The Protector

Harry Potter and Final Fantasy VIII Crossover.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything! Not HP or Final Fantasy VIII. If I did Ginny (scary-obsession) and Rinoa (Whinny-perky-princess) would have died a death before they existed.

Summary: Squall meets a strange boy while out training, forming a connection with him. It's a friendship that will turn the tide of war and a love that changes the world. HPxSL. Lion Pair!

Note: Harry is the GF Fallen Mage. A non-elemental based offensive attack and provides protection for the caster(s). Known to KO enemies, he also grants the use of 3rd level magics to his user with the said user not having to have the magic in stock. Eg. Use Firaga even if user doesn't have it in their magic stock.

Warnings: Rinoa bashing, slightQuistisbashing, Boys on boys, kissing, making out. Maybe even (gasp!) .Power plays. My crazy ideas...

Pairings: HarryxSquall, SelphiexIrvine, ZellxLibrary Girl, slight Irvine-being-a-manwhore-and-flirting-with-Harry...

AN: The Happy Ending that we all want.

Chapter 12:

It feels like Home.


Squall didn't know how to feel about the way his life was changing. Two years had passed since they defeated Sorceress Ultimecia. Four years since Harry, literally, disappeared from his arms. Squall, in turn, had become Commander of Balamb Garden. By mutual decision, a Garden was to be built in Esthar, with the help of the Estharian Government. And Headmasters Cid and Pres, and Headmistress Quistis had chosen him to become head of that Garden. That meant losing his rank of Commander of Balamb. A desk job. Being away from The Meeting Place. Naturally, Squall had said no.

But they had planned it all. Xu would become the Commander of Balamb in his stead. He wouldn't be Headmaster per say. No, they had asked Pres to take over as Headmaster of Esthar. A SeeD by the name of Fern would become the new Headmaster. Instead, Squall would be promoted to the rank of General of ALL the Gardens. And as General, it would be his duty to oversee the new Garden.

His life had been planned out for him by others. Once, he would have loved nothing more than to have the position. It was the highest honor he could receive. But now, Squall wasn't even sure he wanted to be a SeeD on most days.

So he focused on the students. He trained them. He taught them. He trained SeeD and SeeD hopefuls alike. He taught tactics. He went on missions. He read reports. He lived day to day; the only way he knew how. It gave him the freedom to get away for a few days. He always returned to The Meeting Place. Over time, the Inn had gained the reputation of a beautiful vacation spot. But it was the story behind the building that seemed to attract visitors, mainly lovers or newlyweds. The story of two lovers trying to find their way back to each other, not knowing if the other was dead. That the spot they had agreed upon became a marker that he was still waiting. He was still searching.

Squall had been surprised when he had visited the inn after almost 6 months away on a long term mission and found bouquets of flowers and candles lit next to the marker. Denvers had told him how visitors had asked about the story of the Commander and the Vice-Commander. They had said they had heard the tale and were curious. Most were surprised when told the whole story. Squall had raised an eyebrow at that. Denvers merely shrugged and retorted, "Wouldn't you rather they know the truth than make up stories?"

So, on her next visit, Quistis had brought a picture that had been taken of Harry and Squall at the SeeD ball. She had it enlarged and framed and hung in it the den, above the fire place. She brought several photos, framed and ready to be put up. Pictures of the old team. Old SeeD pictures. Photos of them at meetings, in gear and the rare photo of them fighting. Group shot, solo shots. Selphie, Irvine, Quistis, Zell, Cid, Edea, Pres, Rinoa. Hell, even one of Seifer and his posse. A photo of Squall at his official commendation ceremony and the commendation of MIA Harry Mage.

It just drew more visitors. Some people came to stay the day. Some longer. But Squall had refused to extend the building further. The Meeting Place was never meant to be a business, the inn was just a way to ensure that the marker would be there if something ever happened to Squall and Harry returned.

It was it was barely a year ago when somehow the information had gotten out. A SeeD went rogue, selling information he had stolen from the Balamb. The only Garden that had the full, unedited record of what happened with Sorceress Ultimecia. And the report had been handed over to the media.

Everything had come out. The founders of SeeD, Edea and being a Sorceress. How Ultimecia possessed Edea and Rinoa and the release of Adel. Odine's research. Time compression. The story of Commander Squall Leonheart, Knight to Sorcerer Harry Mage, Medic SeeD and Vice-Commander. Squall had stood in front of the media as stated proudly he had been Harry's Knight. He had taken the accusations and released their story. How they met, who Harry had been and just how much he had sacrificed to save the world. Albeit, they had said he had been lost to Time during the compression while saving Squall. No one truly understood how a sorcerer's magic worked so no one could question Squall's word.

Some tried to say SeeD had Sorcerer Harry killed. Their original purpose was to stop Sorceress's from falling into madness after all. But the pictures, the statements from students and the official records held fast. Squall had loved Harry and swore his life to him. The media could not find a word against their relationship and till the very 'end' the Knight had defended his Sorcerer.

That was how, two years since graduating, Commander Squall stood in front of Esthar Garden plans with President Laguna and the Headmasters Cid and Pres, and Headmistress Trepe. Balamb Garden remained the flagship of SeeD and hosted most of the important meetings and events. SeeD itself, was developing well with the Garden's branching into more research. Most of the income in recent years was coming from the school rather than the exclusive SeeD program. Perhaps it was a good change but as long as there were wars, there would be SeeD. And there would always be war.

"I like the usage of technology in this area but Esthar is much more advanced. I can get the R&D department to upgrade and build that area," Laguna said as he frowned and pointed to an area on the design.

Cid had nodded but pointed out that they needed the communication center that only Galbadia could install. These plans had been redesigned over and over again over the last year. They had enough funds but everyone had agreed that the new Garden had to hold the same tactical genius and academic prestige as its sister Gardens.

Squall wasn't sure why he was needed for these meetings. His role was more student orientated. He knew next to nothing about to designs, except how defendable it was. But in order for him to actually help, they needed to agree on a final plan.

Quistis rolled her eyes at the old men squabbling over the design. "You know, neither Squall nor I have to be here for this. Call us when you've finalized your design and then we will talk tactics."

Squall kept his face blank but mentally thanked the blonde.

"Actually," Headmaster Pres said slowly, "this meeting had nothing to do with the designs but while we are together we thought we should have a look at them."

Squall sighed, he hated politics and these pointless meetings. They always talked about things at least three times before any plans for action were made. The bureaucracy of it gave Squall headaches. "What was this meeting for? I didn't receive any information other than it's a meeting, the venue and the time."

Cid, Laguna, Pres and Fern traded looks before Cid spoke up. "We need to confirm the decision. We wanted to make the announcement at the SeeD ball. It's a three year anniversary and we thought it was appropriate to show how we are still moving forward."

Squall sighed as he walked over and slumped into a free chair. He hunched over, resting against his legs, feeling more tired than after a long term mission. "Three years? It feels longer," Squall replied, eyes firmly on the ground. "Is it an order?"

Quistis sighed at that. That was Squall's way of saying he refused. And the only way to make him do something was to make it an order. In non-wartime, the Commander still took his orders from the Headmaster as he was still a SeeD. If they ordered Squall to take the new position of General of the Garden SeeD Forces, he would. But only under orders. He didn't want the position. He didn't want to leave the continent. They all knew he didn't want to be so far away from The Meeting Place or go alone to Esthar. He seemed to develop a silent hatred for that place, be it due to the bad memories or good memories. Quistis was never quite sure.

Cid sighed and nodded, he knew it would come down to this but they needed him to do this. Squall had become a figurehead of sorts. That and he knew how to run a Garden, and SeeD forces even if he didn't realize it himself. "It's an official order from Trabia, Galbadia and Balamb Garden, Squall."

Squall merely stood up and saluted before leaving the room. The group stayed silent after that, No one could really comment on what happened. It was what they needed from Squall and as a SeeD he would give it. But no one knew at what cost or just how much more he could take.


Four years, some legal and illegal work, Harry was pretty sure he found a way. A way to go back to Squall. Inter-dimension travel was supposed to be impossible because you needed an anchor at both ends of the passage. Otherwise you get lost between the worlds, like the Veil. But no one had been to one dimension and comeback. Harry had an anchor: his bond with Squall. As long as Squall kept believing he was Harry's Knight, the Harry should be able to connect with that specific world. His physical connection lay in the necklace around his neck. It was from the other world. It should guide him back quite easily. Or so Harry hoped. Otherwise, he would lose his life trying to get back and perhaps then, the only way they would meet again would be at the end. It was a risk Harry was willing to take.

His life in Magical Britain was mundane and lifeless. He felt like a shadow of his old self. So much older. After awaking in St Mungos, Harry found himself surrounded by old friends. Friends he thought he would never see again; names and faces that he had forgotten. The Healers attributed it to the unknown spells he had been cursed by.

Hermione and Ron had both survived the war. Both Mr and Mrs Weasley died, leaving Bill the family head. Luna and Neville did start dating Luna after the War. The Minister was an old member of the Order and had hunted down rogue Deatheaters with a vengeance. Draco, the young boy who he had once loved, died in battle, but not before avenging his mother. He had left a letter to Harry, handed out at his Will reading. He apologized and explained that he had to do what he did. That he had loved Harry but Harry would find someone better to love.

Coming back forced Harry to remember the pain and the old intricacies of his old life. They were supposed to return to Hogwarts for their final year but Harry chose rather to test out of it. The public, who hailed him as a hero, pushed for him to be head Auror. Who better than the Man-Who-Vanquished-Who-Know-Who. There had been an uproar when Harry had announced he would rather work in the Department of Mysteries.

Ron and Hermione found it harder to connect with Harry, and vice versa. It was like when he woke up, he was someone else. Harry Mage returned to Wizarding Britain. A Harry that had loved for a very long time and had learnt hard lessons about life that the duo could not comprehend yet. The distance forced them apart and, although Harry craved the company and friendship, they just could not connect. There was no understanding left, and that left Harry feeling lonelier than ever. There was no Squall to Harrys Mage, nor was there the Golden Trio to Harry Potter.

Instead, Harry threw himself into searching for a way back. A way to travel through Time and Space; cross dimensions to a place only he knew. At first, Harry had told no one of his search, but Hermione had figured it out. Harry had explained what he had gone through. The life he had lived whilst he his body lay in St. Mungos. Everyone had told him it was just a vivid dream, something his mind came up with to help deal with the mental trauma to deal with the war and the final battle. The vivid details could have been a side effect of an unknown spell. Hermione and Ron had pleaded on days on end for him to forget his dream, and live his life.

Until, in the privacy of his room at the Order Headquarters, Harry pulled out the necklace from under his shirt. Hermione stared at his blankly while Ron spluttered and conjured excuses.


"It's just something you own, mate. You obviously drew on items you've seen before to make the dream seem real. Healer Maklike said so!" The redhead rationalized as he clapped a hand on his friend's shoulder.

But Harry was not looking at him, Harry was staring at Hermione who was dead silent as she stared at the necklace. Silently, Hermione pulled out her wand and murmured a spell. Ron raised an eyebrow at her when he recognized the spell: it was to reveal the make-up of the item. In this case, what metal the necklace was made from.

"It won't work," Harry said quietly. "The spell will not recognize the metal. It's called Sildaranium."

"Ron," Hermione finally said as she turned her gaze from the necklace. "I brought Harry's things for when he was in hospital and now when he left. I didn't pack the necklace and the mediwitch said he had it on him already…"

Ron stared at her wide eyed and gaping.

"Harry, can you start again. From the beginning. What happened during the Final Battle and after… We'll listen this time." The brunette sat forward, and pulled out a quill and some parchment to take notes. "Either this is an elaborate dream caused by a spell that a Deatheater is using to mentally unbalance you by planting objects or…"

"Or?" Ron butted in.

Hermione looked grim, "Or, Harry is telling the truth and his consciousness was taken to another dimension and there is such thing a manifestation of Magic itself."

End Flashback

It was then they started believing him. But what they could not forgive is that Harry refused to stay. Stay with them. That he could not forget the world he left behind, they he would throw away their friendship and everything he had as Harry Potter for what he may never get again.

At first they had helped, albeit grudgingly. The desperation they saw in him was not something they could ignore. It consumed him, and yet, made he more focused than they have ever seen. Harry took, and aced, his 7th year exams before joining the Department of Mysteries. Hermione chose to follow him, whilst Ron had to stay for his 7th year in Hogwarts. He may be able to ace his DADA exam but there was no way he would have passed all his subjects like his two best friends.

And that was just another crack in their friendship. Ron stayed at Hogwarts while Harry and Hermione worked at the MoM. Hermione chose to study Time Turners in hope that she could help restore the ones they destroyed in their fifth year. Harry chose magical research in general, but focusing on the unknown objects within the Ministry. He had a hunch about the veil, the whispers from beyond it and the runes that were carved on its edge. Hermione had, in the beginning, helped Harry but she too drifted away once Ron graduated and could not find a way to help Harry.

Instead, they put their efforts in convincing Harry to 'stay' with them. To stop searching. And after months of trying to reason, they gave up. Everyone had moved on with life. Growing old; growing old. The last time Harry saw the duo was at their wedding. Three years after the end of the way, Hermione as a Mom worker and Ron as an auror, married.

Three years after the end of the war and returning to Magical Britain, Harry made progress with his research. It was by chance, he found old scrolls that no one could read, in the DoM archives. He had been taking register of the items when the writing caught his eye. It was the script used in Balamb and Galbadia. Another scroll was written in the Esthar dialect.

Someone had travelled between the two worlds before. Someone had written down what they experienced and found. And the key was The Veil. It was practically a gateway between multiple worlds that was used by Magic when she banished users from one dimension to another. It connected ALL the worlds. The trick was getting it to lock onto one [particular dimension or you would fall through Time and Space like Sirius. Trapped forever.

It took another year of studying the scrolls and The Veil to figure out what the runes meant. They were names of paces were the other door to the Veil was located. And it was staring at Harry, the fifth rune on the second line: "Moomba Village."

And the most difficult problem with traveling between dimensions was solved already. Harry would simply need to use his Sorcerer-Knight bond to stabilize the pathway between worlds whilst using his Griever Pendant as an anchor to Hyne whilst his wand would anchor him to Earth. It was the only to stop yourself from getting lost in time and space. No one had an object from another universe which is way the magic had never been used practically, only theoretically. Sometimes objects fell through the gateway and that was the only way to prove that the gateway did in fact, work. But otherwise, no person or creature has successfully traveled through the gateway.

Everything was finally in order. He had cut a deal with the Goblins, leaving everything he owned to Hermione and Ron. Harry wasn't close to anyone else, save perhaps Luna and Neville. He had visited Draco's grave, feeling that he should pay his last respects to the boy he had once upon a time loved, and was loved in return. His resignation at the Ministry would be handed in the day he would walk into The Veil. Everything was finally in place; he had found a way back to Squall. He just had to say goodbye to the people who loved Harry Potter.

Harry chose, the night before he would perform the ritual, to have a quiet dinner. His final goodbye to Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville and what was left of the Weasleys. Most of them didn't know he would be leaving. No, he would only tell the whole truth to those who knew about Squall: Ron and Hermione. Though, for some reason, and here Harry guessed Luna saw Magic, Luna knew his story without being told.

It was a strange affair. Most of them didn't know why Harry suddenly called for a 'family' dinner, but they turned up. Bill and the twins come by first, followed by Charlie and Ron and Hermione. Luna and Neville were the last to arrive but they had to get back to Britain before getting to the small apartment he rented in muggle London. They were in Netherlands when Harry's invitation had found them and they had owled him to let him know they would be a tad late.

"So Harry, what's the special occasion?" Bill finally breached the question as they sat down at the already set table.

Harry smiled thinly as reached to dish out some potatoes. "We can eat. I suppose the occasion is that I've finally made a break through on my research project and used it as an excuse just have dinner together."

Bill smiled as the twins offered their congratulations. Although their friendship with Harry had been strained after the war, partly due to the deaths of the parents and Ginny and partly on Harry's behavior when he woke up, Harry and the Weasleys held a bond tighter than a life death.

"A breakthrough? Must be important if you called for a family meeting," Charlie grinned.

Harry smiled. A true smile; one that had gotten rarer and rarer since the end of the war. At first, most had thought it was because Draco died. But the coma had changed Harry in ways in ways only Ron and Hermione seemed to have the information on. And no one was telling.

"I've been working on the project alone for over a year now, chasing down relics, scrolls and any information I could get my hands on," Harry admitted. "I've been obsessing with it."

"Wait," Hermione butted in, "You're talking about it? You've cracked it?"

Harry grinned grew as he took a sip of his water, "Cracked the runes, deciphered the spellwork and rewrote the conduits. I have it working."

Hermione gaped at him but Ron looked resigned. The brunette, with an engagement ring on her finger, could only splutter, "Harry! You've! I mean! Harry, you're basically discovered a whole new branch of magic!"

Harry shook his head, "I've rediscovered a branch of magic but what I've discovered, is that I can make it work now."

Ron swore, "Holy shit! Like it works works?"

Harry nodded with a small smile.

"Anyone going to explain what exactly Harry's been working on?" Neville cut in, insatiably curious.

Hermione practically vibrated in her seat as she spilled the information, "Technically you can't know this but it's never stopped us before. Harry was working on a branch on magic that no one else wanted to touch. Harry was working on dimension travel, using the relic The Veil."

Fred and George stared at Harry wide eyed, "You've figured out how to travel through dimensions?"

"So this is the last dinner?" Luna said, her eyes clear and a startling blue, "You're going to say goodbye now and leave us?"

"Leave?" came the roar and Harry half-glared at the blonde. She knew what she was doing and she grinned back as Harry tried to explain everything a table of friends who were outraged.


Travelling through Dimensions was painfully. It was like his magic was pulling itself apart and being mashed back together. That, and the feeling of freefalling, created an uncomfortable feeling. But perhaps, the worst part was the Harry knew the moment he entered the pathway he had no way of controlling anything. Everything had to preset before Harry entered the pathway via The Veil.

No, Harry had explained his piece and said his goodbyes. No one except Luna had been thrilled with the thought of Harry leaving and protested quite loudly at dinner. Harry knew they would try to stop him when he went to work the next day, so after dinner, Harry left. He owled his resignation letter, packed his things in a bottomless bag, and left his apartment. He said his silent goodbyes to Britain, Earth as he entered the MoM. Waved at the security guard who still stared wide eyed at him and made his way to the DoM. It was late, far too late for anyone else to be still working in his area.

It was strangely easy to set everything up after that. Chalk to draw the runes around The Veil, and Harry left his research notes in a pile just outside the circle. No one would ever be able to replicate the magic. They would not have any object that they knew the exact origin off; and he would be leaving no clue. His wand was what he chose to anchor the pathway to Earth, leaving it at the entrance of The Veil. Griever was in his hand as he stepped through, and fell.


The sky darkened as if as GF was being summoned. The wind picked up and the clouds started swirling, forming a funnel that sucked up the leaves and flowers from the field alike. The wave levels rose, crashing further ashore as the nature reacted to what was coming. The visitors for the inn rushed inside at the sudden change of weather, seeking shelter when at The Meeting Place.

Old Man Denvers stood by the window as the families gathered behind him. They all vied for a glance at the swirling sky. The funnel was almost like something was going to be sucked up. The weather grew more vicious, rising in vigor as it riding towards a crescendo. The air was electric.

It happened very fast, the funnel opened and light shone through the opening. And something fell through. That something free fell until it was 10 meters above the ground and then it floated down into the clearing.

It slowed down enough for Denvers to recognize that something wasn't an 'it' but a 'who'. A person fell through the sky and into the clearing. Someone who landed on their feet and was looking around the clearing. Denvers swallowed as he realized who the man could be.

Harry landed on his feet as he stared in wonder at the fields. It was oddly apt that he would return to the place he promised to meet Squall at. The field had changed; a clearing made with some sort of plaque in the center. Even the Orphanage looked different, newer and bigger. Harry's heart dropped, 'Just how much time has passed? What if it's been decades?'

He couldn't face that reality. That Squall had died or perhaps, if Squall had already forgotten him and moved on. 'I wish I never asked Ifrit to take his memories. I wish I had been selfish just that once. I've tried living without him and I couldn't'. Could I watch him be happy with someone else?'

Harry thought morosely as he walked towards the building, and in turn, the plaque. If anything, he had to find out Squall, be it to find him or what happened to him. Green eyes widened at the words etched into the plaque, lips moving wordlessly. He couldn't help himself, as he fell to his knees before the stone and traced the words with his fingers. Just to be sure they were real.

It was a Squall's promise. "Oh Hyne…." He needed answers now. Harry needed answers now. So he called for the one person who would know.


Once again the sky darkened rapidly. Shards of ice rained from the sky, forming a cluster from which Shiva stepped out of. The GF took one look at him before throwing her arms around him.

"Oh Hyne… Harry?! You're! But how?" the Ice Queen stuttered as she tried to crush Harry in her grip. She could not believe that Harry was back; that he found a way back. Harry forced Shiva's arms away from him, enough so that he could at the very least breath. "Shiva! I know! I'm back. I found a way with the magic of my original world. But I need to know, how long has it been? Where's Squall? I need to find him."


Shiva left, only after forcing Harry to promise that he would meet up with the others soon. Harry was once again, left by himself in the field. He loved the feeling of the wind and the scent of the ocean. Hyne never seemed so beautiful and for once, he felt at peace.

Eyelids fluttered closed, hiding emerald orbs from the world around him. It was, just for the moment, everything was finally working out. According to Shiva, Squall remembered him and was waiting. Squall was waiting for him to come back. Squall bought the Orphanage and remodeled it as a marker if Harry ever returned.

'Oh Merlin,' Harry choked as tears started falling as he laughed in pure happiness, 'Squall still loves me.' He took the moment to just bask in that fact alone.

'Right,' And Harry couldn't stop the smile on his lips, 'I need to find him.'

And there was only one place to really start and that was the inn, even though Harry could feel the bond pulling him towards Squall. It was the smile Shiva had on her face when she mentioned he should see what Squall had done with the old Orphanage and that he should talk to a 'Mr Denvers'. So, Harry readjusted his backpack and made his way to the building at the edge of flower field via a stoned pathway.

It seemed the back of the building faced the fields, allowing only two rooms to look at the green pasture. Behind the window on the far left, Harry could make out the shadows of people beyond it. However, the main glass door on the small verandah led to what seemed like a bedroom. Curious, Harry peaked in.

Green eyed widened at what he saw and he unconsciously jerked backwards; away from the door. Because, staring back at him through the glass, were his weapons. There was no doubt in his mind that this was Squall's room. Harry could see the old mural poster that Squall had in his old dorm room and the spare Gunblade case propped against the wall. But mounted on the wall was Harry's old swords, his posters and the odd knickknack lying around that had been his as well.

Squall had moved all his things after the Garden declared him MIA. Harry just knew that his clothes would be hanging in the cupboard next to Squall's. It was what their room would have looked like if they had actually lived together. It both warmed Harry's heart as it broke. This room was everything they had and lost.

He was so deeply lost in his thoughts, Harry almost cursed the voice behind him on reflex, barely holding back as he got a look at the old man who was staring at him with wide eyes. Seeing how tense Harry stood, the man raised his free hand in surrender but voiced his question again.

"Are you Vice-Commander Harry Mage?" Old blue eyes was staring at him like he was an alien and some part of Harry's mind pipped up that, technically, he was an alien. He also just fell from the sky.

"And you are?..." Harry asked back, eyes firmly on the man. No matter how harmless he seemed, SeeD had taught him otherwise. No, Harry's right hand flexed instinctively as a summoning spell was ready on a hair trigger. His sword was in the room behind him.

"I manage the Inn for Commander Squall Leonheart. Name's Alan Denvers but most call me old Man Denvers," the old man replied, still looking at Harry with unbelieving eyes. "And I would say you are Harry Mage. Or you look eerily like the pictures in the den."

That caught Harry's attention. "Pictures?"

"Aye," the man grumbled, "those crazy SeeD friends of the commander decided to redecorate the den when they stop by. Put up photos all over the wall and then guests start asking questions. And then sealed SeeD report was leaked and everyone recognized the people in the photographs." Denvers stopped and looked Harry straight in the eye, "And you're Sorcerer Harry Mage, Vice-Commander of Balamb Garden, SeeD. If the Commander and the photographs are to true."

Harry said nothing as his mind raced. 'A sealed report had been leaked? It's common knowledge that I'm a Sorcerer? Did people know what I look like? Damn it, I was hoping to keep a low profile.'

"He always believed that you would come back," Denvers said to break the silence, "He said he had to believe because he couldn't imagine a word without you."

Harry swallowed and chuckled dryly. "Guess we have more in common than I thought." Harry had done the same. He had spent years searching for a way back because he didn't know how to live with the knowledge that Squall was gone forever. "He's at the Garden?"

"Balamb, last time he check in with me."

Harry nodded jerkily, distracted at the waves on information. It was one thing to think you knew and it was another to know. It filled with the urge to just go. The bond was practically burning in Harry's mind. Pushing Harry to return to Squall's side of vice versa. And Squall didn't know he was back so Harry had to find the grey eyed lion.

"I need to go."

Denvers nodded. Somehow the strange, slim green eyed man fit the image of the powerful Sorcerer the world had grown to know. And the underlying love, the desperation to get back to Squall. It mirrored what Denvers saw in the Commanders eyes every time he visited The Meeting Place.

Denvers didn't need confirmation who this was. It was far too obvious. "Vice-Commander, would you like to get anything from your room while you're here? I have the spare key for cleaning. I'm sure the Commander won't mind if you go in," he said with a toothy grin as he pulled out a bunch of keys.

"That would probably be wise. I don't have any weapons on me and Squall would kill me if he knew I travelled unarmed," Harry nodded, a small smile on his lips. "Though, I prefer being called Harry."

Denvers bit back a grin as he opened the sliding glass door, "Aye, Vice-Commander."

Harry merely rolled his eyes as he walked into the room first. The room was slightly musty, as if it hadn't been used in a while. He didn't need clothes as he had ditched his robe before entering The Veil but he did need his swords. Everything else he could check later. All that truly mattered was getting back to Squall. He simply picked up his twin katana from his stand on the wall. He glanced around for the harness, and finding none, he summoned it with a summoning charm. The leather harness came flying from the cupboard in the corner of the room, which Harry deftly caught. With his swords in place, Harry gave the room one last look.

"Thank you, Mr Denvers, I guess I'll be seeing you soon enough," Harry said with a smile before apparating to Balamb, leaving a gaping Denvers in an empty room less two swords.

"I'll be damned. Guess he won't be needing a train ticket."


Squall's eyes were red and he looked tired. He was drained from the lack of sleep over the last few days. It was like something was pulling Squall towards something; the sorcerer bond was reacting to something. And Squall feared the worse. All those nightmares, the ones he's tried to forget were creeping back. He dreamt of Harry, but instead of the happy memories he only saw Harry dying again and again. Ice spike through his chest; bloody head wound or just red flecks of blood tainting pale, cold skin and lifeless green eyes staring at the endless sky.

The only way the bond with react in any way would be that something had happened to Harry. Something that stretched the bond beyond traveling dimensions. And the only thing that kept popping into Squall's mind was death. That Harry's death was the reason the bond was stretching and pulling, as if trying to bring its two parts together.

And for Squall, that would be the end of the last bit of hope he was clinging on to. It plagued his thoughts in his sleep and when he was awake. It was only made worse as the annual SeeD ball was that night. That event, Squall found, was the worst to attend. Squall never did attend any official function except the SeeD ball with Harry. That happened before the shit hit the fan. Before everything went to hell in a hand basket. Sure, every secret came out but the cost was too much. Squall lost Harry. It was a cost that Squall hadn't agreed to when he joined SeeD.

And today, it was far worse. Squall felt like his skin was on fire from the tension. It was like everything that had been building over the last few days was coming to conclusion; for better or worse. The only way Squall knew how to deal with whatever he was feeling, was to go about his day as usual. But it was the day he dreaded every time it came around.

The SeeD ball.

It wasn't that he wasn't loyal to SeeD or that he wasn't proud of the new SeeD graduates. But everything about the night reminded him of Harry. Of how things were before the War. Of what he could have had with Harry.

The SeeD Ball was an untainted memory that was being dissolved year after year, every time he attended alone. It was just another reminded of how he failed the one person he swore not to.

Instead, Squall forced himself to concentrate on the mountains of paperwork that littered his desk. Hyne seemed to be tainting him, as most of the work related to the SeeD graduation and hence, the ball. The actually exams were being done at the moment. Instead of going to Esthar Plains for the combat trail, Squall had sent Xu.

The brunette sighed as he leant back in his chair. All urgent work had been completed already and for the last hour, he had been working ahead, so to speak. But it was past lunch time and Squall was feeling the onset of cabin fever. The SeeD Commander always argued his position on the basis that he was first and foremost trained to be an active SeeD. Putting him behind a desk was 'cruel and unusual punishment'.

Nida, Balamb Garden's Navigator and Squall's PA, was busy filing the paperwork Squall had already reviewed and signed. Smirking slightly, Squall made his 'quick' escape. He slipped into the elevator, making sure to leave the new pile of filing in a clearly visible stack on his desk, and made for the cafeteria. Like when all SeeD exams were being taken, the room was almost deserted. But rather than eating there, Squall opted for the newly introduced: Packed Lunch. Thanking the Lunch Lady quietly, Squall made for the Training Centre as he ate an apple. He wasn't really hungry but he was itching for a fight. Not that anything in the TC was really a challenge anymore. But he couldn't leave the Garden to visit the Island of Heaven or the Island of Hell. So he had to make do.

Squall equipped his magic and blasted his way through the relatively low-leveled monsters while he walked the perimeter. Deep in the arena, Squall settled in the protected clearing, choosing to eat his lunch in peace. The only monster that would dare to attack him without being provoked was a T-Rex and the Squall had already cleared the T-Rex in the TC earlier that week. Another one had yet to be brought in. Plus, the clearing itself was protected and treated as a resting place for the students training in the TC.

The TC was rather nice. It was quiet and peaceful, as long as Squall stayed inside the barrier. The sun shone through the clear ceiling, giving the effect you were really outside, which was only emphasized by the climate control of the area. It was also deserted, something Squall was eternally grateful for.

Grey eyes closed, tired in soul even though he body was fine. Squall found himself, after the Last Battle, always surrounded by people. Odine had watched him under a microscope when it was revealed in his report that he was one, travelled and influenced the past, and two, Squall had actually been lost in time. That, and the fact he was a Knight that lived after his Sorcerer had 'died'. It was only when SeeD stepped in, Squall was 'rescued' and returned to the Garden. He had also refused t o speak to Laguna, who had hounded him over something Harry had said. Squall had been took lost in the pain to really take notice. Honestly, the pain had been too raw, too overwhelming back then. Now, he felt the dull, heart-wrenching ache as he soul was pulled beyond this world.

But Squall could steal this moment. Lying on the grass in the sunlight in the TC, Squall could have a moment of peace to rest. To not feel like the world was ending at the moment. Just lying here, feeling nothing and living in a state of just being. No painful memories or emotions or thoughts.

A natural quietness fell around Squall, and the grey-eyed man chose to simply enjoy it.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in,

It was a state of just being.

A crack resounded in the clearing, jerking Squall awake as the SeeD reflexively reaching for his gunblade. As he sat up, his eyes searched for the source or the noise.

Grey eyes stared in shock at familiar emerald green eyes, Eyes that Squall thought he would never see again.

'Hyne….' Squall swallowed before the word slipped passed his lips, hand reaching for what he was sure was yet another illusion dreamt up by his mind, "Harry..."

Harry, or at least what his mind conjured up, was standing less than 3 feet away from his left hand and Squall couldn't move. He couldn't reach out, once again, to only find out that Harry wasn't real. That he wasn't truly there. Every time, every damn time, Harry had not been real. Squall didn't know if his heart could take another lie.

Harry, in turn, stared at the man Squall had become. The four years they had been separated had been good to the grey eyed boy. The angles on his face were sharper, his muscles more defined. A little older, a lot more mature but his eyes were so sad. They made Harry's heart ache. That he put the sadness in those eyes he loved.

Harry couldn't say anything. No words could truly define or express what was going on in his head or heart at that moment. So Harry did thing think he could do; he walked those 3 feet and wrapped his arms around Squall's broad shoulders. He couldn't stop the tears but it didn't matter. 'Oh Merlin! Its feels like home.'

Shock raced through Squall system as he felt arms wrapped themselves around him. He could feel the satin-like skin and he could smell Harry's spicy yet floral scent. It was something he had forgotten; it was something he never thought he would smell again.

Shaking hand reached up and clasped, and for the first time in three years, touched something. Squall's arms wrapped around a familiar waist, drawing Harry close. And the world stopped.

The ache in his heart died and the pulling of his soul finally found its other half. The pain stopped and for once, the world stopped spinning. Squall found peace.

He found Harry.

He found Harry.

It finally processed. Harry was back. Back in Squall's arms.

Harry made it back. Squall was in his arms.

Squall's hand jerked away from Harry's waist, startling the smaller man. Squall's face was set in a fierce expression as Harry pulled back to see what was wrong. Had he read everything wrong? Did Squall did not want him? Squall merely bit the edge of his leather glove, pulling it off before reaching for Harry's face. The large palm held Harry's cheek, firmly yet as if he was made of fine porcelain.

Stormy silver eyes bore into evergreen one, with an intensity that scared Harry. Squall was looking at him like he was the last thread holding him together.


Squall continued to stare at Harry.

"Harry… you came back?"

Green eyes widened at the way Squall's voice shook. Slowly, he moved his hands to Squall's cheeks, relishing the warmed he felt. With his fingertips, Harry slowly caressed the smooth skin smiling slightly at the rough stumble he occasionally felt.

"Of course I came back," Harry murmured.

"You're real?"

"Oh Squall," was all Harry could sigh; tears falling once again. He leant forward slowly and gently placed his lips over Squall's.

It was like their first kiss all over again. Soft lips gently moving, unsure and tentative but you could taste the love. The bond pulsed beneath their skin.

A beat later Squall took over the kiss. It changed from soft to desperate. Lips clashing as hands grabbed anything they could get. Squall's hand was already tangled in Harry's hair while his other hand had pulled Harry onto his lap. Harry's hand crept into short brown hair, twisting to get a firm hold and clutching onto Squall.

The kiss was full of teeth and tongue, biting and licking. Close but never close enough. And the sense of urgency for more.

Thin lips pressed harshly against plump ones, a wet tongue invading his lover's hot mouth. There was no patience, no dance of passion. This was pure domination as Squall kissed Harry harshly, swallowing moans that leaked from Harry's throat. Not that Harry didn't try; he damn well tried to take control but Squall was making his knees weak by twisting his tongue like that. The way Squall was tasting his mouth, feeling every inch and driving him wild. The way the man's arm felt around in; his hand feeling, trailing and squeezing.

It was too much and yet, not nearly enough.

Squall moved his lips, trailing towards Harry's neck; biting a path where his lips touched. Harry arched at the sensation, his back curving as he keened, "Squall! Hyne!"

Both of Squall's moved to Harry's waist, slipping under the loose shirt his lover wore, searching for skin. Fingertips pressed harshly into Harry's side, but it never felt so good; the contrast between skin and leather.

It was as if the blood in his veins had been turned to fire. Every touch of Squall set his skin aflame. Harry felt like he was drowning under the waves of pleasure, gasping out for breath. For the first time in years, he felt whole. His magic sighed in relief as his soul hummed in pleasure.

'It's been too long,' Harry thought as he pressed down against Squall's arousal. Squall groaned in response, the vibrations strong against Harry's throat.

There was no time for word; jus the reassurance that they were finally together again. In the glade in the TC of Balamb Garden, they didn't care about anything else save each other. Harry made no protest at Squall's desperate movements considering his own were just as frantic. Shaking hands pulled at clothing, growling occasionally when they refused to be moved and tore slightly.

What did matter, is that in the warmth of the glade, lying on the grass, they were together. They found each other, against the odds, and that moment meant everything. But it was not enough. Harry apparated them to the Dorms, barely dressed as they stumbled towards Squall's new room. They couldn't get enough of each other; they couldn't let go.

It was in the moments after their act of passion, words found their way to their lips. Harry was once again in Squall's arms, pressed firmly against his lover's chest so that he could hear Squall's heartbeat pounding beneath his skin. Squall in turn, traced random patterns in Harry's back. They lay on Squall's single bed, underneath cool sheets. The gentle quietness of the room was comforting, familiar.

"I love you," were the first words Squall had murmured as they lay there. Harry could help the grin that pulled on his lips at the declaration. It was a relief and yet, funny because he knew Squall loved him.

"And I, you. I've always loved you and only you, Squall," Harry replied as he closed his eyes to just feel the closeness.

"It's been 3 years…"

"4 for me."

"There was never anyone else."

"Me neither."

"How did you know you could come back?"

"I didn't. I had to try or die trying."

Harry quiet admission made Squall tense. It was what he had feared in his nightmares. He could live with Harry being away from him but the thought of Harry being dead… Squall wasn't sure if he could survive that.

Harry sighed as his fingers circled Squall's heart, "The moment I die the GFs would wipe your memories of me. If was the ultimate fall safe."

That made Squall angry. Angier than anything he had ever felt before. Twisting, he forced Harry underneath him, whilst hovering above the slim man.

"Do you honestly think you're that forgettable?" Squall spat in anger, eyes blazing. "Do you think my feelings for you are that shallow?"

Green eyes stared back with brutal honesty, "If I lost you, I don't think I could go on. But I've lived hundreds of years. You've lived barely two decades. If forgetting me would give you the strength to live on, move on. Then I would make myself forgettable. I would make our love disappear, then and only then. I would destroy everything if it meant saving you, Squall."

The fatal flaw of their relationship, one that was being tested again and again. They would do anything to save the other, to protect each other, no matter the cost.

Squall could only sigh and lean his forehead against Harry's. He would do the same for Harry if the situation was reversed. Harry draped his arms over Squall's shoulders, just enjoying the moment.

"I can't believe you're back."

"I've missed you. It's like finally being able to breathe again."

"Hyne, Harry. You're so beautiful… I can't believe you would still choose me… you're even more beautiful now…" Squall murmured as grey eyes took him his lover's body, the changes that occurred over the years. The brunette could help but steal a kill from parted lips.

In the quiet of their room, as the afternoon faded to evening, they quietly talked whilst wrapped up in the other. Everything before the collapse of the Time Bridge, and how Harry didn't die. To their lives apart. Harry spoke of the war he had forgotten about, of old faces of friends that no longer felt like home. Squall spoke of the numbness after losing Harry. Everyone walking on eggshells around him; how the world kept moving forward. The plans for the Garden, how they were 'War Heroes' and the roles they took.

Harry smiled as he said he explained how he searched for a way back to Hyne. That he fell into the Flower Field that morning, and found their clearing. The plaque. And Old Man Denvers. His talk with Shiva. Quietly, Harry had added his fear that Squall had already forgotten him, or that he had moved on.

Squall spoke of how the team split and tried to keep everything together. Quistis was trying to rebuild Galbadia Garden and how Irvine was with Selphie at Trabia. He spoke of the deal he made with Edea over his payment for the final mission. How Squall couldn't stomach the thought of being paid when Harry had, for all purposes, died saving him. Instead, she had signed over the rights to The Orphanage was actually part of Balamb Garden's assets so technically the Garden had paid him.

The Orphanage that had been renamed The Meeting Place. The renovations and the idea to make it an inn, so it could support itself. How their story spread, from rumors to the actual leaking of facts. And that all of Harry's things were in their rooms there.

Harry spoke of how his GF powers were lost but he was still a Sorcerer in this world as he still had his Wizard magic. But he could no longer wield Hyne magic like before. But he could emulate the same effects.

And Harry asked of what was happening at Balamb. What the date was; how Squall was doing. Hundreds of questions poured from Harry's lips as he tried to fall into step in the world he made his home. Patiently, Squall answered each one. Harry smiled at the fact the SeeD ball was the following night.

"Looks like the whole team will be together for one night," Harry mused as he wondered if his old SeeD uniform still fit him.

Squall smirked at that. "Technically you aren't invited because by Garden records, you are MIA presumed dead."

Green eyes flashed with annoyance and Squall's heart panged as Harry glared at him. he had missed that expression so much. Harry lightly hit Squall's arm.

"Well, Commander Leonheart. As you can tell, I'm alive and kicking. So how about you change that MIA to Active and I make my big return at the Ball?"

"At the ball? Not before?"

Harry grinned mischievously as he hands drifted to the south of Squall's body, "Well, I was planning on keeping you here until the ball."

"I like that plan," Squall murmured before he caught Harry's lips in a soft kiss.


Squall, try as he might, did not spend the entire day in bed with Harry. Waking up with Harry in his arm set them off again. Neither man could stop themselves from going another round of love making, even when their bodies ached.

But the beeping of Squall's communicator could not be ignored any longer. It was going midday, before Squall gave in and answered. It was Nida and he was pissed. Squall had missed an important internal meeting that morning, nor had he signed off the new SeeD soldiers. In fact, Squall should be in his office ready to congratulate his new SeeD along with Cid. And then welcome the foreign dignitaries who were arriving for the ball.

During all this, Harry looked on, amused from his place beside Squall, wrapped up in bed sheets. Green eyes smiled fondly as Squall sighed after hanging up. "Busy as ever, Love."

Squall grunted before getting up. "I need to head in. I'll shower first."

"Is that a hint that I can't join you?" Harry called back but didn't move from his spot. He could tell Squall was stressed and torn. Instead, he waited till Squall had the shower running before entering the bathroom.

Squall turned at the noise of the door opening but said nothing at the vision of his naked lover. Harry smiled slightly as he stepped into the shower with Squall.

"You need to go and I need to find a SeeD uniform that actually fits me," Harry said quietly as he reached for the shampoo and began washing Squall's hair.

Squall sighed, letting all the tension drain from his shoulders. He in turn, took the soap, and started washing Harry's body. "There should be a spare uniform in your size in my cupboard, and your pins are in the drawer. "

Harry hummed in acknowledgement. Gently he tiled Squall's head back into the stream of water from the showerhead, letting the suds wash out. "What's going to happen now that I'm back? I am a still a SeeD despite being a Sorcerer?"

Letting the water run clear, Squall shift their bodies around to place Harry under the stream of water. Harry's hands moved to wash Squall's chest but his eyes refused to look at the brunette's face. After the water rinsed Harry's skin, Squall began washing the curtain of black hair.

"You've earned the rank of SeeD but you are known as Sorcerer Harry Mage. Just as I am known as your Knight. There are no charges against you, if you're worried about that. In fact, the public in general look at you as if a savior from the Sorceresss," Squall said quietly, barely heard over the noise of the shower. "I would never let anything happen to you."

Harry shook his head, letting Squall push it back to rinse it the shampoo out. "I don't really mind. I just don't want to be locked away. I want to be your side."

"That's easy. In a few months I'm going to be heading up the new Esthar Garden. I'm going to need my Vice-Commander to help me deal with the new, green students. I'll be the strict leader that everyone hates. You'll be the strict one that everyone loves."

Under the warm spray of water, for the first time in years, Harry laughed out loud; full and free. In the arms of the boy he loved.


The ball was in full swing and it was as successful as ever. Dignitaries were eager to learn about the new Esthar Garden, even though the Ice Prince Commander was oddly distracted. Squall's demeanor set the old team's alarm off. The leader they all; knew had been in pieces since the disappearance of Harry. The Squall they were seeing was the old Squall. A Squall they thought they would never see again.

Quistis was staring at the commander, her face edged with worry whilst she stood by Cid and Edea. "Do you have any idea what is wrong with Squall?" she asked quietly. Neither senior knew as they shook their heads. Before they could extrapolate, Selphie and Irvine joined their group while Zell made a beeline for the group. Eventually, the whole of the Assault Team stood together as they watched their Commander 'play nice' with dignitaries and investors.

Squall's eyes were no longer dead. And no one knew what to make of it.

Squall, on the other hand, could not stand the wait. Harry kissed him with a grin as he pushed Squall out of his dorm room, saying that he would come by later. Squall had to be their early to welcome everyone. Harry said he would come a little late because he didn't want to steal all the attention from the new SeeD and that Squall should finish any business he needed to do.

It was almost an hour in to the ball when Squall felt the message, like whisper in his ear, "I'm outside." That was all the warning Squall got, and needed. Mid conversation, Squall excused himself to the bewilderment of his guests and made for the door. Xu, who stood by him, startled and moved to stop him, calling out "Commander!"

Squall ignored all of them as he made for the main doors that were being pushed opened. Xu followed him but stopped in shock as she stared at the figure that just entered. Squall did not stop, rather he hurried his pace.

Harry entered the hall with a small smile. He had to magically alter the uniform to fit him, but he was rather pleased by how he looked. He opted to leave his hair open, letting it fan over his shoulders. Once again, it highlighted his slender figure. Whilst the design had not changed, the stripes and star showed his rank of Vice-Commander. There was his usual green pin, showing his status as a Medic, and well as several other pins for Valor, Courage, Going beyond Duty and a fancy pin he guessed to show his status as a Sorcerer. His pin matched one that Squall wore.

Reaching him, Squall stopped and stared for a minute. His large frame blocking Harry from the occupants of the room. "You look…"Squall started to say before trailing off, his hand gently brushing Harry's red cheek. Before either of them could say anything, Squall pulled Harry into a kiss.

Pulling back after a moment, Harry smiled. "You have no idea how I wished you would have done that last time we were at the SeeD ball."

"I was an idiot back then," Squall shrugged, "You're gorgeous."

"So are you," Harry replied, his eyes dancing as he took in Squall's tall form in the SeeD suit. "Shall we? I bet you at least 2 people faint."

Squall rolled his eyes, "No bet. You're the Sorcerer everyone thought was dead." Instead, Squall reached for Harry's hand and gently looped their arms together as they slowly entered the room. The grin on Harry's face brought a soft smile to Squall's lips.

"Just don't leave my side, please?" Harry murmured.

"Never," Squall swore as he raised Harry's left hand a pressed a light kiss to his palm. "I swore and will swear again to stand by your side and to always protect you. I shall be your anchor, your support, your first and last defense. As long as I live, I shall protect you. Our very souls are bound together."

Harry could not remove his eyes from Squall's face, trusting his Knight to guide him once again. The words Squall had murmured were his Knight's Vow. The promise he swore all those years ago after he knelt in front of Harry, begging to be his Knight. It made his heart stutter in his chest. Those words had given him comfort time and time again when he was alone on Earth.

"Just…." Squall's voice dropped to a whisper, barely heard over the noise of the ball, "don't leave me alone again. Take me with you."

Harry blinked and smiled softly, his hand squeezing Squall's arm, "I don't plan on leaving, but if I do, I promise to take you with me. That's my vow to you. I'll always be within reach to you, I'll stand and fight by your side. I'll protect your back and your heart. I'll be your anchor and your support, your first and last defence."

Xu stuttered in shock. Edea dropped her wine glass. Most of the group stood in shock as guest started murmuring over who the Commander was walking in with. No one knew what to say; how to react.

Instead, they walked towards their group; their team. The grin never leaving Harry's face as they passed a shocked Xu. Harry disentangled his arm from Squall as they reached their friends. Harry's grin grew as he saluted the group.

"Vice-Commander, Sorcerer Harry Mage, SeeD rank SS: Medic and Special Forces Unit. Reposting for duty."

The End.

Please leave a review.

This marks the end of Protector. There will not be a sequel. You wish to write one, or a spinoff, please PM me. I would love to know about it!

This brings a tear to my eyes. I hope you've enjoyed this story as much as I have. As for how Squall and Harry live after this, it's simple: they live together. Perhaps they go to Esthar, or maybe become active SeeD. Maybe they retire as SeeD and spend their years travelling and living. It's up to you; just as long as they are together.

For the last time on Protector, signing off:

Amira Devant

Ps. Yes, I chickened out of the M-rated scene. Somehow it just didn't suit the story.

Pps. If you want a copy of this story, email me and I'll send a PDF.

Story Stats:

Epilogue 11: 7246 words.

Epilogue 12: 10 658 words.

Whole Story: 117 131 words (222 pgs).