Disclaimer- I do not, in any shape or form own Final Fantasy VIII, SquareEnix or any affiliates. (duh!)

Spoilers- Final Fantasy VIII (double duh!) and Kingdom Hearts (Minor)


It was an afternoon to remember. Some for the highlight of their days, others, for the lowest, darkest portion of their lives. It was the day Headmaster Cid Kramer passed away.

Cid was never one to hide behind barriers when the truth needed to be told. At least, he knew that he never wanted to. But times like these, it was absolutely necessary. The truth had to be hidden, in order for the rest of the world to live, not burdened with the knowledge that could eventually destroy millions. Perhaps the entire world itself.

So he hid the truth behind false smiles, false words of confidence that if such a thing was hidden, no one would know. That the danger would dissipate as if it never existed. After all, Ignorance is Bliss. This instance however, was not such a time for ignorance. Nor lies, deceit and hidden agendas. For the world was ending as they knew it, and they were unprepared.

Squall Leonhart was one of the few people who knew this secret because, despite Cid's undying urge to keep it hidden, he had to tell someone. This was eating himself from within and he knew if it were not told to a man, willingly, it would come out to someone whom the Headmaster could not trust. It would spread throughout like a virus, causing panic, riots, and the beginning to a known end. A slow end for the world.

If it was his goal to prevent panic from breaking out into the world, he failed because once they came, people panicked anyway.

Somewhat ironically, he failed the moment he died. He was so concentrated on risking his life in order to save the world that he was unwilling to think that with his death, came the end of the world.

Martine was something of an equal to Cid. He was a self-righteous bastard, somewhat idiotic but he was also innocent. He was never exposed to the dangerous game of Politics simply because; he had others to do so for him. Now and then he drabbled in the depth of world affairs but he had no experience as Cid would. That was both his downfall and salvation.

Because of his naïve thoughts about Sorceress Edea, he was removed from Headmaster status, something that he believed to be the end of his world. He was a crumbling man, living in a small house—if it could be called a house—made of stray pieces of metal, nailed haphazardly through intoxication in the favelas of Fisherman's Horizon. He lived emptily, as if nothing at all could wake him. Until the news reached him.

They were never really quite friends, Martine and Cid. More like schoolyard enemies fighting for attention. Though, attention from different sources. Martine yearned for the power and strength of a king while Cid yearned for a life with his wife, in quiet…peaceful Centra. Both succeeded in doing the opposite.

That very night, the former Headmaster of Galbadia Garden sat on the edge of the harbour. The moon shining down full strength on him, soft waves of the sea lapping on his dirty, worn dress shoes. He looked up and saw nothing…just water…and distance. Lonely to the end, he stuck his hands into his deep ratty pockets, searching for the one thing that could aid in his survival. It glinted in the dim light as he pulled it out, almost breathing a sigh of relief as his hands closed on the cool metal of it. The soft leather that was still fragrant, faintly so…but still lingering. He admired it, his ravenous eyes searching each crevice.

This was his salvation. He knew it to be true. It was the one thing that guaranteed him everlasting life. Closing his eyes, he lifted it up to his chest, right over his softly beating heart.

It was fitting.

His heart slowed to a leisurely walking pace, as if it had no idea it were about to stop.

Beating so softly…as if it wasn't beating at all.

All this time…it probably wasn't. Not even close.

I was dead inside.

No one would miss me.

It wouldn't matter if he was gone because simply…he was already dead. His life was gone from him, destroyed, ruined like ashes after a blaze.

The Garden was my life.

I guess I haven't really lived at all.

Too bad I won't have any time to make up for it.

Maybe she'll take me back?

No…girl like that…probably already taken once I left her.

It's over for me.

He took a breath…then plunged himself into the ocean.

I'm gone…

Slowly, floating on the soft waves of the sea, Martine's Headmaster badge made its way out to the ocean. Ultimately carried on the tides of time.

He was horribly wrong. His death affected more than his own life. The world was already on edge from Cid's death, scared to the brink of insanity that something was coming, bigger than what the Gardens and military had disclosed. Stronger than anything they had ever faced. Stronger than Ultimecia, stronger than the GF's…more than what they could handle.

He was the bridge to chaos and disaster in more ways than one.

Little did he know, he was in fact key to the salvation of the earth, the one true man who would rise up and corral courage and strength in order to destroy the evil that would eventually ensnare the world. Cid's death was the hands which doused the earth in oil and Martine's was the spark that fuelled the flame. Because of his death, none of this will ever happen and the torch would fall on the hands of one person to lend their strength to save humanity.

That person was Laguna Loire.

He fit and created the shoes that Martine was to fill while he fought the storm that washed over the land. Millions of people were killed. Dozens were warped out of existence, their deeds and heroics gone, like stitching picked out of a cloth. This unravelled the clothing of time and with it, came destruction with no chance of rebirth.

Time was slow near the end, as if it itself were prolonging its death in hopes that someone, something would save it. But nothing would come, at least, not in time.

Seifer Almasy, throughout this traumatic event, was no longer fishing in Fisherman's Horizon with his trusty posse. They had taken up arms in the Gardens…at least what was left of them.

Re-instated Instructor, Quistis Trepe was in the board room, plotting the routes of attack with all key personnel.

Headmaster Squall Leonhart was behind enemy lines, captured and tortured for wicked pleasure. His wife, Sorceress Rinoa Heartilly was in the midst of an attack raid, fighting for her life and the life of their unborn child.

Martial Arts Guru, Zell Dincht was training SeeDs in the concepts of pain and battle, handing out weapons to the white faced teenagers reassuring them. His long-time girlfriend, Airelia was in the room beside them, storing the treasured books inside vaults for safe keeping.

Selphie Tilmitt, fighter pilot for the new line of Ragnorok X5-100 was in the sky, trading canon fire with the flying creatures. Bright, startlingly golden eyes contrasted with its pitch black skin. If it could be called skin. With an oily sheen, it certainly did not look the part.

Irvine Kinneas manned one of those firing canons until a fireball blew open the Armoury carriage, leaving him fighting for his life with a large, black winged creature.

It was at this time when the world stopped in its axis, clock hands halted and lives ended. It was at this time when the Heartless ate the world up, swallowing dreams, love and memories. Destroying them completely until they were little more than an addition to the shadowy depths.

Airelia! Don't leav-

I can't breathe—Hyne…Irvy help m-

It was fun Raij, Fuj…It wa-

My baby…Hyne…what's going to happen? Squ-

I failed…some leader…some instructor…

Is this the end? Sefie? Wher-

Despite Laguna's brave heroics, the world collapsed on itself, vanishing suddenly. As if it were a dim light blinking out, fading forever into the darkness. Everything should have been erased but the shadows erred in one respect. They let one live.

The definition of living has many holes, some gaping, others miniscule. So minute that not even Hyne himself could fix them.

Still in existence

The experience of living; the course of human events and activities

The condition of living or the state of being alive

Was he 'still in existence'? Yes…physically.

Was he still alive, breathing, speaking, watching, feeling? Yes.

However, they never mention the quality of life, the continuum of the ages. He was gone, alive only by chance, in a different world, something he had never seen before, something he had never witnessed. But he found new friends who accepted him yet knew nothing of what he saw. He made a life there, though; he was now younger than he was supposed to be.

Then one day, while he was sitting beside the sparkling fountain, something stirred within him. Something so startlingly familiar he was compelled to look down in the forbidden depths of the castle to see what could be causing this. For good measure, he brought his gunblade with him.

What he found were things from his nightmares, creatures he had never wanted to see again. They drudged up frightening dreams and painful memories of loss. Shock overcame him as they started towards him. Their familiar eyes locked on him. He could almost feel the pain they cited on him what felt like generations ago.

The Heartless were back.

He took his new founded friends and bolted out, leaving his second home to the hands of darkness. From then on, Squall Leonhart, Former Commander and Headmaster of the once supreme Balamb Garden made a firm promise to his friends, his wife and unborn child.

The Heartless would be destroyed, so completely that everything would be restored. It didn't matter if he were to die in this journey because then, at least he would see them again. Cid, Edea, Rinoa, Zell, Selphie Irvine, Quistis…even Seifer.

With a new beginning came a new name. And he changed it as so, there was little to remind him of his past, save the tiniest memory dancing in the farthest corners of his mind. It was a memory full of loss but yet, it was his most important.

"Squall!!!" He couldn't believe his eyes. Was that…no…it really couldn't be. It was impossible! It wasn't until they stood and stood no more than two meters in front of him when he realized they were there. The feeling was…odd…and unfamiliar.

Selphie's grey-green eyes sparkled with happiness her lips pulled back in a full-fledged grin, exposing small, pearly white teeth. She adjusted her small yellow dress and made a wide but delicate wave with her hand. His gaze went on to the woman behind her.

Tall and blonde, Quistis adjusted her glasses and gave the small smile. Despite what he assumed they had been through, the former instructor was fairly clean of dirt and oil, as opposed to Irvine.

His dark yellow jacket was smudged heavily, somewhat charred near the edges. A charming grin appeared across his slightly feminine features. He tipped his hat at all three of them. Clearly relieved. Dirt smudged on his cheek and forehead, but he did little to acknowledge it.

"Hey, Selphie. Quistis, Irvine. It's great to see you guys." Squall greeted, the tiniest of smiles formed on his lips, threatening to grow. But he kept it small, in an effort to hide his relief.

"Say," The dirty cowboy began, looking directly at him. "What happened to the Garden?" That grin he wore grew when Squall responded. Rinoa's did too. Her face beaming with pride and contentment. "The Garden is safe."

The scent of the sea was strong; the soft breeze carrying it ruffled their clothes. " Really!!!?" Selphie gasped almost in disbelief. " Whoo-hoo!!!" Her right hand was thrusted up into the air, her right leg pulled upwards in her trademark, celebratory pose. Rinoa exchanged an amused smile with Zell who began to beat at his palm excitedly.

"What happened to you guys?" Squall asked, trying to ignore that contagious feeling of joy. He could feel their questioning eyes diverting away from him. Except one.

Zell shook his head, waving his hand."Yo, let's talk about that later." He nodded in agreement but sighed softly. He could still feel her mocha eyed gaze upon him.

"Zell, Rinoa, why don't you guys take them back to the Garden?" He asked, directing Rinoa more than the martial artist, eyes locking. When she cocked her eyebrow he added, "I'll see you guys later, after I take a look around." Zell nodded but stayed in place for a moment as a comfortable silence settled over them.

Squall Leonhart wasn't supposed to have friends. He wasn't anti-social, really, but he just wasn't able to communicate. He learned long ago that risks are more often rewarded with trouble than good however; he didn't feel much of a temptation to pull away with them. He knew these people. He trusted them. And they trusted back, whether he fully acknowledged it or not.

They were friends now.


Author's Note- I hope you enjoyed this ficcie! If you haven't noticed or played the game Kingdom Hearts, there are obvious spoilers but it pretty much is about Squall becoming Leon. I know it's a little vague, regardless; I would very much appreciate your review. Constructive Criticism is welcome.

Also, I am in need of an editor, anybody interested can contact me via e-mail or review!