A whisper in the wind. A vision entrapped in the peripheral. A phantom figure lingering on the fringes of memory, a cold and warm sensation that strikes the bottom of his heart. A flicker of a memory: faint, but there, and evocative like none other. Someone from long ago. Someone from his childhood. The one who left him alone.
You were always looking
for Ellone with tears
in your eyes...
Ellone appears to Squall sporadically, assuredly recognises him even while he doesn't—can't—offer her the same in return. She unnerves both he and "Quisty", but is ushered off by the White SeeDs before either can say a word in edgewise. Squall recalls that she'd watched over him while he'd lain in the medical ward, slightly dazed, just days before; but something more than that recent recollection gnaws at his memory.
And then another trip into Laguna's mind yields a clue: a little girl, whom Laguna has fondly nicknamed "Elle". She's an orphan living in a small town called Winhill with a kindly woman named Raine. Laguna, Raine and Elle live together almost as a family, though only Elle seems to want to admit to it.
The Galbadia and Balamb gardens are attacked; Squall and the others barely manage to save Balamb by unlocking the hidden transportation device beneath it. The garden crashes into the ocean, and presently is confronted by a strange ship. The ship's crew are dressed in white and call themselves SeeDs. The ship belongs to the sorceress Edea, Headmaster Cid's wife, and he greets them. They warn him that "the girl" must be moved. Much to his surprise, Cid asks Squall to find the girl Ellone—the same girl from Laguna's world—and is convinced that Squall knows her.
Squall finds Ellone in the library. She greets him as if she's known him forever. Squall is confused, asks her if she's the Ellone from their 'dream world', the Ellone whom was all but Laguna's adopted daughter. She admits that she is the one and the same, and that the dream world they experience is nothing less than the past. Squall grows angry: is she the one responsible for sending him into Laguna's mind? Why is she doing it? Why chose him? Ellone can offer nothing but apologies.
(What Ellone said
under her breath was...
You're my only hope.)
Yet again, Squall found himself in the last situation he ever wanted to deal with: being relied upon. First Quistis relying on him for support, then his team members choosing him—against his better judgement—to be their leader, and then Rinoa linking his arm in her's, forcing him to promise to protect her as long as she remained by his side...Squall is overwhelmed, and angry. What about what he wants? Doesn't that matter?
In his denial of everyone around him, Squall has become self-obsessed. But this behaviour could have stemmed from an attitude built when he was just a child. Quistis, straining to remember memories made distant by time and the memory-stealing GFs, can with surety remember an image of a young Squall following his older sis around like a puppy dog, and her lavishing just as much attention on him in return.
I remember those
eyes...You just looked at me
with the same eyes you had
when you were little.
Perhaps Ellone's apologies are not given for her having left, but for the profound and disastrous effect she unintentionally had on him, clear as day to her in the stark contrast of the child she knew and the young man she is now faced with.
Perhaps Squall was less inclined to give others a chance after her because of how perfect she had been to him: loving and attention-giving, she'd provided him an unrealistic picture of reality at his young and impressionable age which he would then use to structure his idea of what all people were like after her sudden departure, unforgettably cruel in its mysteriousness, from his life.
Squall doesn't blame Ellone. All the same, Ellone feels responsible for him. She sees what's become of her younger brother and is less than thrilled. What happened to the loving child she once knew? Was she really that important to him—so important that he had to transform into this unrecognisable person? Apologies spill from her mouth like a waterfall. She blames herself.
That's why, when Squall professes his love for Rinoa, so unexpectedly and raucously, she agrees to use her powers to help him, even knowing she's likely to fail: she doesn't know Rinoa, and her powers can only show the past of those whom she knows. The experience exhausts the limits of her abilities. But she finds Rinoa, the Rinoa of the nearest past, and in doing so helps the knight save his Sorceress—helps free both she and him from the bonds the past had tied taught between them.