|Pairing:||Squall Leonhart / Rinoa Heartilly|
|Gender category:||m/f het|
|Fandom:||Final Fantasy VIII|
|Prevalence:||most common pairing|
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The pairing of Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly (alternatively, Squinoa) is the main canonical pairing of the 1999 video game Final Fantasy VIII. An artistic rendition of their embrace is on the cover of the game.
Relationship in canon
Final Fantasy VIII
Squall first encounters Rinoa at the Balamb Garden SeeD inauguration ball, held to honor the promotion of the four Balamb Garden students (Squall, Selphie Tilmitt, Zell Dincht, and Nida) who passed the SeeD exam during a battle in Dollet. Squall has no interest in interacting with others at the party and stays in a corner. Rinoa first approaches him at this time, teasing and flirting with him and goading him to join her on the dance floor. He reluctantly accepts.
Their dance is initially awkward. They fail to anticipate each others' motions and bump into surrounding dancers, but Rinoa insists on trying again and again. As the waltz reaches its conclusion they are entirely in tune with each other. As it ends, she leaves him as quickly as she meets him. She hurries quickly away to meet with Balamb Garden Headmaster Cid Kramer.
Later, Squall, Selphie, and Zell are assigned on their first mission to the city of Timber, which been under occupation by Galbadia for many years. They are to rendezvous with a resistance group known as the Forest Owls. Squall and the others meet Rinoa again after Squall is asked by the Forest Owls to awaken the "princess" from her nap. When he awakens Rinoa, she recognizes him from the dance and leaps into his arms in joy. She formally introduces herself and her dog, Angelo.
The SeeDs join a strategy meeting with Rinoa and the Forest Owls. They discover with consternation that she successfully negotiated a contract for their services until Timber achieves independence from Galbadia. The others convey a convoluted plan to kidnap the Galbadian President, Vinzer Deling, who is believed to be coming to the city. Squall and the others are aghast at Rinoa's amateurish behavior and the unprofessionalism of the resistance group as a whole. As professionals they continue to resolve to support her. The SeeDs successfully assist the Forest Owls in kidnapping Deling only to learn that they had instead captured a monstrous body double who engages them in battle. In retaliation for their attack, Galbadia imposes martial law in Timber and destroys the Forest Owls' train headquarters. As they move about the city, Rinoa learns that Vinzer Deling is in fact in Timber and intends to use the defunct broadcasting station to make an announcement. She attempts to convince Squall to assault the broadcasting station in order to announce that Timber was in fact declaring independence from Galbadia, but his lack of respect for her leads her to cancel the plan instead. She tells him condescendingly that they have no stake in Timber's independence anyways, and she shouldn't expect them to share her enthusiasm.
Kingdom Hearts series
At the end of Kingdom Hearts II, Squall (as Leon) is implied to have received a letter from Rinoa.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
Dissidia: Final Fantasy Opera Omnia
Rinoa is summoned into a flower field in the world of respite by the goddess Materia. She chances upon Onion Knight, who is walking with several other warriors in search of a hopelessly lost Laguna Loire. The warriors lead her back to the main contingent of warriors when Squall first notices her. Rinoa runs eagerly to his side and they warmly reunite. Squall expresses regret that the goddess roped her into this conflict, but Rinoa assures him that she would much rather be with him - and that she would be fine, so long as they are together.
Treatment in fandom
The authenticity and long-term viability of the relationship between Squall and Rinoa is subject to controversy in the fandom. Other ships that involve Squall (such as Squall/Seifer) are often placed post-canon after Squall and Rinoa have broken up.
Squall also appears in the Kingdom Hearts series, where Rinoa's absence in his life is alluded to as a persistent source of his grief. Among other things, the back of his jacket sports red wings which resemble the white angel wings on the back of Rinoa's duster. Fanfiction involving "Leon" in Kingdom Hearts sometimes includes Rinoa even though she has not appeared canonically in the series.
The list below is non-exhaustive.
- Growing Pains by Lunar_Manar on AO3
- Guardian by astrangerenters on AO3 (a crossover AU in the Final Fantasy X universe, imagining Rinoa as Tidus and Squall as Yuna)
Post-canon relationship interactions:
- the lotus eater by irishais and Jessicamariek on AO3 (Squall and Rinoa divorce, with Squall marrying Quistis Trepe)