected." She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

It must be connected, but we won't know until we have all the answers. And the first ones we have to ask is about them, although I doubt they know why they are back, Rinoa told us they were as confused as we are.

The shrill beeping from the consul announces that they have reached their destination. Selphie takes control of the Ragnarok again and she parks the ship smoothly to the ground, not too far away from the Orphanage.

Cid stands at the entrance, he is clearly waiting for them. He gives both of them a fatherly hug and urges them not to tell anything to Ayla. They weren't planning on telling her anything, Cid had explained to her that they would go to Esthar a few days early because of their guests. Ayla had been all too happy to see her parents again.

"Hey squirm," Selphie greets Ayla who runs into her arms. Selphie lifts her to her chest and places a kiss on her forehead. Edea walks behind her and gives Selphie a kiss of her own, even Zell received a kiss on his cheek. Ayla was chatting happily away with Selphie.

The four Immortals follow behind them. They exchange quiet hellos and they make their way inside the Ragnarok. Cid and Edea show them the guestrooms.

Zell takes his place in the co-pilots seat again and Selphie lifts Ayla in his lap. Zell buckles them both in, before Selphie flies away. Zell is trying to entertain the little girl on his lap, but his mind wonders back to the girl's mother. Selphie is a great help, when Ayla is near her Selphie always is back to her sunny self again, no matter how sad, depressed or anger she is, she always puts a real smile on her face when she sees Ayla. But he has no clue about how she does it now.

Ayla is squealing and laughing happily at all the clouds they pass, Selphie soft laughter sounds almost real.

Almost.

 


 

 

The phone had been ringing a few times already before Laguna realized it was his phone that was ringing. Moving some papers from his desk he grabs the phone, his hands are shaking so wildly he drops it. When he finally put the phone to his ears he said, "Hello?"

"Laguna-"

Laguna had been waiting for this phone call, he sits upright and listens closely "Yes."

"I have arranged a transport for SeeD Nida Jackson, he is stable and ready to be transported to our hospital. He hasn't regained consciousness yet-"

Laguna was glad to hear Nida would be okay, he felt terrible about Quistis and the other SeeD. He was the one who requested them, and so he was partly to blame, at least that was what he thought.

"SeeD Delia Neva has indeed been murdered, we think it is the work of a professional, the knife was stabbed in exactly the right place to kill her instantly. She was dead before the Thor crashed-"

How that was possible he doesn't know, there were only three people on the Thor. Nida couldn't have killed her, he was in the cockpit while the plane crashed. That leaves Quistis, but Quistis wouldn't kill her, he is sure of that. Was there someone else on the plane?

"We found nothing that can tell us what happened with Quistis, Dr. Odine will be here shortly, we hope we will know more by then."

So he didn't know more than he did an hour ago, damn. "Thanks Kiros."

"Irvine will travel with Nida, he will call you when he wakes up. Seifer and I will wait for Odine-"

He wasn't sure if it was a good idea to have both Seifer and Dr. Odine in the same room, especially know that Seifer is angry like hell.

"How is Ellone?"

Ellone was still troubled with the dream she had, but she wouldn't tell anything to him. At first he didn't believe it, he can still recall what he had said to her last night. "But you don't dream! You haven't dreamed in ten years and now you have a nightmare?" Ellone hadn't dreamed in ten years, not once since she had given up her powers. But she was so sure of herself when she told him Quistis was in trouble and he had reassured her that nothing was wrong. He felt so bad when he found out how wrong had he been. Sitting on the sofa in his office Ellone has a book in her hands, but Laguna doubts that she reads anything. "Fine."

Kiros can hear clearly through that lie but he doesn't mention it.

"I will call you in another hour. Kiros out."

Laguna hopes with all his heart they will know more by then, Quistis is like a daughter to him. He thinks of all of them as his children, he thinks it is quite ironic that this group of orphans have more parents then a non-orphan does.

Laguna puts down his phone when he hears a thud. Laguna looks to the source of it and sees that Ellone has dropped her book. He stands up abruptly, his chair falls backwards on the soft carpet, and he runs to Ellone. When he reaches her he sees that she is breathing evenly, asleep. He hopes that this time it is a dreamless sleep and he grabs a blanket and covers her with it. He takes a seat on the end of the sofa and releases the breath he didn't know he was holding.

The doors to his office swing open and Ward walks inside, when he sees that Ellone is asleep he walks silently towards Laguna.

'It has all been taken care off.'

Laguna had asks Ward to prepare the rooms for the guest that will arrive, even though Balamb Garden will be near Esthar he knows all of them want to be close to each other, and the only place they can be is in his presidential palace. "Thanks Ward."

Ward walks to the large windows, Laguna never understood why but Ward loves to just look outside this window and enjoy the view, after staring out of that window for years Ward knows every little detail about this city.

Laguna closes his eyes, it had been a rough day. After having been roughly woken up in the middle of the night by Ellone's screaming he hadn't slept anymore. In no time Laguna snoring was heard next to Ellone's soft snores.

Wards big hand clasped on his shoulder woke Laguna up.

'They're here.' Ward signed to him.

Laguna rubs the sleep out of his eyes and glances towards Ellone, doubting if he should wake her or not. He decides that he will wake her, she will be quit mad if Laguna doesn't, and it is her mother who is among the guest. He shakes her shoulders softly. "Ellone, wake up."

Yawning Ellone opens her eyes. "Hmmm, what?" she asks with a rough voice.

"Your mother is here."

Ellone's eyes light up immediately. "She is?"

Laguna nods his head, he is glad to see Ellone this happy.

"Let's go," Ellone almost shouted while she grabs Laguna's hand and drags him along.

Some things never changes.

The walk towards the airport Laguna is short and from some distance they can already see the Ragnarok. The fiery red dragon still makes his heart beat a little faster.

The doors of the airport open and his friends and family are walking in silence towards them. Ayla is running far ahead of them. Laguna drops down on his knees and spread his arms, Ayla runs into his arms and he lifts her high in the sky.

"Grandpa, stop." Ayla giggled when Laguna whirls her around.

Laguna puts Ayla back on the ground and the little girl demands for Ward to lift her up, which he can't refuse even if he wants to.

Laguna welcomes everyone and Ward and Selphie lead them towards the presidential suite. Kaim stands next to Laguna with his arms crossed.

"Dad. How are you?" It is strange to see his father who looks younger than he is, although it looks he has aged some, he is sure to ask him about that later.

"I could ask you the same."

His father has never been the real talkative type, the apple never falls far from the tree, and he certainly wasn't one for small talk.

"You want to know why we are back," Kaim continued.

"That would be a start," Laguna signals his father to follow him. While everybody else rides with the hovercrafts back to the suites he takes the long way with his father, on foot.

"We had nothing to do with it, we don't know why or how we are brought back," Kaim put a hand on his sword, the feeling of cold steel is always a comfort for him. "The disappearing of the Blue Mage, our return to this world, somehow it is all connected."

That's what I thought, but he didn't say that out loud, he didn't need to.

Laguna shows his father the guest rooms, everyone was taking a moment for themselves. They would wait for the others before they would discuss what they will do next, what they can do.

Laguna walks to his office, he still has some work to do, but he knows he won't be able to concentrate on any of it.

Ring, ring.

Absentminded Laguna picks up the phone, "Kiros?"

"No, it is Irvine-"

A lot of sounds are coming from Irvine's side of the line.

"Nida has regained conscious-"

Laguna is playing with a pen in his hand, ticking it on the table nervously.

"-he saw who killed Delia Neva."