"SQUALL! Let's go home! WHERE ARE YOU?"
…Where am I..?
"SQUALL!" Rinoa shouted. "Where are you going?"
I don't know… just… gotta keep running…
Alongside this kid…
"I'm gonna find Sis!" the kid shouted.
"Squall!" Matron shouted, running after him.
Oh… right… that's… me…
Where am I?
In a bed.
In the Infirmary.
That's Doctor Kadowaki there.
"How are you feeling?" she asked as I sat up, feeling my face.
Scar's there as always.
"Okay." I said eventually.
"Take it easy next time, you hear?" she asked me.
Yes Doctor… it wasn't like I was saving time itself or anything…
"Looks like your eyes are focusing… You should be fine." She decided. "Say your name for me."
"Squall." I told her.
She narrowed her eyes, then began feeling my head. "Is there a problem Doctor?" I asked.
She shone a light into my eyes. "Are you sure?" she asked. "Hm, Seifer really went overboard this time, didn't he?"
What's Seifer got to do with this?
"Please state your name, birthday, and your student ID." She asked me.
"Squall Leonhart." I told her. "August twenty-third, No. 41269."
"Where do you live?"
"Balamb Garden." I told her. What's with all these questions? Where's Rinoa?
"Hm…" Kadowaki said. "Well Leon, you appear to have some form of amnesia."
"What?" I asked.
"So far, everything seems to be in order except that you've forgotten your first name." she said. "Split personality from the trauma perhaps?"
"Well, whatever." Kadowaki sighed. "You wanna be cool, huh? Well, don't get hurt in the process, Leon."
Why is she calling me Leon?
"Let's see, your instructor is…" Kadowaki's face fell. "Quistis."
Yeah? What's the problem with that?
I looked up at the ceiling.
Quistis's head is poking out of the ventilation shaft.
She grinned, then pushed out of the shaft and landed on the bed, pushing me down-
"Quistis?" I asked her as she started crawling up me. "What're you-?"
She kissed me.
With a mouth full of her Bad Breath Limit.
Why am I upside down?
Why am I wrapped in a spider-web cocoon?
Why is Quistis's grin an inch from my upside-down face?
"Hee~eey Leo~on." Quistis smirked.
Why is everyone calling me that? "Quistis," I said calmly and carefully. "What the hell?"
She pulled her face back with a grin like an evil Selphie. She's also wearing a top hat for some reason.
"The thing is, Leon, Seifer, that you two have been quite naughty." She said, pacing around the balcony near where I was being suspended from. It's quite a long drop to the bottom.
I swung around to see… it's Seifer alright, but he's dyed his hair black and grown a ridiculous moustache, like the ones that villains had in old westerns.
"Now, the thing is, Leon, Seifer, is that today is your field exam." Quistis said, now carrying a short, black cane like a riding crop. Apparently the rumours were true. "And as your instructor, it's my duty to make sure that you remain alive during this exam. Now, imagine how much trouble I would have gotten in if one of our best two SeeD candidates died today because they were so busy slashing each others faces open?"
Right, logical scenario here is that the Time Decompression somehow sent me into an alternate dimension where Quistis is somehow insane and I am called Leon for some incomprehensible reason.
Mourn the loss of friends later, survive now.
Cane rapped me against the chin. "Ow!"
"What do you say, Leon?" Quistis asked me.
"Sorry Ms. Trepe." I said. "Please forgive my mistake."
She smiled. "That's better." She said, before turning to Seifer. "Aaand what do you have to say?"
"Drat." Seifer spat. "And Double drat."
"Now now, I thought you liked having your ocular virginity." Quistis asked him.
"FUJIN!" Seifer shouted, wiggling his cocoon in a futile attempt to escape. "DO SOMETHING!"
"Okay." Fujin said, pulling out two large spikes and… began… knitting…
Alright, I prefer to believe that I am now in some kind of demented state of insanity caused by the trauma of battling Ultimecia at the end of time and reality.
That would at least explain what was going on.
"Oh, Leon, you can go now." Quistis said, pulling out her bladed whip and slashing open my cocoon. I caught the railing of the balcony and pulled myself onto the steel floor. "Go get ready for the exam at 1600 hours. I'll be making Seifer my special friend."
"CURSSEEEESSSS!" Seifer shouted as I ran like hell.
I came out into the hallway near the classroom, so I sat down at my desk and tried to make sense out of all this.
Let's see… GF's…?
Just the one.
I've got about 80 of each of the sixteen spells I have on me.
"Ah, Kuut sunhehk, Leon." A deep voice said beside me. "Didn't hear you come in."
I looked to my left to see Raijin with a short beard and glasses, wearing a purple bathrobe, a red scarf, and holding a pipe.
"Greetings and welcome to the classroom." He said, raising his pipe before returning to his large, red book.
…Whatever. I'll just withdraw a couple of GF's from my account and get out of here.
Can't log in. Of course not. My name's not Squall Leonhart apparently.
"Raijin." I said, getting the attention of the guy next to me. "I got amnesia from this morning's fight with Seifer. What's my name again?"
"That's a very good question, Leon Loire." Raijin told me, waving his pipe. "Your name is Squall Leonhart. Now I know what you're thinking." He said, nodding dramatically. "How can your name be Squall Leonhart, when I just said called you Leon Loire?"
"That would be because you are from an alternate dimension where your mother and father never got married, making you a bastard that was raised in an orphanage." Raijin said with a smile. "Granted, you were still raised in an orphanage in this universe, but at least you were born into wedlock. With onions. And Kumquats. Yes."
"And remember, there's no such thing as a stupid question;" Raijin said, standing up to leave. "Until you, ask it."
…Whatever. I typed in my username and password.
It worked. Time to withdraw Shiva and Quetzalcoatl.
The two gems popped into the drawer under my desk, and I junctioned them.
I still have four hours until we set off for the exam.
…Whatever. I'm off to bed.
Maybe this'll turn out to be one of Sis's mind tricks…
After a shower, I'm still not feeling better, so I had a lie down on my bunk.
Well, Leon Loire's bunk. It's different from how I decorated my room.
In that it actually is decorated. The walls are covered with posters of Griever's head against a yellow and orange background with captions like 'Bite off more than you can chew / THEN CHEW IT', 'DYING? / Perform CPR on yourself, laugh about it later', 'Eat lightning / SHIT SUCCESS', 'Life's a bitch / BEND HER OVER THE TABLE'… so on.
'Get an erection in class / GET UP ANYWAY' is pretty funny I suppose.
My personal favourite is 'Carpe Diem / CARPE JUGULUM'
Seize the day. Go for the throat…
Says a lot about Leon Loire…
"The hell you doin?"
I leaned up to look at the guy who just walked in.
It was me.
Well, me from before Seifer cut my face open. I guess Leon's sensible enough not to have a rivalry with him.
He was dressed in Garden student uniform with a chainsaw-like weapon over his shoulder. He stormed over to me and picked me up by the collar and slammed against the wall. "I SAID WHAT'RE YA DOIN'?"
I headbutted him, and he passed out.
That's right, I've junctioned way stronger spells than he has.
I knelt down and scanned him. He's fine. Concussed, but he'll be fine in a few hours.
Except that the exam is in twenty minutes.
I drew the Ifrit GF from him and swapped my clothes for his, took his weapon, and left the room.
Yes, I'm taking the exam for him. I at least owe him that.
I browsed the manual for Leon's weapon on the way to the lobby. It's called a chainsword.
It's supposed to be difficult to use because of its weight, the trigger usage, powering it, and the fact that it's a chainsaw that you're meant to wield as a sword.
The blades were only visible on the front of the chainsword. The back side of the blade was covered in black metal, which I suppose was there to stop you from cutting yourself open with it.
How can this keep working? Don't chunks of meat get caught in it? How do you clean something like this?
Then again, I've had people ask me the same things about my Gunblade.
For the record, firing the bullet makes the blade vibrate, as well as tearing a nice hole into the enemy.
So, I suppose that the chainsword will be similar in usage..?
I nodded as I approached this alternate Quistis. I have to say, I'm adapting to this scenario better than I thought I would.
"So… Guess who you're working with today?" Quistis asked.
I don't know anyone's names for certain in this world, nor do I know how anyone grew, so I shrugged.
"Your bestest buddy in the whole wide world, Zell Dincht!" she beamed. "And MY bestest buddy in the whole wide world, Seifer!"
I nodded. "Where is Seifer?" I asked her.
"In the infirmary, getting an eyepatch fitted." Quistis smiled.
A small blue tornado rushed past me and Zell was suddenly leaning on Quistis, while wearing a pair of thick, black sunglasses.
"Hey there, crazy momma." Zell said to her. "How's about you and I… get freaky tonight?"
"Sure, why not." Quistis smiled. "I'll bring the turnips."
Zell visibly recoiled, and I had to laugh. He glared at me, and I noticed that he didn't have a face tattoo in this timeline.
"Great." He grunted. "I'm on the one team without any pretty ladies taking the exam with us."
"Sorry for having a penis." I sighed.
Zell facepalmed. "Great. Where's Seifer anyway?"
"Behind you." He said.
Seifer wore a dark cloak over his SeeD uniform, as well as a top hat and a pair of bright red gauntlets. He was, yes, wearing an eyepatch, and he also had a scar.
Which was odd, because he clearly wasn't fighting Leon this morning.
But I ended up in the infirmary…
This makes less and less sense…
Whatever. As usual, Raijin and Fujin were behind Seifer. Fujin looked strange without her eyepatch. Even stranger with goggles hanging on her forehead and an orange scarf around her neck.
"Well, despite this morning's fuckup, you're squad leader Seifer." Quistis smiled. "Good luck."
Seifer cackled, rubbing his hands together. "My dear instructor, save you precious… luck, to those bumbling fools that actually need it, hmhmhmhm…"
Quistis smiled. "Good luck Seify."
Fujin snickered and Raijin waved his pipe, saying "Excellent burn, Quistis. I look forward to thinking of you next time I masturbate."
"Aww, that's so sweet…" Quistis smiled, doing that thing where you scrunch up your face and your shoulders to look cute or something.
How the hell can she say that after he just said… THAT?
You know what? Forget it.
Everyone here is nuts.
But by that logic, Selphie might be sane.
No idea where Rinoa would be though…
I shook my head. She's a sorceress. If I jumped here, there's a good chance that she will as well. And if she has, then we'll meet each other as long as I affect the time line as little as possible until then.
Keep it together Squall. You can do this.
Once all twelve exam candidates were gathered, Headmaster Cid came down to talk to us.
"Thank you, it's a pleasure to have you all here." Cid beamed. "How'd everyone doing? All twelve of you, Squad's A through D, you're going to war!"
He made a scrunched up face and began pacing. "Nobody wins a war by dying for their country." He said in a gravelly voice. "You win a war by making the other bastard die for his country."
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding, but I'm totally serious." Cid continued. "This is the real deal. Life and death, victory and defeat, honour and disgrace, we all know which one we want and you really, really don't want the other one lemme tell ya." He whistled a sigh. "So, still up for it? Don't worry, you've got nine SeeD members watching your back in case things go tits up. It always does, but you'll do great, I just know it." He smiled. "Good luck, do what your bosses tell you and don't fail!"
So, he's different, but he seems reasonably sane in comparison to the rest of them.
I ignored the others during the car ride on the way to the assault boat, which was fine since everyone else ignored me. Zell kept hitting on the driver, but I was focusing on setting a plan together.
First order of business is to find Rinoa and see if I'm alone in this alternate universe. Afterwards, we find Matron, force Ultimecia out, and find our way home.
Failing that, we go to Esthar and see what they can do. If we have to, we break out Adel and use her power to get home.
If that fails, we use the Crystal Pillar to open the dimensional rift and get home. How?
That's not important. What is important is following the timeline until I find Rinoa.
Once we were on the boat, I started paying attention to Xu in case the plan had changed.
"Hey there, Military Momma." Zell grinned at her. "Ever seen guns like these? HOO HA YA!"
She punched him in the face and onto the bench. "Hey Quistis." Xu waved.
"Heeey Xu." She grinned. "These were the members of Squad B."
"Heey…" Zell managed.
"Pleased to meet you." I said to her as Seifer tipped his hat and twirled his moustache.
"Seifer, how many times has it been now?" Xu asked.
"Oh, I just love doing these exams, my pretty." Seifer chuckled.
"Okay then." Xu sighed. "I'll explain the current situation. Everyone be seated.
"Our client for this mission is the Dollet Dukedom Parliament. A request for SeeD was made eighteen hours ago. Dollet has been under attack by the G-Army since about seventy-two hours ago. Forty-nine hours into the battle, Dollet abandoned their position in the inner city. Currently, they have retreated into the nearby mountains and are reorganizing their troops. That's the current status. Now onto the mission objective. According to our reports, the G-Army is mopping up the Dollet troops in the mountain region. We're to make a landing at Lapin Beach. We're to eliminate the remaining G-Army within the city and liberate it A.S.A.P.. Afterwards, SeeD members will intercept any G-Army forces trying to make their way into the city from the mountain region."
Glad to see someone's normal around here. Although, that's probably just a professional face she's putting on.
"So, what do we get to do, pretty lady?" Zell asked.
"SeeD candidates are to eliminate the G-Army from within the city." Xu explained.
"Well, that sounds great and all, but I have a better idea." Zell said, spinning to his feet and dipping Xu as if they were ballroom dancing. "How's about, you and I, go on a date instead?"
Xu stepped back and judo flipped Zell head-first into the ground. "The order to withdraw takes priority." She told me and Seifer. "Do not forget. We're almost there. We anticipate a battle as soon as we disembark. Just be prepared. That's all. Any questions, talk to Quistis."
"Oh yeah, she wants me." Zell said from the ground as Xu left the room.
"Leon." Seifer said out loud. "Go see what's going on outside."
"Sure." I said, getting out of my seat.
"Excellent." He sneered, steepling his fingers.
It's almost as if he's trying to be a villain…
I stood in the crows nest as we approached Dollet.
Guns began to fire.
Hold yourself back Squall.
Preserve the time line.
Fight hard, don't be stronger than you should be.
I returned to inside the ship and prepared to disembark.
"You three, prepare to secure Central Square." Quistis ordered as the ship shuddered, making its jump. "Anyone wants to get in your way? Please ask them nicely to stop it. Chopping them in half usually does the trick."
I nodded, getting into position behind Seifer as the ship shuddered against the sand.
Seifer drew a chainsword and swung it forward. "CHARGE!" he shouted, leading the advance onto the beach.
We ran through bullets and haze, rushing on the sand towards the stairs. Shells exploded against my shoulders, but even for a normal SeeD, that's normal.
Since I wanted Leon to do well, however, I jumped over the wall and slashed through the Galbadian ambush.
This is a powerful weapon.
A messy one too.
"Outta my way, little rapscallion." Seifer said, pushing me aside, not caring about how much blood and body parts was covering my face as he charged and cut through more people with a laugh.
I shook a lump of tissue from my hair and ran after him and Zell. Zell kept spinning up to enemies and throwing them into walls or smashing their faces against the floor.
I focused on drawing magic as I went along, following Seifer until we reached the Square.
Once we were there, Seifer, Zell and I focused on killing every single Galbadian soldier in sight.
"That's all of them." I said, swinging the chainsword over my back before walking to the fountain and picking up some water to wash my face.
"Well, then we'll be on standby until the enemy comes." Seifer said, revving his chainsword. "How sequentially dull…"
I just kept quiet, keeping my eye out.
"So, Leon…" Zell said. "Lookin' pretty?"
"Less pretty than me." Zell clarified. "Or a sexy lady."
I turned away, keeping my eye on the job.
Not the Zell I know.
"Drat!" Seifer shouted, kicking a dog. "And DOUBLE drat! Where are they all? Get out of here, you mangy mutt!"
The dog whimpered, then walked off.
"Hey now, that's no way to treat a defenceless animal." Zell said, running up to the dog, who started growling violently at him. "Whoa… easy pooch. Zell's not gonna hurt you…"
The dog clearly wanted to hurt Zell though, since it bit his hand before running off. "Oh man…" Zell groaned. "Not my day, is it now?"
"Quick cure should fix it." I said as Seifer chuckled. "Get your mind back on the job- get down!"
We all took cover as a squadron of white-armoured troops that made up the G-Army in this universe ran through the square.
"It's the enemy…" I whispered to the others.
"Now where they off to?" Zell asked, before looking up the mountain. "Hey! What's that mumbo-jumbo up there?"
"That, my comrades, is our destination." Seifer said, rubbing his hands before giggling.
"Hey now, nobody said anything about climbing mountains." Zell said.
"What are you, yellow?" Seifer sneered.
Zell cracked his knuckles. "Ohoho, thems fighting words my moustachioed compadre. HEYAH"
I put a hand on his shoulder to stop him from doing more karate chops. "I stand by the captain's decision." I said.
Seifer looked at me in surprise. "Captains… decision..?" he asked, stroking his goatee. "You just want to spread some mayhem and chaos, don't you my dear boy?"
"I find what's going on suspicious, and worth checking out." I said. Whatever gets us up the mountain and breaking the tower.
Seifer stood up. "Then we shall take the facility by force!" he declared. "Come, underlings!"
We fought through more G-Army grunts, eventually reaching the injured Dollet soldier at the base of the mountain.
"We're SeeD candidates dispatched by Garden." I told him. "What's happening up here?"
"The Galbadian soldiers have entered the Communication Tower." The dying man struggled to say. "On top of that… that place has always been a nesting ground for monsters. If you guys are goin' up, be caref- HELP!"
I stood up and slashed through the Anacondaur, spraying blood everywhere.
"You two go on ahead." I said. "I'll heal this one and send him back to report."
"I have a better idea." Seifer said. "This buffoon and I will advance to the tower. You heal that man and send him down to the beach to tell Quistis just how we're taking the initiative on this exam. Glad I thought of it."
That's exactly what I just said, but whatever.
Thanks to Curaga, healing the man didn't take long, so I was up with Seifer and Zell within minutes.
When I got there, however, Seifer had already advancing into the tower, and Selphie was on my tail…
I don't remember her having bright green eyes, or looking so generally pissed off at the world before.
"Alright you bozo's, you're Squad B, right?" she asked.
"Yes." I replied.
Her disposition changed completely, her eyes turning blue. "That's good." She beamed. "My name's Selphie. I'm a messenger from Squad A. Do you know where Seifer might be?"
"One of these days, Leon!" Seifer shouted, rising in the lift inside the tower. "I'll tell you about my ROMANTIC dream!"
"You don't want anything to do with him, sexy mamma." Zell said, picking her up in his arms. "You and I should get along just fine."
Her eyes turned green and her face became angry as she slammed him to the ground. Once she dusted herself off, her eyes were red and she looked kind but authoritative.
"This is a pain…" she sighed, jumping over the ledge and sliding down the slope.
I think Selphie has dissociative personality disorder, but that's none of my business.
"What're you waiting for!" she shouted from the tower entrance. "Come on!"
I leapt after her and Zell decided to slide down the slope.
"It would have been a lot quicker if you idiots just jumped." Selphie said, tapping her feet as the lift came back down.
"Slow down there, miss." Zell said. "I like adventure as much as the next guy, but I'm not the kind of whacko who'd just jump of a cliff for no reason, got that?"
"So what does that make me, chicken-wuss?" I asked, smirking at Seifer's nickname for him.
"Chicken wuss?" Zell asked, raising an eyebrow. "What're you, eleven?"
Of course that would sound as childish as ever over here, without Seifer to start it up.
"Whatever." I said. "How long is this lift gonna take?"
Once we were at the top, I got down to business.
Two Galbadian soldiers working on the satellite. Dead.
Elvoret comes. I Draw Siren and cast Aura on myself, then Renzokuken it to pieces.
Thanks to the eighty or so Ultima Junctioned to my strength, killing this monster didn't take long.
"Squad B captain?" Selphie asked Seifer once I was done and the Elvoret was a bloody mess. "S'cuse me! I have new orders! All SeeD members and SeeD candidates are to withdraw at 1900 hours. Assemble at the Shore!"
"Withdraw?" Seifer shouted. "I haven't completed my dastardly spree yet!"
"Hey, don't shoot the messenger jackass!" Selphie shouted.
"The order to withdraw takes higher priority over all other orders." I pointed out. "And I don't want to miss the boat."
Seifer spat, then stormed towards the elevator. "It leaves in thirty minutes." He cackled, going down without us. "Try not to be late."
I roasted the two soldier's bodies with a Flare spell to make sure they didn't summon that robot thing again.
I should have known better.
The monster was massive. Three stories tall, it had a roughly rectangular body that was coloured black and orange, with a bright red sphere at the core.
At the head was a roaring giant skull-like face, and it floated above us with six arms that were long, flat, and able to slice through mountains like they were nothing.
I cast Haste on the party. "RUN!" I shouted, leading the retreat as the monster began launching eye blasts at us.
"Oh… momma that ain't gonna be pretty." Zell moaned, running alongside me.
"Not good not good not good not good…" Selphie muttered as a black blue blitzed past us, rushing straight for the monster.
I looked around to see a humanoid figure tackle the monster. It was in some organic-looking black armour, and it was wearing a smooth, black helmet which cracked open like a jaw and bit into the red core.
The monster screamed as it was devoured, slashing apart the landscape as the smaller figure tore it apart and consumed the core in under a minute.
The massive monster collapsed into red mist as the armoured figure stood up and removed its helmet.
It was a dark skinned man with spiked silver hair. He had deep red eyes and he was licking his thumb.
"Now… that was the stuff." He said, cricking his neck and turning to us. "Hey…" he said, slowly walking towards me. "You're that Squall guy, right..?"
I scanned him.
No that's impossible!
Not even Ultimecia was this strong!
This guy, this Unit Zero, he was on a whole other level.
"Anyway, I don't need this any more." He said, reaching over his back and grabbing at his armour. It tore like overdone steak as he peeled it from his torso.
"Zell, Selphie." I ordered as I began summoning my strongest GF. "Run. Warn Garden that there's a Sorcerer here. I'll slow him down-"
"No, you won't." Zero said, and I couldn't move my mouth. "See, thanks to that little meal, I got my power back. Which means I can do this."
My head turned to Zell, not of my own free will, to see him unzipping his Cadet jacket. "Hey now, this ain't me!" he shouted, tossing the jacket to Zero before pulling his shirt off.
"I know." Zero said, catching the black shirt and donning it. "I'll let you keep your pants, since you aren't my size." He looked at me and Selphie as he pulled on the SeeD cadet jacket. "Damn. You're too short and you're in a skirt."
He punched through a Galbadian Soldier's helmet as he snuck up on him from behind. "Yeah, you'll do." He said, turning around and stripping the fresh corpse.
"GRIEVER!" I shouted, once the Guardian Force was ready. We were freed from Zero's control as Griever roared, slamming his fist against Zero. "RUN!" I shouted, grabbing Zell and Selphie and sprinting.
I hope that slows him down enough…
It didn't. Zero landed half-way across the bridge, now in the blue Galbadian Soldier trousers and boots, with a black shirt and an open SeeD jacket.
"I have to say, this jacket is the shit." Zero said, tugging at it. "Why do you wear that fur-lines black thing? It makes you look like a puff."
So, Zero knows about me from before. How? Why?
WHO IS HE?
"Hey, you got one of these baggy things too." Zero said from behind me, holding out the Lionheart gunblade. "Just reach behind you and pull stuff from your inventory right outta your ass! That's gotta be useful."
I turned around and levelled the chainsword at him.
"That actually looks pretty cool." Zero said. He flipped the Lionheart in his hand, offering the handle to me as he held out the other one. "Swapsies?"
That's definitely my sword.
Do I trust him?
I snatched at the gunblade and launched an Apocalypse spell into his face, sending him flying. I shoved the chainsword into this imaginary space on my ass and ran after Selphie and Zell, who'd already gotten it into their heads to run like hell and hope we don't die.
"Now that's not very nice." Zero said, running alongside me. "Mind you, I suppose it was yours to begin with, but still. Rude."
I slashed at him, but the 100 Death's I had junctioned to my weapon didn't even faze him. "Alright, I got it, you don't want me." Zero said, hopping onto the wall of the bridge. "Tell ya what. Game of tag. You get to the shore before me, I'll walk away and not bother you again, alright?" he asked. "I'll even give you a ten second head start."
Selphie blinked. "He's not-"
"Nine." Zero said, closing his eyes. "Eight."
"Let's skedaddle." Zell said, grabbing Selphie and bolting.
I ran after him.
I'm not paid enough to deal with this kind of thing.
We got to the beach in thirty seconds flat.
"My Quistis, you are looking as lovely as ever." Zero laughed, stroking her hair.
"IFRIT!" Zell shouted, punching the ground as Selphie summoned Shiva.
The ice goddess rode the fire demon, smacking its backside with a riding crop as they both unleashed their full power against Zero, who backhanded them across the water.
"You loose, kids." Zero laughed, and Quistis blinked furiously. She was under his control too. "I guess you just gotta put in more effort next time."
"Tee Tee Eff En!" He shouted as he hopped off the side of the boat and walked off. "Tata for now!" he waved as he walked off. "I look forward to ruining your lives later!"
Quistis twisted the Gatling gun around and opened fire at him, but the bullets just stopped an inch from his skin before falling to the ground. "TRY! HARDER!" he shouted, putting both hands in his pocket and walking back into town.
"Instructor Trepe." I said, clenching my fist around the Lionheart. "We were ordered to withdraw."
"Y-yes…" she said, visibly shaken. "Everyone! Into the boat and prepare for departure!"
During the boat trip, I pushed the Lionheart into the imaginary space behind my back and withdrew the chainsword. Good to know that I know how to use this strange thing, but I honestly don't know if I can trust this.
Well, it's best to keep up the pretence of being Leon for now. Right now, everyone except Seifer was busy being terrified by the mere memory of that man.
I'm not surprised. I've been to the ends of time itself, and I've never faced anything like that.
I stood up in my seat once we reached Balamb harbour.
And was greeted with twelve guns aimed for my head.
"Squall Leonhart?" The leader asked. "You're under arrest for assault and impersonating a Garden student."
I removed Ifrit, Shiva and Quetzalcoatl from my body and handed it over, going quietly. I don't want them to cancel the party.
Besides, I can still break out of here using Griever if I have to.
They took the chainsword from me too, which is fine since I still have the Lionheart available to me whenever I need it.
Thankfully, they seemed to realise I was an emergency case, and within minutes I was greeted by Leon Loire.
"I apologise for earlier, I didn't mean to knock you out." I said, trying to get on good terms with this alternate Garden. "I'll answer what I can."
Leon sat down at the table opposite me. "Name, Rank and Number is a good place to start." He said.
"Squall Leonhart, Former Garden Commander, SeeD number 41269." I stated.
Leon raised an eyebrow. "And how did that happen?" he asked.
"First Garden war between Balamb and Galbadia." I stated. "In case you haven't realised it, I'm from the future in an alternate universe."
"Right." He nodded. "And how did you get here?"
"Ending the Second Sorceress War by killing the Sorceress Ultimecia during Time Compression." I said.
"Right." Leon said, not batting an eyelid. "Well, that would explain why you know so much about Junctioning, the structure of Balamb Garden, and our genetic similarity." He pondered the next question. "Why are you telling me all this without care for Time Paradoxes?"
"Points in time are fixed, so my actions are, on the whole, meaningless when it comes to changing the past." I said. "I just want to meet up with my teammate and I will leave."
He considered this.
"Tell me about this Unit Zero person you saw in Dollet." Leon ordered.
"I don't know anything other than he's stronger than a sorceress that compressed all of time into a single instant." I said. "I don't know who he is, where he came from, what his goals are, but from what I know I suspect that he is a wild card acting for his own amusement."
"Would you say that he could be persuaded to join Garden?" Leon asked.
"No." I answered. "Garden has nothing to offer him that he could not take by himself, and even if he did join, his only intention would be to undermine the Garden hierarchy and instigate chaos."
"You seem to know more than you let on." Leon said.
If my hands weren't chained behind my back, I would facepalm at this man's stupidity.
"I used to think there was no such thing as good and evil, that there were only different standpoints, and our perspectives were the only thing that separated us from our enemies, but I was wrong." I said instead. "Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
"And you think Unit Zero is one of these men." Leon said.
"He's a madman." I said. "He knows that his power is so great that we couldn't hope to fight against him, and he uses that to play. To have fun. It's as if he was a child except he strategizes and schemes and plays the world was pawns in his game against himself."
"I get your point." Leon sighed. "Well, he went off the chart as of 19:10 hours at any rate, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to your different perspective I suppose."
He stood up.
"I can see that this has been a misunderstanding of some sort." Leon told me. "Where do you intend to meet your teammate?"
"At the Graduation ball tonight." I said. "Like last time."
He nodded, standing up. "Well, my make-up exam is tomorrow, in case you're wondering, so I wasn't invited." He growled. "But I'll see if Headmaster Cid can arrange for you to meet your friend and leave."
"Thank you." I nodded. "How did your Ifrit exam this morning go?"
"Nine minutes fifteen seconds." Leon grinned. "You?"
"Thirteen minutes seven." I sighed, and he left.
I thought about things in my cell.
I tried not to think, but I did anyway.
What if I was wrong?
What if I'm alone?
What if I'm leading Rinoa into a trap?
Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Half an hour after he left, Leon returned with my clothes.
"We removed the microchip, so you don't get any Garden access." He explained. "Put it on, get upstairs, look pretty, get out." He ordered, removing my hand cuffs.
"Thank you." I nodded, standing up and getting changed.
The waiting staff must be aware of me, because no one offered me any drinks like last time.
In fact, everyone avoided me tonight.
Suits me just fine.
I just need to wait for Rinoa.
I turned to Quistis. "I thought I was being exiled?" I asked.
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean that we can't talk." She said. "So~oo… you like stuff?"
At least she's recovered from earlier.
Eventually, Quistis got bored of talking to me and went to find someone else to annoy.
She's honestly worse than Selphie back home.
At some pint during the night, two SeeD's put their hands on my shoulder.
"There is a Rinoa Heartily in the lobby for you."
I ran there as fast as I could.
I grabbed her and held her as tight as I could.
"I'm never letting you out of my sight again." I told her.
She put her arms around me.
"Yes, fine, we'll leave." Rinoa pouted, pulling away from me. "Come on, Squall."
"So, just so we're clear." Rinoa said to me once we were outside. "Ultimecia, Time Compression, Ragnarok, Seifer killing Odin, Lunatic Pandora, everything work out?"
I smiled. "Yeah." I said. "That's us."
She smiled. "Anyone else here?"
"Just us as far as I know." I told her. "Working on a plan to get back though."
She nodded, arms folded.
Actually, isn't she cold in that white dress?
…Whatever. I shrugged off my coat and draped it over her shoulders.
"Alright, who are you and what did you do with Squall?" Rinoa asked.
"Whatever." I said, walking along the road. "I want to be in Balamb hotel by midnight, coming?"
She sighed behind me. "Yeah, sure." She said, jogging to catch up and then walking beside me.
OH WOW YOU GUYZ YOU NEVER SAW THAT COMING AMIRITE?
Well, Heraklinos did, but that's beside the point.
Athan Mortis, I haven't set off on my mission yet. I should be getting information on when I'm going within the next few weeks.
Kinoshita, I hope you'll enjoy this FFVIII story then.
So, sorry for the delay everyone. Brain's kinda been frazzled the past couple of weeks. But on the plus side, I baptised someone last Saturday! And I'm not even on my mission yet! Give me a high-five!
Speaking of which, your local Pizza Hut needs you, or the brand might get shut down. And we do not what that.
So, character explanation.
Leon Loire is Squall only not raised in an orphanage. Also, chainsword.
Quistis is heavily based on THE REI, from NGE Nobody Dies. Well worth reading, it's like Shinji & Warhammer40k, only more like Time Paradox and less like Fairly English Story.
Seifer is Dick Dastardly, Fujin is Muttley, and Raijin is Ask Thatguywiththeglasses.
Zell is Johnny Bravo, Headmaster Cid is Robin Williams, and Selphie is all three powerpuff girls in one body.
Yep, I think I met my insanity quota this chapter.
Also, this was set between chapter 14 and chapter 16 of Time Paradox. Hence why this is the Third Paradox, as the Second Paradox is set four years before Time Paradox, back during the alternate Nibelheim Incident.