Chapter XXXVII- Epilogue
3 Years Later:
"Raine, are you sure about this?" Julia Heartilly asked, concern filling her voice. She watched her friend pack her things into several suitcases in front of her.
Raine sighed for the fifth time that day. "For the last time, yes! Look, you and Zion are getting married next month, and you'll be moving into that sweet mansion the government gave him since he became general. Besides, I'm getting tired of all the fighting. Winhill sounds like a good place to live out the rest of my days."
"But quitting all together? You said you would still command the Pack!" Julia protested.
Raine shook her head, and swung one of her bags over her shoulder. "The Timber Campaign is practically through now. We'll have it under occupation within a few days. I won't be needed after that. You'll do fine if anything come up afterwards. I believe in you."
"'You believe in me'. Well, whoo-hoo! Call the papers!" Julia replied sarcastically, sitting down on their couch inside their small Deling City apartment. Her face frowned. "I still don't want you to go. We'll never see each other."
"Oh for gods sakes..." Raine mumbled, then went over to hug the girl around the shoulders. "I'm still going to talk to you, and visit once and a while. You'll come to see me, right?"
"Of course, you jackass!" Julia nearly yelled back. "I always will. Gods, you in Winhill and Edea in Centra of all places during the summer. You people pick to most desolate spots... I swear."
"Whatever. You'll be busy enough as it is. Commanding Wolf Pack, and doing your little singing thing, Ms. 'Eyes on Me'." Raine laughed then. "Which, I've heard, was written for someone other than Zion!"
"God damned, sons-of-bitches tabloids!" Julia screamed. "You guys push me into talking with a guy who was stalking me when Zion was captured by the Timber army and the tabloid writers go berserk!"
"Didn't you tell that Laguna imbecile it was for him?" Raine asked, smirking.
"Well, I was trapped and couldn't think of anything to say, so I just repeated some stuff I told Zion earlier that year." Julia said. "I'm a very wonderful liar, aren't I? Just don't tell Zion that."
"Well, in high school you die lie about fifty times a day..." Raine replied, laughing.
There was a knock at the door, and though Julia was smirking, Raine went to go open it. She expected it, and it came. The entire Pack and the Excalibur unit was standing in her doorway with food and drinks, ready to throw her a going away party.
"Oh, you losers.... get in here before our neighbors see you." Raine said smirking, and laughed as Andraia Tilmitt and Edea Kramer threw their arms around her in tight hug.
Julia's face burst into a smile and she laughed. Her eyes lit up as she saw Celeste, however. "Oh, Trepe! You and Lancer brought Quistis! I want to play with her again!"
"Hey, she's my god-daughter, it's my turn!" Edea countered, already starting to get into an argument.
Lancer laughed. "My daughter's old a few months old! Give her some recovery time all ready!"
Raine glanced at Jesse and Icelina Almasy, and furrowed her brows. "What, no Seifer?"
"He's a week old! I want him to party, but not so soon, okay? He's staying with his grandparents." Jesse replied sarcastically, throwing an arm around his wife. "Jeez, Raine, that borders on abuse..."
"Oh, shut up, you idiot."
Celeste groaned as most of the Pack kept trying to play with her sleeping daughter. Valuing the time that Quistis was actually asleep, she batted them away with her spare hand. "Go get your own babies!"
Zion laughed and put his arm around Julia. "What are you trying to do, rush us? We aren't even married yet!"
"Oh, gods..." Julia mumbled. "Let's just drop this subject quick..."
Epsilon shook his head and laughed, Jun hanging onto his arm. "Hey, Heartilly, correct me if I'm wrong but, aren't you the one who cracks all the sexual innuendo jokes?"
"Well, yeah, but mine aren't directed at me!" Julia shot back. "Which make mine funny, and makes yours suck."
Aaron Tilmitt and Cid Kramer, content in the back of the room, looked at each other and laughed. Cid had to ask. "Do you guys act like this all the time?"
Corin shook his head, "Nope! Sometimes we can be mean!"
"Shut up, sweetie." Lilliana Dincht said beside him, pushing a tortilla chip into his mouth.
Andraia snuck up to Raine again and threw her arms around her. "Oh! I can't believe Rainy is leaving us! Raine, stay here! It's nice here! I promise I'll stop bugging you!"
Julia and Edea scoffed, and the sorceress replied. "Oh, yeah... sure! Whatever you say, Tilmitt, whatever you say."
The others laughed. Lancer cleared his throat and turned to Raine. "So, boss, what are you going to do down in Winhill?"
"Oh," Raine replied with a smirk. "A distant cousin of mine owns a bar down there and she's lined up a bartender job for me. You guys should stop by when I get settled in."
"Raine? A bartender? I never pictured that!" Lilliana laughed.
Julia laughed harder than she did. "Hey, sweet! You can hook me up now!"
Raine groaned, and pushed Julia into a nearby wall slightly. "You never cease to annoy me, little woman."
"Hey, Material Girl, toss me a brewski, will you?" Epsilon called, knowing the reaction he would get.
Julia growled. "Don't call me that! Just because I happened to get drunk off my ass, jump on a bar, and start singing that, does not make me a material girl!"
As they laughed, Raine could only say what was on her mind. "Gods, I'm going to miss you guys... really."
"Well, don't go then!" Julia protested. "You've got tons of gil stored away from the Virados thing to buy a house! You can stay here. You know you want to!"
Raine thought for her moment, then shook her head. "No... Deling City is too busy for me. I need to get out into the peace and quiet. Winhill is perfect for that."
Andraia frowned deeply. "No! Honey! Make her stay!"
Aaron looked a little shocked. "Me? Try to force the 'Great Leonhart' into doing something she doesn't want? I'll be killed!"
"Yes, you would be." Raine said, smirking.
"Well," Celeste said with a cackle. "the least Heartilly could do is sing for you before you go."
"The hell..?" Julia shot back with a confused glance. "The radio works, turn that on. Eyes on Me never stops."
"We know, we know." Edea said, groaning. "Tell me, why on Terra did you make a mushy pop romance song when you hate that genre?"
"Her undying love for me!" Zion laughed, but Julia elbowed him in the ribs.
Julia shrugged. "I don't know! But, I do know my rocker buddies are never going to let me down for it."
Raine glanced at the clock, and groaned. "Guys... I've got to go. Otherwise, I'm going to get there at four in the morning."
"Oh, man!" Corin exclaimed. "Already?!"
Raine stood up, and grabbed her bags. "Yeah... sorry guys. I'll see you around, okay?"
Andraia and some of the other girls looked like they were going to cry, but they seemed to stay strong. Julia reached back over and gave her a tight hug again, for the umpteenth time that day. Edea followed suit, and soon the entire group enveloped her in a group hug.
"Hey! Who's hand was that?!" Raine yelled, looking accusingly at each one of the guys.
Julia laughed and rubbed Raine's shoulder. She replied with a fake seductive voice. "You never know, Raine..."
Epsilon burst into a smile and pointed to Julia. "See! Sexual innuendo! Told you guys!"
They erupted into laughter again, but Raine edged her way out the door. "Bye, everyone. I'll call you guys when I get there. See you!" And Raine jogged down the hall and to the floor's elevator before anyone could protest. She had now left her old life of commanding and the army behind her, and looked forward to the one that now lay before her. The laid back life that would let her recover from her early hectic army years. Now 22 years old, a full adult, she looked forward to the new chapter of her life.
What lie ahead, was yet to be told.
***********************************************~ Fin ~************************************************