Disclaimer: However much I wish I did, I don't own the charachters. Square does. I'm just borrowing them for a while. I promise to put them back in more or less the same condition that I found them in.

Author's Note: Well, this is the last part to my Quiva fic (Quistis and Shiva). I hope you liked it. It's still yuri, it's still fluffy, so consider yourself warned!

Feedback: Yes, please!

Distribution: Ask, and ye shall recieve.

Spoilers: Pretty much everything that happened in Final Fantasy 8 is fair game. Sorry I forgot to put this in when I posted part 1!

All That Really Counts

Part Three

By Squall Leonhart

Soon after Quistis and the rest of her friends returned to Garden, she quickly said goodnight to everyone and went straight to her room.

As she left the group's sight, Squall turned to Rinoa and said, "Hey, Rinoa, what did Quistis want to talk to you about?"

Rinoa paused for a second while she considered her answer. "Oh," she said, "nothing much. Just girl talk, really." Rinoa almost sighed audibly when Squall accepted her answer and didn't press for details.

Rinoa was distracted from her thoughts about Quistis when she felt someone tap her on the shoulder. She turned around to look Selphie in the eye. "Rinoa," she said, "mind if I talk to you for a minute? Alone?"

Rinoa saw the urgent look in Selphie's eyes, and said, "Uhh, sure, Selphie." Selphie then grabbed Rinoa by the arm and dragged her towards her own room in the Garden.

Once they were in Selphie's room, Selphie turned to Rinoa and said, "All right, what did you and Quistis talk about?"

"I'm sorry Selphie," Rinoa said, "but I really don't think that she'd want me to tell you. Or anyone for that matter. No offense intended, of course."

"Don't worry about it," Selphie said. The young SeeD swallowed a little before she continued. "Rinoa," she said, "Quistis told me about Shiva coming to her in her dreams. I already know all about it."

Rinoa plopped down onto Selphie's bed, feeling relieved beyond belief. "Thank Hyne I'm not the only one that knows," Rinoa said. "I don't know if I'd be able to do what I told Quistis I'd help her do if it were just me and her."

"What do you mean, what you told Quistis that you'd help her do?" Selphie asked as she sat beside Rinoa on the bed, her curiosity suddenly piqued.

"Well," Rinoa said, "I promised Quistis that I'd help her find a way to let Shiva stay here with her permanently."

Selphie's jaw dropped when she heard what Rinoa said. "What?" she asked, not quite sure what to think. Once she got over the shock, Selphie managed to say, "So, it wasn't just another dream? Shiva really did make contact with Quistis while she was asleep?"

"Yes," Rinoa said. "If Quistis had just seen her in her dreams, then I might have thought differently. But, since she's been seeing Shiva whenever she looks into a mirror today, I figured that Shiva really did make contact with Quistis."

"Whoa, back up there," Selphie said. "Quistis has been seeing Shiva while she was awake? She never told me that."

"Well, apparently she has," Rinoa said. "That's what convinced me that it wasn't just a dream, and that Shiva really was talking to Quistis."

"Wow," Selphie said, falling backwards onto her bed. "You know, this is going to be kinda hard to do."

"Yeah," Rinoa said falling backwards to lie beside Selphie. "But, you should have seen the look on Quistis's face. She was so sad at the thought of never being able to be with the person she loved. Then, when I told her I'd help, she was so… elated, I guess the word is."

"Yeah, I saw the look on her face when the two of you came back to the table," Selphie said. "One question," she continued. "Do you have any idea on how to go about liberating a GF permanently?"

"None whatsoever," Rinoa said. "But I'm going to try."

[Quistis opened her eyes, and immediately knew that she was dreaming. She had been so excited at the prospect of actually being able to be with Shiva all the time, she had barley been able to strip down to her underwear before she was in her bed trying to fall asleep. She sat up in her bed and swung her legs out of it to the floor. "Shiva?" Quistis called out cautiously. "Are you there?"]

[Suddenly, a pair of ice-blue hands covered her eyes from behind, and a voice said, "Guess who!"]

["Hmm," Quistis said, a smile spreading across her face. "Is it… Siren?"]

["Smartass," Shiva said, removing her hands from Quistis's eyes. "I missed you, you know."]

["Yeah," Quistis said, "I missed you, too." She turned around to face Shiva, and smiled at the GF.]

["I couldn't help but overhear your conversation with Rinoa in the washroom this evening," Shiva said, smiling as she looked at Quistis. "Do you think that it's really possible?"]

["I'm not going to stop trying until it's a reality," Quistis said, putting her arms around Shiva's neck. "I'm really sorry I didn't say this the last time we talked," Quistis continued, "but… I love you."]

[Shiva just smiled, and put her arms around Quistis. "It's all right," she said. "I knew how you felt when you finished talking to Rinoa."]

[Quistis just looked Shiva in the eyes, and moved closer to the one she loved. Their lips met in a passionate kiss, their tongues exploring each other's mouths. When they finally broke the kiss, Quistis was the first one of them to speak. "Wow," she said, feeling out of breath. "That was… rather… enjoyable."]

[Shiva just sat back on the bed, feeling the same way that Quistis felt. "Yeah. Enjoyable pretty much sums that up."]

[Quistis grinned as she thought of being able to kiss Shiva while she wasn't dreaming. "I can hardly wait until you're in the real world with me," Quistis said.]

["Me either," Shiva said, running a hand through Quistis's hair. "I'm so excited."]

[Quistis looked at Shiva and smiled. "That would make two of us," she said, pulling the GF into another long kiss.]

Quistis woke up from her dream with a huge smile on her face. Who knew that a GF would be able to kiss that well? She got up from her bed, and went about her daily morning ritual of showering and getting dressed. Since it was still the weekend, Quistis decided to go for a walk to the beach near the Garden. Once she was finished getting dressed after her shower, she fastened her whip to her belt and headed out of the Garden towards the beach.

When Quistis arrived at the beach, she saw Rinoa sitting there with Squall. The two lovebirds, Quistis thought to herself as she got closer. She made sure that she wasn't disturbing anything before she made her presence known.

Rinoa turned around when she heard someone coming, and got up to greet Quistis with a friendly hug. "Hey, Quistis," she said, smiling as she let go of her friend. "Did you sleep well?"

Quistis blushed a little as she remembered what she had dreamed about that night. "Umm… yeah, I did," she replied quickly. Eager to change the subject, Quistis said, "So, what are you and Squall up to?"

"Oh, nothing," Rinoa said, sitting down beside Squall on their blanket and motioning for Quistis to do the same.

Quistis took the offered seat, and Squall waved a greeting at her as she did. "Hey, Quistis," he said, glancing in her direction.

Quistis looked at Squall and said, "Good morning, Squall. How you feeling today?"

"Pretty good," he responded. Wow, Quistis thought to herself. He actually responded with more than one word! Rinoa really is having a positive influence on him!

Once Quistis got over the shock of Squall actually answering a question with more than one word, she turned to Rinoa. "Rinoa," she said, "mind if I drag you off for a second?"

Rinoa saw the look on Quistis's face, and knew right away what she wanted to talk about. "Sure," she said. "Squall, I'll be right back," she said to her boyfriend. "Don't disappear on me, all right?"

"Sure," Squall responded. "Don't be gone too long." He took Rinoa's hand into his own and kissed it before she walked off with Quistis.

Once Quistis thought she and Rinoa were out of Squall's range of hearing, she said to Rinoa, "All right, who is that, and what have you done with the real Squall Leonhart?"

Rinoa laughed at Quistis's statement. "He has changed, hasn't he?" She looked back towards where Squall was sitting, and a warm smile spread across her face. "I can still remember when he wouldn't even say more than two words to me at a time unless it was absolutely necessary."

Quistis grinned as she compared the way Squall was before he had met Rinoa, and the way he was now that Rinoa was in his life. She definitely has been a positive influence on him, she thought to herself. Then she remembered what she had wanted to ask Rinoa. "Rinoa," Quistis asked, smoothing out her face before she continued, "do you have any idea on how to keep Shiva from disappearing the next time she's summoned?"

Rinoa got a serious look on her face, and said, "I've been trying to come up with an idea, but so far I've only been able to think of one thing that may work."

Quistis looked Rinoa right in the eye, and said "What? What were you thinking of doing?"

"Well," Rinoa started, "I would need to borrow Shiva's orb from you. Then, I summon Shiva. When she appears, I'll try to concentrate all of my powers into her. If everything goes well, she should be here permanently."

Quistis looked at her friend again, and gave her an appreciative hug. "Thank you so much for doing this for me," Quistis said. "I won't ever be able to repay you for this."

"Ahh, don't worry about it," Rinoa said, waving her hand in a dismissive gesture. "Just invite Squall and I to the wedding." The two smiled and made small talk as they returned to the blanket where Squall was sitting.

Meanwhile, back at the Garden, Selphie sat in her room, trying her best to figure out how she could help Rinoa with summoning Shiva permanently. I may not be able to help with the actual summoning of Shiva, Selphie thought to herself, but there must be something that I can do! She paced back and forth across her room, thinking of and discarding ideas with each step. Suddenly, she realized something that she hadn't even thought of before. Shiva's going to need some clothes, Selphie realized with a start. She can't very well go around looking the way she does when she's summoned! Selphie, glad that she had finally found some way that she could help Quistis and Rinoa with Shiva, began to search through her closet for something that might fit Shiva.

Selphie still had her head stuck in her closet when there was a knock at the door. "Come in!" she yelled, still searching through the closet.

The door opened to admit Selphie's boyfriend, Irvine. "Hey, baby," he said, with his usual cocky tone of voice, "what are you up to now?"

Quick, think up a lie, and for Hyne's sake, make it a good one! Selphie thought to herself before she answered. "I'm… I'm looking for clothes I don't need anymore to give away," she said quickly. Good, Selphie thought to herself. And it's the truth, too.

Irvine, typical to his nature, said, "Well, what about those clothes you're wearing? I don't think you really need them anymore…"

Selphie gave an exasperated sigh, turned around to face Irvine, and said, "Irvine, enough with the innuendoes already."

Irvine held his hands up in defeat, knowing that Selphie was getting angry. "All right, all right," he said, "I'm sorry. I'll be good, I swear."

Selphie silently thanked Hyne as she turned back around to look through the clothes in her closet. "What did you come here for, anyways, Irvine?" she asked as she tossed an old dress over her shoulder.

Irvine almost made a crude joke after Selphie asked her question, but thought better of it and said instead, "Quistis and Rinoa just got back to the Garden with Squall a few minutes ago. They told me to tell you to meet them outside the Training Center as soon as possible."

"Oh, all right," Selphie said, knowing right away what the two women wanted to talk to her about. "Well, I'm not really getting anything done right now, so I may as well go and meet them now." She walked towards the door, pausing to give Irvine a light kiss before she left. "Thanks for delivering the message, Irvy."

"Any time, Sefie," Irvine said, using the childhood nickname everyone had used for her. "See you later."

"See ya," Selphie said, waving goodbye as she walked off towards the training center.

Quistis and Rinoa were standing outside the entrance to the training center making idle small talk when they saw Selphie coming from the direction of the dorm rooms. Selphie waved at them when she saw them, and Quistis and Rinoa waved back in acknowledgement. When Selphie finally got near enough to them so that they would be able to hear her, she said, "Hey, there. What did you guys want?"

Rinoa answered. "We're going to go through with the summoning of Shiva on the next full moon, which is one week from today." Rinoa motioned for the other two women to follow her, and she began walking into the training center, keeping her voice low so that no one could hear what she said. "We're going to do it in a small clearing I found in the forest right in front of the Fire Cavern."

"What about the monsters that live there?" Selphie asked.

"I'm going to borrow Diablos from Squall and use the Encounter None ability," Rinoa said. "That way we won't have to worry about being attacked by any monsters before we can finish summoning Shiva."

"All right, what then?" Quistis asked.

"Like I said before, I'm going to need to borrow Shiva's orb from you," Rinoa went on. "I'll summon Shiva, and concentrate all my power into her. Hopefully, with the amount of power she'll have in her, she'll be able to break the hold the orb has on her, and she'll be free to live in our world just like any other normal human."

"Will there be anything I can do during the summoning?" Quistis asked.

"No," Rinoa said. "But after Shiva is summoned, you should make sure she's as comfortable as possible. I imagine that after the summoning is over that she'll be completely exhausted."

"I can bring a cloak or something to cover her up for when we bring her back to the Garden," Selphie said. "Wouldn't do for someone to see us walking into the Garden holding up a barely conscious GF."

"Good idea," Rinoa said.

"Wait a second," Quistis said as a thought popped into her head. "Will she be able to stand the warm temperatures around here? I mean, she is an ice-based GF, after all."

"I wouldn't worry about that," Rinoa said. "Once the summoning is complete, she should physically be just like any other human… except for the blue skin, of course."

Both Selphie and Quistis giggled at that. "I wouldn't have it any other way," Quistis said. "What do you say we go to Balamb City and get something to eat? My treat." The other two women agreed immediately, and they all walked out of Garden and headed towards the city.

After spending a few hours talking and laughing over their meals, Quistis, Rinoa, and Selphie decided to call it a night. Once they returned to the Garden, they all said their goodbyes and went to their dorm rooms. When Rinoa walked through the door to the room that she now shared with Squall, she was surprised to find that Squall was still awake. "What have you been up to?" Squall asked as soon as Rinoa walked through the door.

Rinoa nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard Squall's voice. She hadn't thought that Squall would have waited up for her. "Nothing," she said, trying to sound nonchalant. "Quistis, Selphie and I just went out for dinner, that's all."

"That's not all you three have been up to lately," Squall said. "What are you planning?"

"What makes you thinking we're planning something?" she asked, trying to keep her voice level. At the same time, though, she was thinking, Oh, Hyne, what does he know? Did he overhear us talking this afternoon?

"Quistis was more depressed than I've ever seen her in my entire life," Squall said, getting up and starting to pace across the room. "Then, you take her into the washroom of a restaurant, talk to her for about ten minutes, and she's suddenly acting like a kid that just got some extra dessert after dinner." Squall stopped pacing and turned to look Rinoa directly in the face. "No one comes out of a depression that deep that fast without a really good reason. I just want to know what Quistis's reason was."

Rinoa stood there with her head bowed for a second, trying to figure out if she should tell Squall the whole truth. Well, she eventually thought, he's going to find out sooner or later. May as well be now. "Squall, you may want to sit down before I tell you this."

Squall sat down in a nearby chair, and Rinoa pulled up another one so that she was sitting directly in front of him. "All right, I'm sitting down," Squall said. "Now what are the three of you planning?"

Rinoa cleared her throat, and said, "We're going to summon Shiva."

Squall looked at her like she had just said that she was going to eat breakfast tomorrow morning. "You're going to summon Shiva?" he asked. "What's with all the secrecy then?"

"Well," Rinoa said, sounding more nervous by the second, "we're going to summon Shiva… permanently."

Squall looked at her, confusion etched on his face. "Permanently?" he said. "What do you mean permanently?"

Rinoa then launched into the story of how Shiva had come to Quistis in a dream, and all about the plan to summon Shiva so that she could stay on their plane of existence permanently. When she finally finished, she sat back in her chair, drained from the telling of the story. "Well," Rinoa said, "what do you have to say on the subject?"

Squall ran a hand through his hair, trying to gather his thoughts and let what Rinoa told him sink in. "Well," he began, "I think that you already know that I'm going to say that I don't like the idea of you trying this. One or all of you might end up getting hurt."

"I know that, Squall," Rinoa said, "but I made a promise to Quistis, and I intend to keep it."

Squall saw the determined look on Rinoa's face, and realized that no matter what he said to her, there would be no talking her out of the course of action she had chosen. "Fine," he said finally after a long silence, "go ahead and do it. But I don't have to like it."

Rinoa jumped out of the chair she was sitting in and nearly knocked Squall over with a hug. "Thanks, Squall," she said.

Squall didn't say anything. He just returned Rinoa's hug, knowing that she would be as careful as she possibly could while fulfilling her promise to Quistis. When he was sure that she was asleep, he gently put her into their bed, and crawled in beside her, following her into sleep.

One Week Later…

Rinoa, Selphie, and Quistis were all gathered in the clearing that Rinoa had found in the forest near the Fire Cavern. Selphie had an old blanket to wrap Shiva in once she had been summoned. Rinoa had been preparing herself all week by resting, since the she knew the summoning would most likely completely exhaust her. Quistis was almost biting her fingernails in anticipation of Shiva being summoned. I hope she'll be all right, Quistis kept on thinking over and over. After walking for what seemed like forever to Quistis, the three women finally reached the clearing.

"All right, here we are," Rinoa announced. She turned to Quistis and said, "Quistis, I'm going to need Shiva's orb now."

Quistis took Shiva's orb and handed it over to Rinoa, who junctioned it right away. "Is there anything else that I can do?" Quistis asked, anxious to see Shiva soon.

"No," Rinoa replied. "Just stand back while I'm summoning Shiva. As soon as I'm done, you should take the blanket from Selphie and make Shiva as comfortable as possible."

Selphie put a reassuring hand on Quistis' shoulder and said, "Hey, don't worry. Everything will turn out all right."

Quistis smiled at Selphie, glad for her friend's reassurances. "Thanks, Selphie," Quistis said.

Rinoa then moved to the center of the clearing. "All right, you may want to stand back now," she said to her friends. Quistis and Selphie backed up to the edge of the clearing, giving Rinoa as much room as they possibly could while still being able to see what was going on. Rinoa then assumed her usual stance for summoning a GF, and concentrated.

As Selphie and Quistis looked on, the air in front of Rinoa began to shimmer, and Shiva began to appear. After a few short seconds, the ice GF was fully visible. Rinoa then began to concentrate even harder, and a light began to emanate from her, growing to surround her and Shiva. The light kept on growing brighter and brighter, becoming so bright that Selphie and Quistis had to look away.

Rinoa kept on concentrating, pouring more and more of her power into Shiva. Eventually, Rinoa felt something change in the GF, and realized that she had been successful. She cut off the flow of power from herself to Shiva, collapsing to the ground in exhaustion.

Quistis and Selphie, suddenly realizing that the light that had lit up the clearing a minute before was now gone, removed their hands from their eyes and turned around to look where Rinoa was. When they looked, Selphie immediately noticed that Rinoa had fallen to the ground, apparently completely exhausted. The first thing Quistis noticed, however, was Shiva, laying on the ground beside Rinoa, apparently in the same condition.

"Shiva!" Quistis yelled, running over to the GF's side. Quistis kneeled on the ground beside her, and cradled Shiva's head in her lap. Quistis brushed a hand against Shiva's cheek, being as gentle as possible.

At Quistis's touch, Shiva's eyes fluttered open. "Q…Quistis?" she said, her voice barely a whisper. "Did it work?"

Quistis gave a hoarse laugh, and kissed Shiva lightly on the forehead. "Yeah," Quistis said, barely able to hold back the tears of joy that were threatening to overwhelm her. "Yeah, it worked."

The next few minutes were a blur to Quistis. She only vaguely remembered Selphie casting Curaga on Rinoa and Shiva, and could barely recall Selphie handing her the blanket to wrap up Shiva with so they could sneak her back into the Garden. She felt Selphie touch her lightly on the shoulder, telling her that they should all get going before they were missed. Quistis got up, and held an arm tightly around Shiva's shoulders to support her as they walked back to the Garden, Selphie doing the same for Rinoa.

Quistis was fairly surprised when Shiva spoke up as they walked back to the Garden. "Quistis," she said, "I hope you don't mind me sleeping in tomorrow morning."

Quistis just smiled and tightened her hold on Shiva a little. "Don't worry. You can sleep as long as you want." The four walked the rest of the way back to the Garden in silence, Quistis and Shiva with a content smile on their faces.


With a little luck, Quistis, Selphie, and Rinoa managed to sneak Shiva back into the Garden without arousing anyone's suspicion. Quistis went back to her room with Shiva, and Selphie helped Rinoa back to her room. When Selphie and Rinoa walked in, they found Squall waiting.

As soon as he saw them walk in, Squall got up and helped Rinoa, thanking Selphie for bringing her this far. He walked her over to the bed, and she immediately fell over, still feeling completely drained. "So, how'd it go?" Squall asked, brushing some hair out of Rinoa's face.

"Perfectly," Rinoa said, giving a weak smile. "Quistis took Shiva back to her room as soon as we got back."

Squall smiled, and said, "I'm glad everything worked out."

Rinoa looked up at him, and said, "You hardly ever smile. You should do it more often."

"I hardly ever have a reason to," Squall said.

"Well, I guess I'm going to have to change that," Rinoa said. She grabbed Squall by his shirt and dragged him down onto the bed beside her. She wrapped her arms around him and they eventually fell into a blissful sleep.

Meanwhile, back in Quistis's room, her and Shiva were lying in bed together, Shiva staring intently into Quistis's eyes. "I feel like this is some sort of wonderful dream," Shiva said. "It's like I'll wake up when it gets to the best part."

Quistis reached up and lightly pinched Shiva's arm. "I'm still here, aren't I?" she said.

"Yeah," Shiva said, smiling. She pulled closer to Quistis and kissed her gently on the lips.

"You know," Quistis said, more seriously, "we're eventually going to have to explain this to everyone."

"Yeah, I know," Shiva said. "But let's not think about that for now. Let's just relax for now."

"I like that idea," Quistis said. The two women got as close together as they possibly could, so that not even air could fit between them. "You know," Quistis said, "I'm going to be saying this a lot now, so I'd better get started."

"Going to be saying what a lot now?" Shiva asked, running a hand through Quistis's hair.

"I love you, that's what," Quistis answered.

Shiva smiled, and said, "I love you, too, Quisty." The two women kissed passionately, not wanting to ever stop. They eventually fell asleep, not caring that tomorrow they would have a lot of explaining to do. They didn't care what people would think about them. They were in love, as deeply in love as any two people had ever been, and that's all that really counts.

The End!

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