Sleep wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Then again, neither was insomnia.

The dreams that kept him up were vivid--flashes of blood (the color of red that only oxygen-introduced blood could be) spurts out of veins and arteries of friends and enemies, of hair and little dresses (like chocobo down, or flowers, or cheap fabric from a thrift store; all of the things that made him think yellow), of dirt plains or a large duster (wandering, wandering, looking for something never found; a coat without a person inside), and feathers. The feathers killed him the slowest, you see, for one would drift down from the sky, onto the dirt plain, next to the coat and dressed stained with blood, and it would take it's sweet time, like he wasn't waiting for it, like he had the time to wait. Lazily it would catch a wind gust downward, weaving in and out of grasp, like it was playing games with him. And the feather, with him watching the whole time, watching with wide eyes and a dormant heart, would float down to the dirt and, finally, land still...and then the whole world burst, covered by flowers and feathers, the sky a lovely backdrop to the field--and someone was standing there. A young woman, her raven hair down, her arms lazily hanging by her sides, her clothing fluttering in the breeze that he couldn't feel, only see. And, like he'd given out some silent signal to her, she'd turn around, a greeting weighing on her lips. She would cross her arms stubbornly, trying to contain herself, to refrain from flinging her whole weight upon him.

"I've been waiting for you," she'd say, her mocha eyes warming up her smile.

"Why?"

Her mouth turned down. "Don't you remember? Like we promised. If something happened, we'd wait here. Isn't that why you're here, Squall?"

Squall.

With that one word, his name, the dream dissolved into pools of black and he'd jolt up, eyes widened. Words, thoughts, feelings--all would escape him until the finer points of the dream were gone, and all he could remember were the afterthoughts.

A dress...a coat...the ground...the feathers...there were people. But he couldn't see faces.

Except for one. One face scorched through his countenance. A young woman. Raven hair, hanging down, a breeze, chocolate eyes...

She was waiting for him. He'd never met her. And she was waiting for him, because they'd promised. Leon shoved the blankets off the bed, Traverse Town was unreasonably cold (or maybe not unreasonably, what with the constant lack of sun), grabbed his gunblade without a second thought, and shoved his way out of the hotel. The chain that hung around his neck bounced without sound; however, the one at the end of his gunblade chinked with every movement. Two pendants of the same thing. Some sort of monster, a lion maybe. The same emblem was imprinted on his clothing, like such a big part of him that he couldn't remember. It wasn't the only strange hole in his memory. Across his forehead, right between his stormy eyes, lay a puckered scar, the kind you would remember getting. He had no recollection. Maybe he'd hit his head, or got hit with something. Some explanation that would account for memory loss, a blow to the head. But the problem--Leon was fairly certain what had caused a cut like that. The precision, the clean cut, the angle...a gunblade. You'd think you'd remember something like that. And how did he know the specifics of an injury he couldn't remember?

Leon sent his waves of frustration at the heartless. He pounded them, sliced them in half, and watched them disappear in a burst of darkness. More, more, more--and it still wasn't enough. Fighting was so second nature to him that he didn't need to think, and that's when the insomnia set in. And with nothing better to do, his mind wandered.

Crawling through some...sewer? Dark creatures, like flat shadows raised off of a page, somehow stood erect in front of him. Something inside of him clicked, and he knew what to do before even assessing the situation. A new form of magic, drawn from his enemy, was coursing through him. Life. Life from these shadows.

What the hell was that? Those dark creatures, they were like no heartless he'd ever encountered. And magic had never been his thing, especially stealing it from enemies.

Floating in an expanse of black, prinpicks of starlight the only sign that there is anything at all, as he turns wildly, weightlessly, looking for something, someone, her. There she is, flipping heels over head, slowly, coming slowly towards him, and he holds out his arms until she's trapped safely inside, and he can see her, eyes closed, beneath the helmet...

He slashed harder, right through the back of a Defender, taking it's legs off right before it exploded into the dark wisps that erected it's body.

There wasn't much left in him, and as he slumped, knee against the ground. Something in his mind stirred, crackling, wings sweeping through his brain, memories turning to dust like the old, brittle pages that lined the Headmaster's office, and lightning flashed across the storm of his eyes; it engulfed him, and when he opened his mouth to scream a torrent of electrical power spilled out, and the thunder beast opened it's wings and in the flash that followed, everything was gone.

Nothing saw him coming up from behind; he was as stealthy as a lion, as deadly with his blade as if he'd been trained that way.

The clicking was heels against a ballroom floor was hardly comforting, not like the click of the trigger, the muffled sound of the sizzling bullets making contact with the air, with the target. But the uniform was a proud thing, and he stood regal in it, back straight and posture still. From across the room he accidentally catches the eye of a young woman--her coffee irises as lit up with the stars as her face--and she points upward, at a shooting star, like it's the most magical thing in the world, rather than some lunar anomaly. She comes strutting towards him, grinning, and her dress is the color of gentle cream, and he can't wrap his mind around any of it as she tells him that he's the best looking guy there.

There was something wrong with him, he was going insane and there was no one to tell, because no one had been there with him--just him, and a black-haired angel, if the feathers were any clue, and yellow dresses with stolen hats and an empty duster, and strands of blonde hair on gloves and glasses--and he wondered if insanity could be brought about by watching everything around you dissipate, and he must be, if animals can talk, and keys can be blades, and Yuffie could be smiling, and Cid could still have a liver, and Aerith could be so damn calm all of the time and he could see things that had never been, and would never be, because the only garden there had ever been was radiant, and full of flowers, not seeds.

Leon wonders who Squall really was, and carves up more darkness, feeling it burst at the end of his blade, and wonders why he can't help thinking that it's the end and he's on his own.

0-FIN-0

Random character sketch between FF8 and KH Squall. It doesn't really mean much, but whatever. It's fanfiction.

For those of you who care, yes I am working on Remnants. Just not very quickly.