One shot Julia POV. Julia looks back on her life, and on Rinoa in particular.
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy or any of the characters. This is for fun, not profit.
I look down upon my daughter with the small awareness that I have and I smile. I can see myself in her face and I am happy. That sounds like vanity; let me clarify. It is gratifying to see something, some part of myself still in the world. I watch her pursuit of the Leonhart boy with amusement and marvel at the poetic justice of it all. I look at the extraordinary life she has led and wonder how she - still only seventeen years of age - deals with each obstacle and moves on. Most of all, I wonder how much she remembers of me.
The melody used to flow down out of my head, out of my ideas, down through my fingers to the white ivory keys, and I could lose myself in it. I soon stopped playing in the bar. After that first song there were larger, more prestigious venues that wanted me to perform. Besides, I couldn't bear that empty corner. People tried to draw it out of me. Interviewers would endlessly question about the soldier that went to war and didn't return and I would end the interview. If they listened properly to the music, not necessarily the words, they would have understood everything. They wouldn't need to ask any questions about me. I don't think anyone could ever really comprehend what they heard when I played the piano.
He didn't tell me until after we were married. My ex-bodyguard, who had risen meteorically through the ranks to become general, had been one of Laguna's superiors and had taken it upon himself to 'arrange' some missions. Things were not particularly cordial between us after he admitted that. I still can't decide if there was some genuine feeling for me or if I was an appropriate trophy wife, whom he happened to be fond of, but then I wonder why he told me. Surely he must have wanted to be honest with me, to do a thing like that. It would have been so much easier to keep quiet. And why worry about honesty unless there was some love there? I find it is much easier to see these things in hindsight. There is a lot less clouding my judgement now. Life looks a lot simpler when you are dead. The thought raises a smile from me.
My marriage was uncomfortable, like the shoes I would wear when I performed for the large crowds - beautiful to look at but completely impractical for playing the piano in. Whatever my husband might have thought, it was not because I was pining for my lost love. I will admit to a certain amount of pining, but I got over that relatively quickly. I merely looked back into the past, a little wistful. Maybe that's why now I look back and dissect my life. It has always been my way.
We were always so different. I think that was the problem. He could not understand my endless searching through what-if, maybe, and might-have scenarios and I could not understand how anyone could put work so far in front of everything else. Well... not everything else. Me. That, perhaps, did not always make me the most pleasant person to live with.
And then I had my daughter. Yes, still I will say my daughter, not ours. He was never there. I suppose the arguments were persuasive enough. My job made it easier for me to look after her. I was her mother, after all. She was an easy baby to look after; quiet eyes staring up from her crib, the tiniest dusting of dark hair on her head. When she grew a little older she would sit underneath the piano and play with her toys while I practised.
I had been finding composing very trying. I had written nothing new since my first hit. I performed covers and occasionally someone else would write a song for me to sing, but try as I might, my own skill had deserted me. In spite of this, my career was still going strong. My audience seemed happy with just that one hit; it was only I who was dissatisfied. I should have been content. If I had been, my Rinoa might have had a different life.
I finally wrote a second song. It was a sudden burst of inspiration. I sat up all night, frantic to finish it. My husband was indulgent at first. I suspect he was pleased at the prospect of the good publicity that would reflect well on him. Maybe I have become overly cynical. Things were good for a couple of days. We even argued less than usual. I often wonder how much Rinoa absorbed of our arguments. She still seems to resent her father but I am not sure if she draws that from a memory of me. Many teenagers seem to loathe their parents for one reason or another. Maybe it is easier for me to deny I could be to blame. I should have made more effort to shield her from the fights. She would have been four or five years old then. And then he heard the song.
I don't know what he was expecting but that song was not it. I have never seen him so furious. I thought, at the time, that it was because he wanted to control my creativity. I thought he wanted to keep me at his side, like a puppet doll, maintaining our sham of a marriage. Now I am not sure. I think now it was just shock. The complete denial of his existence and his place in our lives must have hurt him more than I realised. I didn't even think he was capable of being hurt so much.
My second song was about my daughter, very pointedly and exclusively so. There was a short, ugly argument and I took Rinoa and left. I was angry. The car crashed. There is not much more to it. I wonder if she remembers what happened or if her mind has dealt with that too and put it away. I recall being conscious but not really being /there/. I remember only Rinoa, strapped in the back seat, not a scratch on her but her face spattered lightly in my blood. I remember her screaming and screaming without pausing for breath and thinking what a singer she could be, with lungs that powerful.
It is enough. I am content. Her life has been eventful but not destroyed by the loss of her mother. Perhaps it is egotistical to think it could be.
My second song was never released and never heard by anyone outside of my own family. I wonder if she remembers it.
Softly in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, til I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
From "Piano" by D.H. Lawrence