Free Heart Chapter 1

Blood Rain

By Eric Ryan Willmot

Disclaimer: The characters in this story belong to Squaresoft, and not to me unfortunately. Although I own John Matthews and Maria Sanchez so that’s still good.

How far back in time, can you remember? Think as far back into your life as much as you possibly can. Think back to one defining moment, the one time where one decision you made changed your life for the better, or for the worse. Can you see them? The innocent little child that was once you.

Look at yourself then, and look at yourself now. Can you see how much you have changed, how much you have grown? What happened in your life that changed that sweet innocent child into what you are today? Is this how you imagined your life or did you foresee something different, a goal, a dream, something so close then, yet so far now.

Too many questions, too few answers. Sometimes fate can be a cruel game in the eyes of others, but for those who believe a person can make their own fate, then they can shape their own destiny. But for those who don't believe just ponder on these questions as it slowly leads them further down the path they no longer wish to walk. The path that leads to madness, the path that in the end will consume them, there is a point on that path that when crossed is too far to go back.

How do you know when you reach that point? It's when you reach that point that you find the fork in the road. The one point in your life that can still be changed, the one point in your life where one decision can make all the difference.

* * *

Deling city, the heart of the Galbadian Empire. The beginning point for so many, and also the end for some others. This city has been through so many changes, wars, dictatorships, and yet it still stands strong. It is the super power of the western world, the capital city of Galbadia.

The rain had started to fall that afternoon and continued into the night. Lightning could be seen in the distance, just little flashes of light blurred by dark clouds that gave birth to the billions of raindrops, sending them to their deaths as they fell to the ground.

Some of these raindrops landed on the windscreen of a car, only to be immediately brushed aside by its windscreen wipers, allowing the driver to see more clearly. The raindrops danced on the passenger side window, slowly making it's way to the back of the car as the wind resistance pushed against it.

None of this applied to young Rinoa Caraway. She didn't try to think of the reasoning behind it, she just enjoyed the ballet of the rain on the window. Using her finger she twirled it through one of her two pigtails, making a curl as she went along.

The red car that drove through the rain looked ruby as the lights on the road reflected off the water that fell and clung to it. Something so beautiful on the outside, yet so full of hurt on the inside. Much like the driver of the car. Julia Heartilly Caraway.

The same beautiful woman who used to play the piano at the Galbadia Hotel, the same one who later went on to singing and wrote the song 'Eyes on Me'.

Her song was inspired by a man that she used to love, a soldier in the Galbadian army. He used to watch her perform on the piano all the time. They loved each other from the start, however fate had other ideas, the very night they met new orders came in and the man Julia loved was sent away to war. She never saw him again.

Julia waited, and waited. Days, weeks and even months went by with no word from her love. A General came to tell her the news one day, he was missing in action, presumed dead. Julia was devastated.

The General felt bad for her, his name was Caraway and he stayed with Julia to comfort her. Eventually the two of them formed a bond and fell in love, fate had taken one of Julia's loves, fate would not take this one as well.

She married General Caraway. At first they were really happy, people would look on and say how happily married they were. Then the day came and Julia gave birth to her first and only child. A daughter she named Rinoa.

However for Julia, there was a problem in the marriage. It wasn't like he physically abused her or Rinoa, but the problem was that he was never there. The General was more interested in his career over his family at most times. He was not there to feel little Rinoa kicking inside of Julia, he was not there when Rinoa was first bought into this world. He never saw Rinoa take her first steps, or say her first words.

Julia had had enough, she couldn't live in a marriage without love. When she first married Caraway it was because she believed she was in love. But was it possible that bringing a child into a loveless family was a mistake? No, Rinoa had done nothing wrong, she was just a sweet innocent child. If anyone was to blame it was Caraway.

Julia thought she had defeated fate, it was then she thought that not even herself could defeat fate, she had tried and failed twice. She had lost two loved ones, all she had now was Rinoa. Julia wouldn't let fate take her too.

The divorce was finalised just that afternoon, Julia would take Rinoa and live at her sister's home until the mother and daughter could find a new place to live. A place that they could call home.

On the seat next to Julia, Rinoa who had gotten bored with the raindrops on the window, and now hugged one of her most favourite toys, a teddy Moomba. She may not have been old enough to understand much about divorce, but she was old enough to know when something was wrong. For many weeks now she had layed awake in bed at night, listening to her parents arguing. At first it was about little things, but as time went on the yelling got more and more frequent, she heard words that she would rather forget. Rinoa tried to close her eyes and sleep on those nights, she tried to ignore it, tried to pretend nothing was wrong. But there was no denying that her mother and father were growing apart. Often she would here her name mentioned more then once in those arguments, and Rinoa got the feeling that all this arguing must have been her fault.

She turned to her mother and asked a simple yet heartbreaking question.

"Mummy, how come Daddy isn't here with us?"

The question nearly bought a tear to Julia's eye. No matter how anyone looks at it, a divorce is always harder on the children. Most of the time a parent can get so blind to a child's needs, that they forget what's best for them. A child's first years on Earth is important to their development, and would eventually shape their lives, as they become adults. Could Julia forever be scarring her daughter, giving someone she loves the most a scar that will never heal?

When Julia didn't reply straight away to Rinoa's question, she spoke again.

"I'm sorry if I did something wrong."

This time a single tear did roll down Julia's cheek, she wiped it away with her hand. Through all the fighting with her husband she had neglected to see what kind of effect it was having on their daughter. Julia couldn't let that continue.

"Listen to me Rinoa," Julia began. "Just because your father and I don't love each other any more, doesn't mean that we don't love you. It is not your fault and never will be Rinoa. Just know that both your father and your mother love you very much ok."

"But I heard you and Daddy fighting, and you said my name."

Julia was in disbelief, she had thought Rinoa was sleeping in bed during her arguments with Caraway. But then again their fighting was fairly loud, she wouldn't have been at all surprised if the neighbours had overheard them.

Julia couldn't imagine how it must have felt for a five-year-old girl to lay awake in bed night after night, listening to the two people she loved most, her parents, tearing each other apart emotionally.

"Well Rinoa, Mummy was just worried about you that’s all. You did nothing wrong Rinoa," Julia spoke the last part firmly, hoping the message would get through to her young daughter.

The little girl nodded in acknowledgment, she heard what she had needed to hear and it made her feel better.

"Ok Rinoa, why don't you have a sleep, and before you know it, we'll be at Aunty Fiona's."

"Yay, Aunty Fiona," Rinoa cheered. "Ok I'll have a quick sleep. Goodnight Mummy."

"Goodnight Rinoa," Julia smiled briefly thinking to herself that maybe leaving on this night wouldn't be so bad after all.

Rinoa moved herself into a more comfortable position on the seat, still hugging her teddy Moomba. She let her eyelids close, and let the peaceful restfulness of sleep take her away to her dreamland.

The night dragged on, and it looked like the rain wouldn't cease anytime soon. The road became a never-ending pattern in front of the car. Like the rain and the night, the road seemed to have no end itself. It continued on through the darkness, into the future. Much like a person's life she had no idea where it would end up. Julia had driven along this road many times before, but that didn't help her shake that terrible feeling inside of her. A really bad feeling, she couldn't really describe what it was, women's intuition perhaps. Maybe she was just tired, she looked at the time on the radio. 11:43pm. She had been driving for a few hours, but the time had just flown by, as she was lost in thought.

Julia switched on the radio, leaving the volume low enough so as not to disturb Rinoa's slumber.

The endless pattern still played before her. The twisting and curving of the road. The endless rain on the windscreen being pushed away by the wipers. She could be dreaming this and wouldn't even know it.

A sudden light in the rear view mirror caught her attention, it was the headlights of another car. She ignored it and kept on driving. A few minutes later the car behind her beeped their horn in an aggressive manner.

"Losers," she muttered to herself, guessing that they were teenagers driving the car.

From what she could guess it was obvious that they were drunk, the way the car behind her couldn't keep steady and drive straight.

The car drove onto the other side of the road, lucky for them there was no oncoming traffic, and then accelerated until they were in line with Julia's car. Julia saw it was an older maroon car that probably belonged to one of their parents. They made a motion for her to wind down her window.

Julia ignored them, but they kept persisting that she put the window down.

Julia did, although she was wishing they would leave her alone.

"Hey baby," The man in the passenger seat of the opposite car called out to her, he was half hanging out the window. "You looking for a good time?"

Just by looking at him it was easy to tell that he was scum with no hope in the future. He had short bleached hair, and piercing's on his ears, nose, eyebrows and tongue. Julia imagined he had more but didn't want to think of where. He held a beer bottle, almost empty, so she had guessed correctly, they were drunken teenagers.

Julia ignored them and kept her eyes on the road.

"C'mon hoe, how do you know you won't like it until you try it," He rubbed his free hand over his body and slowly moved it down to his pants.

The driver of that car and the other passenger in the backseat laughed along with their friend.

Julia was disgusted with their behaviour but there wasn't much else she could do except keep driving, she thought if she didn't stand up to them they would keep hassling her.

"Not on your life you scumbags!" Julia yelled out to them, she wished they would go away. It was obvious he didn't like that, as a look of anger crossed his face.

"You bitch!" He threw the beer bottle at Julia's car, the glass smashed into tiny shards and scattered around the back of the car and onto the road.

Julia was startled, she hadn't expected him to do that, and if the car were in a stationary position the bottle would have no doubt hit her or Rinoa. It was obvious now to Julia that they wouldn't go away so easily, and she didn't want Rinoa to witness this. Hyne, she thought, please don't wake up yet Rinoa.

"Listen I have a five year old daughter in the car with me, please don't do anything to upset her," Julia pleaded.

"Don't worry, she can come and party with us."

Julia was disgusted by this, as any mother would be, as any human would be. She pressed down on the accelerator to try and get away.

"Where are you going baby?" Julia could hear from the car falling behind now.

She put the window back up and concentrated on driving. The rain had stopped now, but that didn't stop the road from being slippery. Unfortunately it wasn't very long before the other car showed up next to her car on the wrong side of the road again.

This time he was doing motions with his tongue that made her feel sick. They tried yelling things at her but Julia couldn't quite understand because she had put the window back up.

"Oh Hyne, please go away, just leave us alone," Julia whispered to herself starting to get very worried.

While she was whispering this, Julia hadn't noticed the other car slowly inching closer to her car. Using their car they nudged it slightly into Julia's car. It wasn't that big of a push but on the slippery roads she was caught of guard.

Her car swerved sharply to the left, Julia used her quick reflexes and moved the steering wheel to the right to get back in line with the road. But unfortunately back closer to the other car.

Rinoa stirred in the seat next to Julia.

"Are we there yet Mummy?" Rinoa asked, but she hadn't noticed the other car yet.

"No not yet, go back to sleep honey," Julia tried to act as if nothing was wrong, but her voice showed otherwise.

A giggle came from Rinoa, "Look at that silly car Mummy, it's on the wrong side of the road."

Julia had hoped that Rinoa didn't see the car but it was too late now.

"Rinoa darling don't look at it, just go back to sleep ok honey."

Rinoa had no other choice as little kids tend to think and she obeyed what her mother was telling, she wasn't sure what was so wrong, but she didn't question it. She closed her eyes again but didn't get to sleep this time.

Further down the road Julia saw a set of headlights approaching from the other direction, heading straight for the car with the teenagers in it. Those teenagers had been lucky so far but finally there was oncoming traffic.

She may have hated those teenagers but still Julia didn't want to see them get killed because of their actions.

"Look out!" Julia screamed.

Rinoa opened her eyes and sat up, startled by her mother yelling.

What happened next, happened fast but it felt like it was all in slow motion.

The driver of the other car looked ahead at Julia's scream. He immediately saw the other car bearing down on them. From all the alcohol he had been drinking, his reaction time was slow, but when it finally clicked in his mind that he was about to hit another car, he panicked.

He should have slowed down and turned to the left, to get back behind Julia's car. But from the panic he just turned the steering wheel hard to the left and drove his car straight into the driver's side of Julia's car with such a force that it pushed Julia's car into the road barrier.

Rinoa screamed as sparks lit up on her side of the car as it slid against the road barrier.

The force from the other car caused Julia's car to plough right through the barrier. Julia looked past the road barrier, all she saw was a steep hill descending down into the darkness, and she knew right away that’s where she was headed. As the red car broke through the barrier, the car lifted up on the driver's side and began to fall down on the hill upside down. Julia no longer had any control of the car, and only one thing was constant in her mind.


A woman who was on her way home to her family, from a late shift at work drove the oncoming car that caused the drunken driver to panic. She slammed on the brakes and turned the wheel hard to the right. It almost overturned too, but this car was well made so it didn't flip over, however it skidded out of control on the wet road.

The car with the drunken teens also skidded out of control. The two cars both slammed into each other. Shards of glass and broken bits of metal flew through the air and rained down to the road, the smell of burnt rubber from too much pressure on the tyres, filled their senses. Their trip was over.

Meanwhile Julia's car had landed upside down on its roof, it began to slide down the hill like that, however it hit a bump in the earth. The car lifted over once again and rolled down the hill. It flipped six times before reaching the bottom of the hill, landing and finally stopping upside down. The whole time Rinoa had screamed, and not once did she blink. It was a terrible thing for a five-year-old to experience.

Silence filled the night once more. Rinoa was frightened and crying, but if not from the crash then from the fact that her mother hung upside down, motionless.

* * *

That night, Officer John Matthews of the Galbadian Police, was driving his patrol car along with his partner, Officer Maria Sanchez.

Once again they had gotten stuck with the night shift, and patrolling the highway. Nothing exciting ever happened. These highways were always dead at this time of night, they both didn't know how correct that was.

"So Maria, I heard you were taking the kids to Winhill for the holidays."

"Yeah, I thought that we would go there this year, it's more peaceful then the other places we normally go to."

"Did you hear about the General? He got a divorce I heard."

Maria nodded, "Yeah I heard about that one, it's too bad because he has a kid. My parents split up when I was young, it's always hard on the kids."

"Hey when is our break?" John asked.

"In another half an hour, why?"

"Oh I'm just hungry, I haven't eaten since breakfast. My wife made it she's a great cook, we ate that right before, we… you know."

Maria jokingly hit John's arm, "I don't want to hear about your sex life."

John laughed.

"Hows it going with you and Kelly anyway?" Maria questioned.

"Yeah it's fine, but she really wants to have a baby you know, she wants to try for it everyday…"

John was interrupted by Maria's evil eye, "I said I don't want to hear about that."

John laughed again, "Sorry."

"You and Kelly are still coming over for dinner next week right?"

"Yes, our plans haven't changed." John replied.

"That’s good because the kids really like you two."

"Yeah I'm still surprised at how big they are getting. I think seeing them is what makes Kelly want a kid of our own. Hey you got the time?"

"Yeah it's about ten past… Hey what is that?" Maria pointed straight ahead.

John followed her gaze, "It looks like some kind of wreckage."

Maria put the siren on, but only the flashing light part of it, there was no need to turn on the annoying sound. John accelerated along the road and slowed to a stop when they got close enough to see what it was. Two cars, had crashed into each other, debris littered the road.

"Oh shit," John exclaimed getting out of the car. "Maria call an ambulance we need assistance right now.

Maria obeyed immediately, getting on the radio to let everyone know the situation and their location.

John jogged up to the two cars, he got his flashlight and turned it on for better vision. The closest car was a maroon one. The site alone almost made him feel sick, but he had witnessed this kind of thing before and knew how to cope with it.

The first thing he saw from the maroon car was a body, he hadn't worn a seatbelt and had flown through the windscreen. He had white hair and many piercing's. Half of him lay out on the bonnet face down, while the rest of him was still in the car. Thankfully he was still in once peace. However on closer inspection he noticed his eyes, wide open and unmoving. John checked for breathing or a pulse but neither was there. The glass from the windscreen had cut him deep and in many places around his body. It was too late for him, he was too far-gone. John closed his eyes at the blood being washed away from the body by the rain.

Next he went to the backseat of the maroon car. There was another teen with his hat on backwards, he was alive but unconscious. John opened that door and dragged him out of the car to a safe distance. Maria emerged from the patrol car with a medical kit. They put a blanket over him and layed him on his back, raising his knees.

John left Maria with him and went to check on the other car. It was a white car with only one person, a woman. John hated this part of the job, a piece of metal had flown from the maroon car and had embedded itself in the woman's chest. She still seemed to be breathing, but each breath was one of pain for her, each breath was a constant struggle to stay alive. The metal must have pierced her lung. The blood, so much blood. It stained her shirt and it looked as if it was still bleeding.

There wasn't much that John could do, it was best to await the paramedics, and they were professionals and knew how to handle the situation.

This was something that would give John and Maria nightmares for a few nights. But to Officer Matthews, it was the blood that would get to him the most. Not only was it on her shirt, but also around some of the car. The woman coughed, and even more blood left her mouth and rolled down her chin, in the dark it looked more dark crimson then what it really was. Her eye's opened and she saw John.

"Please… don't leave… me," The woman pleaded between painful breaths, holding onto his hand.

"I won't," Was all John could manage to say.

The only other person left was the driver of the maroon car, but because of the white car blocking the way to the driver's side door, they couldn't get to him yet. But both John and Maria heard his screams of pain.

The ambulances would probably be rushing to the scene right now John thought, but this far out it might take them a long while yet.

"C… can you… t… take the metal… out of me p… please?" The woman deep in pain asked the police officer.

John felt painfully sad, "No, I'm sorry, you have to wait for the ambulance, they'll be here any second now."

John knew that wasn't true but sometimes lives have been saved by keeping a positive attitude. Officer Matthews couldn't even begin to imagine the severe pain this woman must be experiencing. As weak as she was, the grip on his hand was tight.

"Th… thankyou for st… staying," Tears ran down her face.

"Try not to talk, you have to save your strength."

John wished it wasn't him that had to be doing this, he knew how selfish it was too but deep down he knew he had to do this. She had no one else. All John could do was stay with her and hold her hand.

Minutes rolled on, and both police officers wished that the ambulance would hurry up, and John was worried a lot more because the woman's breath was slowing down. John did his best to talk to her about positive things.

After what seemed like an eternity the ambulances did at last show up. They immediately got to work on the situation.

Two paramedics approached John, they didn't need to ask, they could tell by the grim look on his face. The woman he had stayed with had passed away only moments before.

The driver of the maroon car had sharp metal digging into his leg, the air bag had activated just in time or he would have been lying on the bonnet with his friend.

Officer John Matthews and Maria Sanchez stood out of the way to let the paramedics to their job. The blood from the driver of the white car stained John's uniform.

"You got a smoke Maria?"

"No I don't, and you shouldn't have any you are trying to quit remember?"

"I need to calm my nerves."

Officer Sanchez just shook her head.

"No matter how many times, it never gets any easier," John said silently to himself watching the paramedics.

He walked to the edge of the road, to the road barrier.

"Hang on a sec," John got his flashlight again and shined it onto the road barrier.

It was dented and broken, John didn't notice that before, and accompanied with the dents was a shade of red. He recognised it immediately as paint. He peered over the edge to see a steep down hill, shining the flashlight down, John noticed another car upside down at the bottom of the hill.

"Hey there is another car down there!" He shouted.

Officer Matthews, climbed over the barrier, and started his decent down the hill. The rain had made the grass all wet and muddy. John slipped a few times on the way down. As he neared the car he heard crying, the crying of a child.

"Oh Hyne no. Not a child."

* * *

Rinoa wasn't sure how long she lay there. She had unbuckled her seat belt so she wasn't hanging upside down. It seemed to be forever, she could hear the sound of men working in the distance, it was the ambulances but she didn't know that. She thought that she would lie here forever with her mother.

Rinoa was in a lot of pain, the crash had hurt her deeply, but either out of shock or worry for her mother, she didn't notice it as much as she should. She just lay there, sobbing to herself.

The seconds turned into minutes, the minutes felt like hours. She tried not to think about the crash, but it seemed forever imprinted on her mind.

A small light appeared in the darkness, slowly getting closer. Rinoa could make out the shape of a man heading in her direction. Had they finally found her, or was it a messenger of Hyne, come to take her away. She didn't care she just wanted her mother to get better.

"Help, help," Rinoa cried out to the approaching figure.

The man got to the car and opened the door. The door itself fell away from the car, broken beyond repair.

"Hello," The man said, trying to sound friendly. "My name is John, and I'm a policeman, I've come to help you. What's your name sweetie?"

The man scared Rinoa, he had blood on his uniform and a sad look on his face despite his attempts to be friendly.

"Rin… Rinoa," She stammered in between sobs.

John tried to help Rinoa but she screamed.

"Ow! My leg, my leg hurts!"

John realised that it was broken. This time, being more careful not to bump the leg, he gently lifted her out.

"What about Mummy?" Rinoa whined.

John set her down against the side of the car carefully. He knelt down to get into the car easier. It was then he realised who this was. The wife and daughter of General Caraway, the very people he was talking about to his partner before. John only wanted to get them out of here alive.

He felt for Julia's pulse... nothing. Her body had slowly bled to death from a wound he couldn't see yet.

"No!" John yelled punching the car hard.

This couldn't be happening, and to a child at that. The look on his face said it all to Rinoa, her mother wouldn't be with her now.

Rinoa clutched onto her teddy Moomba that now had blood on it, she clung to it as if it was all she had left.

John picked up Rinoa, and began the trek to the top of the hill and back to the road.

"Mummy!" Rinoa shrieked and struggled in John's arms.

Officer Matthews was wrong, this would be the worst of his nightmares.

* * *

By now more police were on the scene, keeping bystanders away from the accident.

Maria not among them, she had sat down to get a drink of coffee to sooth her nerves. A van arrived at the scene with the words 'Channel Ten Galbadian News'

"Oh no," Maria thought, the press was the last thing they needed here.

As the news team argued with the police for their right to get through, John reappeared with a little girl in his arms. Maria walked over to him.

"This is Rinoa, she was with her Mum but…" John trailed off.

Nothing more had to be said about that, Maria understood this child was without her mother now.

* * *

Caraway sat alone in his mansion. The divorce still stung him. He should have been there for his family more often. He blamed himself, and as a result had been going through his wine to drown out his thoughts.

Now he sat on the chair in front of the television.

"We interrupt this program with a special report," The TV announcer said.

"Damn it, I was enjoying that show too."

Caraway watched the report of a car crash only an hour ago, he didn't really care much about it, until he saw in the background, a police officer carrying his daughter. That caught his attention, now he was terribly worried.

"… Leaving two women and one man dead. One of these women is well known singer Julia Heartilly Caraway…"

"No… No," Caraway stammered.

He ignored the rest of the news report and ran to his car. He drove to the hospital as fast as he could.

* * *

The rain had left everything wet, and it would not dry until the sun emerged within a few hours.

The ambulance sped along the highway to the hospital, inside was young Rinoa. Her head throbbed, her leg was in pain. She was more aware then she was before and noticed the pain a lot more.

She gazed at the roof of the vehicle trying to keep her eyelids from shutting. Her mother told her to have a quick sleep, and look what happened when she woke up. Rinoa was frightened from falling asleep.

"D… Don't let me sleep," She pleaded.

Slowly her eyes closed and everything became dark.

* * *

What were they doing? She could feel them, the hands probing her leg and her head. Where was she? She felt like she was moving yet her body was in one place. Slowly she opened her eyes and had to close them straight away. The light was too bright.

"She's waking up," A voice said.

Rinoa was disoriented, all these voices telling her to be calm, all these men and women dressed in white. Doctors. She realised she was lying down on a stretcher, being rushed through the hospital, the light was bright but her eyes adjusted to it.

She watched the ceiling move in front of her eyes.

Darkness took her over again.

* * *

Now what? I don't care any more, can't they just let me rest? She felt them lifting her up and placing her back down on another bed.

So many voices, they were all talking to her, and amongst themselves. She heard them talking about her, she was injured she knew that from what they were saying, and the pain she felt. They weren't just talking around her, they were talking inside her head, that’s where she heard them the most.

Rinoa opened her eyes once again, she let her eyes adjust to the light again. There were many people. Rinoa had trouble taking it in, all fast and slow at the same time, she was confused.


"Try not to talk."

She felt them putting something over her mouth and nose. She couldn't concentrate on what was going on, too many people talking and talking. What were they doing to her now?

Darkness settled in once again.

* * *

"Rinoa…" A voice came to her softly.

She used her ears, it was very quiet now. No one was touching her now and the voices inside her head were gone.

Was it a dream?

"Rinoa," The voice came again.

"… Yeah?" She replied.

"You are ok now Rinoa."

Rinoa opened her eyes, very slowly at first afraid of that bright light. The light wasn't that bright this time, in fact her vision was rather blurry.

"Where am I?"

"You are in the hospital, everything is ok now."

Rinoa waited for what seemed like minutes, finally her vision started to focus. The first person she saw was her father leaning over her.


"Yes it's me," General Caraway was relieved.

* * *

John Matthews turned off his mobile phone, he had just been talking to his wife Kelly, and had told her about the incident. He didn't want to leave until he knew Rinoa was all right. The nurse had just informed him that she was incredibly lucky, only a fracture on her shinbone that made her leg hurt and a bump on the head, apart from a few fractures she was fine.

"Officer Matthews?" A voice asked just as he was leaving.

"Yeah that’s me," John turned around to see General Caraway.

"You are the one responsible for saving my daughter, I can't thank you enough. Just name it and it's yours."

John wasn't at all that surprised with being offered a reward, but he was surprised that he could literally have anything within the General's power.

"No sir, I don't want a reward," John said but also didn't mention that he felt that he didn't deserve it.

"Please I insist," Caraway insisted.

"You have a kid to take care of now sir, don't ever let her down. That's all the reward you can give me, just don't let her down."

John turned away from the General and exited the hospital.

* * *

Poor decisions had been made, and it cost people their lives. Everyone blamed themselves for what had happened, each had their own reasons to blame.

If Caraway had been more loving in his family relationship there would have been no need for the divorce.

If John and Maria had arrived at the accident sooner instead of talking and not doing their job, the ambulance could have been called on sooner.

Had the teenagers hadn't been drinking and joyriding the crash would have never happened.

If Rinoa hadn't gone to sleep, if she hadn't been the cause of her parents arguing. She was told that it wasn't her fault and never would be, but Rinoa couldn't believe it.

It was all the same things, could have, would have shouldn't have. It's thinking back on these thoughts that make one hurt, thinking of how it could have been avoided. The fact was that it had happened and now everyone had to learn to deal with that.

Rinoa was in the hospital for a week before she was to be released. She didn't talk much she didn't smile, the nurses told her she was a brave little girl but Rinoa didn't believe it. Her dreams were haunted with the crash, and no matter what happened from there on, one thing was for certain.

Her mother was not coming back.

Julia had tried to fight fate one last time, but did she win or lose? She saved what mattered most, her daughter, however at the cost of her own life.

* * *

Authors Note: Well that was the first chapter, don't worry many more to come. There are just a few things I want to go over, first of all some of you may have noticed the spelling of mum and not mom. Mum is just the Australian way of spelling it, and it sounds the same as mom anyway.

Next of all the driving scene, I was using Australian rules for the driving scene, the steering wheel on the right side of the car, and the car driving on the left side of the road. Not the other way around with the steering wheel on the left side of the car, and the car driving on the right side of the road. What I wanted to go over was in the game, the Deling City buses drove on the left, like in Australia (which is why I went with the Australian rules). But before the fight with Seifer and Edea at the end of disk one, you see Squall driving a car but the steering wheel is on the left, like in America.

I'm not sure which of these to believe, so I'll just stick with what I have now, unless anyone else has an explanation.

Any questions or comments please feel free to e-mail me at, and make sure to put Final Fantasy as the subject.

Eric Ryan Willmot's Fanfiction