Title: Love Don’t Die Author: Tarsier Fandom: Final Fantasy – crossover of Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X, and later Final Fantasy VI. Timeframe: Begins with a slight rewrite of the endings of FFVIII and FFX. Characters: Primary: Squall/Rinoa, Tidus/Yuna | Secondary: Quistis, Zell, Irvine, Selphie, Angelo, Ellone, Seifer, Laguna, Rikku, Wakka, Lulu | Later: Locke, Terra, Celes Summary: Squall and Tidus find themselves lost in the Void…. Word Count: ~49,000 Related Stories: Heartbeats - missing scenes, shorts, and extra chapters Notes: This is my first time posting in NSWFF and I’m not really sure how much background I should give as far as describing the events of the games. There’s not a lot of background given, but I do hope it’s understandable to those who have not played the games. Feedback on that point would be very much appreciated! Any constructive criticism is welcome. I put together a little guide to characters for readers who are unfamiliar with Final Fantasy: 1 2 3 4 5 The opening quotes are taken directly from the games. Special thanks to The Fray for inspiring the title of this story. Yuna: “Stay with me until the end.”Tidus: “Not until the end… Always.”Yuna: “Always, then.”*Squall to Rinoa: “I’ll be waiting for you. If you come here, you’ll find me. I promise.”Chapter 1 Tidus looked at his hands. There was a slight glow to them, and for a moment he thought he could see the deck through his fingers. Not between his fingers—through. It was happening. He steeled himself. He was ready. At least, as ready as one could be for such a thing as ceasing to exist. “Yuna, I have to go.” He said it confidently, he even tried to smile. Yuna shook her head. “I'm sorry I couldn't show you Zanarkand.” He walked toward the edge of the ship, not looking at Yuna. He wanted nothing more than to run to her, to hold her, to never let her go. But he had to be brave. Trying to hold on—it would only make it worse. If he could show Yuna that he was okay, that he’d accepted it, then maybe it would be easier for her. But after a few steps, he couldn’t resist a look back. “Goodbye.” He moved faster after that, hurrying toward the edge. If he hesitated any longer, he wouldn’t be able to keep it together. He heard her footsteps. He couldn’t help turning around. She threw herself into his arms and he held her tightly. The pyreflies gathered around them and he closed his eyes. “I love you,” Yuna whispered. The words sliced his heart like a sword. He wasn’t making it easier. Nothing would make it easier. If that was the case, he might as well fight. He held her even tighter and opened his eyes to see the pyreflies had thickened. “Yuna, I…” he began, but as he spoke he realized he was rising, the pyreflies seeming to lift him into the air. “Yuna!” He’d been pulled away from her, but she reached for him. Both her hands met his and their fingers interlocked. No, Yuna mouthed, shaking her head once again. Tidus could only stare back at her. He tried to squeeze her hands, to press his palms against hers, but his fingers passed right through hers. The glow from the pyreflies intensified, until he could no longer see Yuna, there was only empty white light. *Wasteland. That was the word that immediately came to mind as Squall surveyed his surroundings. There was nothing but dirt—flat, dead dirt—as far as he could see. Above, the sky seemed liquid. That was what was most was concerning. Grey and flowing, he felt like he was trapped beneath an enormous iridescent bubble. The landscape—the dirt—could have existed on his planet. But the sky—it didn’t, couldn’t, look like that. Something was very wrong. He walked. He didn’t know how long he’d been there. Hours, days, weeks? All he knew was that it was too long. He should be home by now, if things had worked as they were supposed to. But it hadn’t worked, he wasn’t home. He was here, alone. All alone. He kept walking. Was it too little too late? He’d spent most of his life trying to avoid connections, doing his best to isolate himself from other people. He’d changed though. He’d learned to trust, to depend on other people. He’d made friends, he’d even…he’d even been falling in love. But the others weren’t here. Rinoa wasn’t here. Rinoa… She was certainly waiting for him. In the meadow, the field of flowers behind the orphanage. Where he’d promised her she could find him. She wouldn’t find him there now. His steps slowed, but still he walked. I want to be there, Rinoa. I don’t want to keep you waiting. I tried. I thought it would work, I really did. I thought I could make it back, with just a little help. His stride faltered, each step was becoming difficult. But he pressed on. Maybe I didn’t believe in them enough. He was truly unsteady now, his muscles resisting every step. Maybe they didn’t believe in me. Squall collapsed to the ground, a lone tear streaking down his cheek. I’m sorry, Rinoa. * Squall, where are you? Rinoa wondered. This was where they’d promised. He had to be here. There was nowhere else he would possibly have gone. So why wasn’t he here? There was only one possible explanation—he hadn’t been able to get here. He was lost in time. She fought the panic starting to rise within her. She couldn’t lose him, not now. Not after it was all over. Rinoa felt a wet nose press into her palm. Angelo had followed closely as she’d run through the field, searching desperately for Squall. Rinoa squatted beside Angelo, stroking her head. “Good girl, Angelo. You’ve always been a loyal friend. But right now I need you to stay here. I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t know if it’s safe. But you’ve done enough. I think the fighting’s over.” Rinoa stood up and took a deep breath. She took several steps away from Angelo. Angelo cried, but stayed put. Such a well-behaved dog. It occurred to Rinoa that maybe she ought to try to find the others. Rinoa, Squall, Quistis, Zell, Selphie, and Irvine: Six of them had ventured through time to face the Sorceress Ultimecia, but how many had made it back? Rinoa had seen no one since she’d returned. The others had probably returned to Balamb Garden, or maybe the Ragnarok. But, although they were her friends, and she did care about them, they weren’t who she wanted right now. She didn’t think they would be able to help her find Squall—no one really understood time compression. And if the others hadn’t made it back either, then maybe she would find them with Squall. Either way, she didn’t think it was worth wasting time searching for them here. Not when Squall needed her. She still didn’t have complete control over her powers, but she could activate them at will. She looked back at Angelo and gave her pet a small final wave. Then she lowered her head and released the power. White wings unfurled from her back. She poured all her concentration into one thought. Squall. I need to find Squall.