Final Fantasy VIII

Pupu's Saga
By Captain Peri [ 03-03-01 ]

"I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move."

-Tennyson, Alfred, Lord
Ulysses 18

Dramatis Persona Hominis




Jeremy Chapter
Red Line
Luke Irons


Extended Foreword:

Everything belongs to Squaresoft, Inc., not to me, unless I made it up.

This fanfiction picks up right where the game ends. If it interferes time wise with any other fan fic, just treat the celebration at the beginning of the story as some other party that SeeD throws after Squall goes through Time Compression again to kill some other sorceress named Ultimecia during which Rinoa kisses Squall one more time because they both see another shooting star, during which Laguna, Ward, Kiros, and Ellone all just happen to be in Winhill again. If you know already who Laguna's son is, then Setting 1 is not essential to the plot and can be skipped. This fan fic has many allusions to Final Fantasy 8 and 9, some of which are pretty profound. Those that have not explored the world of Final Fantasy 8 as thoroughly as others might miss some subtle clues while those that have explored the world too thoroughly can guess half the plot out right. Stuff that I made up wasn't meant to be corny, corny as it might be. It is also a tedious reading until the tempo picks up in Setting 11 or so. Skipping to Setting 11 would ruin many of the hints incorporated into every Setting. Setting 8 was especially long and tedious (10 even more so), and I'm sorry for ever writing them. If you can get through that, I salute you. I don't promise the perfect story, but I'm warning you how big a commitment you have to make to finish this beast. It focuses mainly of Squall, his regular groups (minus Rinoa), and two new characters, Faeyre and Red Line. I tried to keep the number of Settings focused on characters from the older generation and Seifer to a minimum. Luke, Jeremy, Arla, and Mina are other additions I've taken the liberty to make. Raine Ishida (nanaki_17@hotmail.com) has a sequel to my saga and the idea of Mina belongs to her.

I realized that the length of this 58-Setting story (465+ single-spaced pages) would deter most fans from reading it, while even fewer would ever finish reading. In order to boost the interest and preserve the incentive to keep reading, I've begged the assistance of very talented artists two whom I shall give due and grateful credit for their pieces for each chapter. I tried a little humor in each Setting with the characters. Please excuse me if what they say is not what you would have liked to hear. I was just tired of reading countless stories of Seifer being a menace to society or Seifer's sudden change of heart. I can't take any more mushy, too-perfect romance between Squall and Rinoa. I couldn't stand Cid's being able to chew Squall out after he saved the world. I haven't seen too many people use GFs as more than just weapons of war in their stories (the exception being Kate Lorraine's "The Claiming of Shiva" in which she incorporates lines like, "Oh, [Shiva] wanted this one. This one, she had to make her own."). I don't think Rinoa's new sorceress powers are that fun to read about. I'm mad at all the fan fics that leave the reader hanging and never get finished, especially with so many people, like myself, who have already beaten FF9 in Japanese. I think Ultimecia's return or the repeat of the Lunar Cry is unoriginal. I hope to fix all this if you give me the chance. If the story happens to bore, disgust, offend, or annoy you in any way, don't tell me about it because I don't want to know. If you want another story, or a sequel perhaps, drop a line with any fictitious character names you would like to see incorporated in it, or any fresh ideas.

Prologue: 1220 DAY 0, Alcaud Plains around Balamb

"A savage race, that hoard, and sleep, and feed… know not me.
I cannot rest from travel."

-Tennyson, Alfred, Lord
Ulysses 5

{Elixir} Pathetic plea.
{Elixir} Pathetic plea.
{ need an Elixir} Self-evident declaration.
{Help me}! Punctuated despair and pathetic plea.
{Anyone have an Elixir}? Rhetorical question and wishful thinking
{Please help me} Pathetic plea and self-evident futility
{…} Pause and resumption
{My poor feet} Plaintive self-pity
{…} Pause and resumption
{…}? Awareness and interest
{…}! Sudden realization and flood of jubilance
{There is Balamb Garden}! Second and self-evident declaration
{…} Self-reassurance and calmness
{There is someone coming}! Awareness and suspicion
{Who is there}? Nonspecifically directed interrogative
{Squall}? Quasi-specifically directed interrogative and wishful thinking
{Squall}! Reckless presumption and exuberance
{Is that you}? Quasi-specifically directed interrogative
{Hey, Squall} Relation-creative-purposive address and wavering certainty
{…} Pause and closer inspection
{…}! Awareness and corollary certainty
{Squall, are you there}? Quasi-specifically directed interrogative, extended presumption, uncertainty, and incipient inquietude
{Heavens}! Awareness and reflex panic
{Help me, someone}! Nonspecifically directed imperative directive, growing panic, and wishful thinking
{Squall}! Reflex defensive assertion and specifically directed, imbedded directive
{Please, no} Plaintive plea, specifically directed, elliptical imperative directive, deplorable capitulation, and fear
{Please} Plaintive plea, specifically directed, imperative directive, and unmitigated fear
{NO}! Awareness, plaintive plea, specifically directed, elliptical imperative directive and recoil

Setting 01: 1427 DAY 1, Winhill Cemetery

"This is my son… When I am gone. He works his work, I mine."

-Tennyson, Alfred, Lord
Ulysses 33

"Well, I'm here now, and I probably should have come here a lot more often than I have, this being the first time, so I'm sorry."

Laguna Loire snapped his fingers to pass the time, unsure if what he said was coherent and clueless about what to say next. He'd never seen his wife's burial marker before, much less talk to it, and he was trying his hardest to keep a smile on his face. What he really wanted to do was plop down right there and beg for Raine's forgiveness.

"This actually isn't an awkward situation at all," he lied, "I can almost see you there looking skeptical. So, if it's okay with you, I'm going to rehearse what the one dialogue that I've always imagined that I would have with you once I saw you again." He stopped to think about what he just said before struggling to rephrase himself, "Of course I won't be saying your lines out loud cause you'll be saying them in my head, but it'll work, I think."

Taking a deep breath, Laguna tried to make some excuses, even though he knew there was no point. And yet, somehow, he was comforted by the fact that had Raine been standing there, she wouldn't have minded regardless. She would have stood there silently with that understanding, sympathetic smile, ready to laugh at him lightly and let him off the hook. Yes, he could see her standing there now, doing exactly that. It loosened him up a bit, but it also made him wish that she would just get angry at him, start calling him names, cursing at him, or beating him… anything to let him know how she really felt.

It was getting harder and harder to keep up that smile. He realized at that moment that the coldest words were what Raine didn't say. She would never chastise him even if she were still alive. But now it was too late to hear her utter even a single word.

On the verge of cracking, it seemed like a good idea to change the subject. He thought about going off the script and talking about something that might not make him feel so guilty, but nothing came to mind. Then he remembered that he could always talk about their son whom he was sure Raine would be curious about. Yet, he was determined to save that topic for last.

Unable to come up with anything fast, Laguna could feel himself becoming more and more nervous. He even caught himself antsily tugging on the tails of his unbuttoned dress shirt and swaying back and forth. He kicked himself for not rehearsing it more times before actually coming, but it was too late for that now. Now he shook his head in disgust.

"Looks like I've botched another one, Raine," he confessed finally, trying to joke about it with a quick, exaggerated frown. He imagined Raine rolling her eyes, imitating that silly frown, and shaking her head, once again absolving him. He wanted so bad to have her throw daggers at him with her eyes.

"Laguna, you loser, you can't even make a figment of your imagination get angry at you," he scolded himself.

Raine chuckled and playfully kicked some dirt onto his shoes. Then she tried to mimic his swaying motion, which was making her dizzy.

This is embarrassing, he thought to himself, scratching his head.

"Can you tell me that I'm horrible, that I don't deserve to live?" he asked her.

Raine placed her index finger against her closed lips, shaking her head.

"I'm serious," he entreated, trying again.

She humorously covered her ears and pretended not to hear him.

"Well, fine then, be that way," Laguna conceded, slightly irritated at getting beaten in an argument with a speechless spirit.

Raine stuck her tongue out at him and pushed him lightly with the meanest face she could put on. It didn't look very mean to Laguna, and he told her so. Her features softened a bit, not expecting her husband to be so straightforward.

Laguna finally gathered his thoughts and enough courage to spew out clumsily, "I know it wasn't fair of me to leave you like I did, but that doesn't make it right for you to leave before I can say that I'm sorry. This was one time that you never gave me the chance to pay for my mistake."

That was what he wanted to say all along, how he felt on the inside, both guilty and cheated. In retaliation, Raine did her best to pull off a mischievous snicker.

"Why did you leave me?" he asked a little bit louder. He could feel the anger boiling inside him, giving him enough strength to press her more forcefully with his questions. "What was it? Was it a disease, something natural, or was it me? It was me, wasn't it? Tell me."

Before Laguna had finished his last question, Raine had picked up three rocks lying by her epitaph and begun to juggle them, finding them more interesting than her husband's whining.

"Stop that," he said, trying to swat away the imaginary stones, not realizing how idiotic he looked to any third person.

Raine wasn't listening now, surprising herself with how many stones she could keep in the air. It was way more entertaining than Laguna's confession, she decided. Laguna was shaking involuntarily because he was mad at her for not listening and at himself for getting mad at a dead person when he was the one at fault. He calmed himself, realizing that this was exactly what Raine wanted… an angry Laguna who wanted to project the guilt and shift the blame. She wanted to protect him from feeling as if he had wronged her, even if that meant making herself seem so heartless. "I'll stay in Winhill until you want me to go then," he suggested.

For the first time, Raine looked concerned. She shook her head, signaling to Laguna that he didn't have to do that.

Laguna realized that this was her weakness. She wanted him to stay, but didn't want to say it, just like she didn't want him to stay in her little town because of her. He wasn't doing this for the pleasure of watching Raine grow worried, though, but because he wouldn't be able to forgive himself if he left Winhill again so suddenly. He owed that much to her, and seeing how disconcerted she was, as well as knowing her nature of always letting him off easy, he knew he was doing the right thing by making that promise.

At any rate, she might have married him so she wouldn't have to listen to him beg her again and again to reconsider. Perhaps she was banking on his long vacation all long as a reprieve from all his droning. Had she known that he would have come back to whine after she was dead, she never would have agreed to marry him.

"I won't leave you. I never should have," he added.

Unexpectedly, Raine let all the rocks she was juggling drop, visibly moved by his discovery and decision.

"I don't know what else to say except I'm sorry," he admitted, lowering his head.

Raine tried to comfort him with her puppy-dog look, walked over next to him, and caressed his cheek before retreating to her original spot.

"I guess we were both lucky that Squall is that strong," Laguna brought up suddenly, making sure to get it over with before he forgot. "I tried my best to take care of him, but he turned out all right on his own. Very independent, doesn't need anyone's help."

Raine looked confused, but Laguna was too caught up with his praises to notice.

"I mean, he grew up with all that opposition, but he never let it get to him. It's great that he doesn't concern himself with what other people think of him. Tries not to listen to anyone who tries to give him any garbage about his not being able to take care of himself or making the wrong decision. Squall understands himself and knows when he's right, and that's what counts. Doesn't want anyone else to distract him from that. Pretty strong, huh? Always trusts himself to make the right decisions and take care of everything personally-"

Raine was waving for Laguna to stop. She was totally lost, and regardless to whomever her husband was raving about, he didn't seem to be living a healthy life.

"You know, our son. Squall? The big success?" Laguna picked up, thinking her interruption was another joke.

Raine looked stunned, making it abundantly clear that he had better not die any time soon because she was going to make him pay for choosing such a dumb name.

Laguna held up his hands in defense, stammering, "I-I t-thought you named him, because I sure as hell didn't."

The realization that Ellone named their son hit them at the same time. The look on Raine's face spelled out that Ellone would do well not to die before her godmother's wrath subsided, as she would surely pay for choosing such a dumb name.

Laguna rubbed his chin and asked, "You didn't name him in all that time?"

Raine shot him a "don't-push-me" look.

"Okay, okay," he said quickly, and shifted the subject back to Ellone, "What did you expect her to name him?"

Raine made a "duh" face and mouthed, "Cloud."

"I'll get even with her for you, sweetie. I'll name her son Irvine or something stupid like that," Laguna offered.

Raine nearly doubled over laughing.

Encouraged by her propitious reaction, Laguna took that chance to say that from what he had heard, Squall had turned out just like him.

His wife was unimpressed, thinking to herself, "I thought you said he was a success." Instead of telling him that, though, she smiled tactfully, took a step forward, and gestured with a wave over his face for him to close his eyes.

Laguna closed them, but he could still see as if they were open. He was able to see the bright afternoon change into night, and all the stars lighting up against the dark velvet above. Looking down, he scowled in dismay as the grave marker vanished before his eyes. His brown slacks turned into black army pants, and his shirt into the sporty blue vest that he had worn when he was young.

"What did you want to talk to me about?" rang a familiar voice from behind him.

Laguna knew who that voice belonged to before he spun around. It was the same one which he had longed to hear for nearly two decades, but he was too amazed by this new development to lift Raine in the air. It was déja vue for he had seen all this somewhere before. He looked through every memory he had with Raine before he realized that she was replaying for him that sentimental scenario in which he proposed to her. Astonished as he was, Laguna allowed himself to relive the moment, enjoying the miracle without questioning how it was possible that they could go through the entire sequence again: he turns around, not sure how to pop the question, waving her off and telling her to forget it; she runs over and pulled his arm, asking him to stay; he swings around, grabs her hand, and fits her finger with a gold ring; she looks at him questioningly; he shows her the gold ring on his own finger and watches as her quizzical countenance melts smoothly into a heart-wrenching, near-whimpering smile; and finally they share the seemingly eternal embrace that made all his consternation about the proposition seem worthwhile.

Laguna's feet were numb by the time this awesome experience was over and he had to make an effort not to collapse as night turned back into day. Once again he was in the present, staring at her marker, shocked that the illusion had vanished so quickly. He couldn't see Raine anymore, but some way or another, Laguna felt as if she was right there beside him, providing the same comfort.

"Uncle Laguna!"

Having grown accustomed to the unbroken tranquility of Winhill for the past twenty minutes, Laguna's eardrums were nearly shattered by Ellone's soft but nevertheless splitting voice. For an instant Laguna was almost glad that Raine had left since Ellone would surely have been toast had she arrived a few seconds earlier.

There she was, Squall's "big sister," green scarf and all, trying to make her way down the grassy hill without spraining her dainty ankles. She waved in her usual blinding splendor so innocently that even Laguna had to gawk before grinning and raising his head in acknowledgement.

On the summit behind Ellone he could see Kiros and Ward. Kiros pointed at something behind Laguna. Just a short distance away, the brilliant Balamb Garden drew near, skipping from hill to hill.

Laguna stood up, feeling a sense of pride swell in him with the knowledge that the craft carried a true hero, his son. He almost felt giddy. I can't believe he's really mine! And auspiciously, Raine was there to see it.

Setting 02: 1458 DAY 1, Winhill Outskirts

"Down stage he strode some paces,
grave, tall in affliction, his long arms outheld.
Hoarsely the apple of his throat hoarsed softly.
Softly he sang to a dusty seascape there: A Last Farewell.
A headland, a ship, a sail upon the billows.
Farewell. A lovely girl, her veil awave
upon the wind upon the headland, wind around her."

-Joyce, James
Ulysses II

"This place must have a plethora of sentimental value, Ellone," Kiros said, "otherwise I don't think he would be so determined to stay here."

"I've never seen Uncle Laguna so fired up and decisive before, Mr. Kiros," Ellone commented.

Kiros considered it and gave Ward a knowing look.

"Neither have we," was the consensus.

Ellone looked at Ward and giggled.

"No one knew on the White SeeD ship, Mr. Ward," Ellone asked, "but how did you lose your ability to speak?"

Ward was anything but offended by the question. He pointed back in the direction of Winhill, almost out of view.

Kiros did not mince words in his explanation, "Your uncle pushed us off a cliff."

Ellone gasped in amusement, "That simple, huh? No offense, Mr. Ward."

Ward shrugged good-naturedly. He considered himself lucky. Befriending Laguna meant taking risks. It could have been worse, say for instance had Laguna actually tried to save him with one of his hair-brained ideas, he surely would have lost more than his tongue.

They had stopped and were waiting for the Esthar ship. It was actually carrying a full load, but the pilots could not turn down the request of three presidential aides. What Ellone didn't understand was how Esthar was okay with doing without their president for a week or two. Then she considered the possibility that all he did was put his signature on a few papers every day for tradition's sake and for the bureaucracy. As long Kiros and Ward were there, Esthar would be fine. Ellone frowned, recalling something her uncle told her.

"Was this during your escape from Lunatic Pandora?" she asked.

Both Kiros and Ward nodded.

"Uncle Laguna told me that he held off forty guards to give you two a chance to make it down a side path while he had to eventually make the suicide dive himself," Ellone said earnestly.

Kiros and Ward exchanged looks. They were used to Laguna's lunacies, but they had never heard this version of their escape before. Ward broke into uncontrollable laughter while Kiros made a disgusted "psssh" sound.

Kiros took Ellone aside and said gently, "Now Ellone, your Uncle Laguna has a tendency to exaggerate when he tells his stories… either that or he hit his head on the way down."

"Oh," Ellone murmured, "which part?"

Kiros thought about it and replied, "Not much, just that part about holding off forty guards by himself, then covering our escape, and that last bit about making the jump himself."

""Uncle Laguna wouldn't do that!" Ellone exclaimed.

"We're talking about the same uncle of yours, Laguna Loire, right?" he asked, just to make sure.

Ellone saw Kiros' point.

"What weapon did he say he used?" Kiros pressed on, interested by Laguna's embellishment of the truth.

Ellone blinked.

"I thought you knew," she answered, "he was using his bare hands."

She turned to look at Ward who seemed to her like he was choking on something.

"No, seriously," she cried, "he gave his gun to you guys in case you ran into any monsters on the way down. How thoughtful of him."

Kiros said exactly what was on Ward's mind, "Yeah, all three seconds of the way down."

Ellone finally saw the truth, but was adamant on preserving Laguna's integrity.

"There has to be something good about him… why else would Raine marry him?"

"More likely he probably had something on her and coerced her to marry him through blackmail," Ward thought to himself.

"He's probably getting old," Ellone tried in desperation.

Kiros snickered.

"Laguna acts your age," he pointed out, "but at least he made this holographic message for us to give to Squall. I'll transfer it to Balamb Garden with the Esthar transport's antenna as soon as it picks us up."

"I hope he found something nice to say," Ellone said.

The unadded "and that it's coherent" was understood by all three.

"I bet it runs something cheesy, like, 'So, how's the weather, son? I'm your father now, so if you want to change your last name, son, you can,'" Kiros added in afterthought.

Ellone scowled, saying her uncle wasn't that corny.

Kiros suggested that the trip into space might have stressed Ellone out more than they thought, so she punched him. Ward pointed at the holovid, suggesting that they take a quick peek. This Ellone was against, but even she was a little curious.

"How about just the first few seconds, before they can get into any of the private talk?" Kiros suggested.

Ellone could live with that, so Kiros typed in the password that Laguna knew Squall would eventually guess right, LOIRE. A miniature version of Laguna appeared, scratching his head and shifting his balance from leg to leg, unsure of what to say.

"So, how's the weather, son? I'm your father now, so if you want to change your last name, son, you can," Laguna mumbled.

Kiros was laughing so hard that he dropped the holovid, which shut off automatically.

Suddenly their attention was turned to someone coughing in the bushes behind them. Kiros moved aside some shrubbery and saw a lady collapsed in the tall grass. He checked her pulse rate and breathing.

"She's dying. Definitely needs medical treatment immediately. Even a Blood Soul couldn't inflict this many status defects. Perhaps an advanced stage Malboro-BTR poisoning. Nothing like I've ever seen before. She must have been addicted to it for a long time," Kiros concluded, knowing that it was impossible for any doctor in Winhill to furnish the technology needed to save this lady.

"What is a Blood Soul, Mr. Kiros?" Ellone asked, paling.

"An undead monster. Just some skeletal fish that floats around in the air. There are a lot of them around Winhill, but I'm sure even this kind of poisoning is beyond its ability."

"And you make this assessment based on what kind of experience?" Ellone inquired slowly.

"Five years in the Pan-Galbadia Medical School Gold Class and a surgeon's degree summa cum laude," Kiros replied, still checking her vital signs.

Ellone whistled, raising her eyebrows.

Ward nodded, remembering how Kiros had once told him that familiarity with the anatomy of various creatures made him so much more efficient a killer, knowing all the vital parts at which to strike first.

And he's good with those daggers too. Sort of like super-sized scalpels, Ward reflected.

"Hey, look!" Ellone exclaimed, pointing at the Esthar ship appearing over the horizon and speeding towards them.

Kiros looked at Ellone and said, "Don't even think about it, there is no room for a fourth passenger with that full load."

Ellone considered the situation. It was essential that Kiros and Ward return to the control room, and this lady definitely needed help. Ellone herself was the only one who didn't really have to make it back on the first flight.

"She can have my spot," she told Kiros. "Just call ahead for another ship to come and get me in five minutes."

Kiros nodded, and then added, "We should notify her family."

He turned to the sick women and tried to find out where she lived. Ellone doubted that she could hear him, so she checked the woman's pockets.

There were no identification cards like those they had in Esthar; Winhill was too small a place for any need of that. However, besides a pack of green Malboro baby tentacle cigarettes, Ellone did manage to dig out a pair of keys. Seeing them, she put her hand on Kiros' shoulder and told him he didn't have to ask the woman anymore. Kiros gave her a questioning look.

"I recognize these keys," she said softly. "This one locks up the bar, and the other one our rooms."

Kiros lifted his eyebrows, thinking, "What luck! Now Laguna doesn't need to convince her to let him live in his old house. She'll probably end up selling him the house to pay off Esthar's medical bill."

Their transport had landed and the crew urging them to hurry up. They were already behind schedule because of the detour to Winhill.

"Just wait here, okay?" Kiros told Ellone, hoisting the sick woman on his shoulder and running up the ramp. Ward waved to Ellone and followed Kiros.

"Okay, Mr. Kiros. See you soon, Ward," Ellone called after them.

The Esthar ship lifted off slowly, drawing up the ramp and sealing the hangar. After it was five meters above the ground, it stopped, slightly rocking, like a suspended puppet wiggles, then made a smooth, in-place 50-degree turn before blasting forwards and disappearing over the horizon in seconds.

When Ellone's could no longer follow the vessel, she sat down delicately on a little grass patch beside the road. She decided to spend the next five minutes twirling her green scarf and dusting off her white skirt. She really did need a new outfit; the blue shirt she always wore was getting grubby. Suddenly she noticed a fluffy, yellow bird race from one bush across the dirt path into another bush.

Absolutely delighted by the chocobo's little feet, Ellone squealed, clapping at the same time. She held out her hands and waited for the next chocobo to cross. When it did, she just barely missed nabbing it. And so it went. The adorable babies even dropped items at times. Ellone wheedled from them candy, stray Gil, some medicine, and even a piece of a vase. Totally random, she thought to herself.

She had been entertaining herself in this fashion for a short time before another light flashed over the horizon.

"Right on time," she thought, giddily getting up and dusting her rump off.

Ellone stood up, tugging playfully with a strand of her hair, and waited to be picked up.

Click here to continue...


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