Author's Note: Wow, it didn't take me too long to get back here! *shifty eyes* lol I love this pairing far too much. I debated putting this in the crossover section, but because it relies so heavily on the events of both Dissidia and Dissidia 012, I figured it was safe to put here. It also draws a bit from my Familiar fic, but not too much, just little details. So yeah, this is a multi-chap story, but because I'm primarily a Rockman/Mega Man author, don't expect me to churn out chapters quickly (Especially since they'll typically be this long or more). But, uh, yeah, enjoy. ^^

Spare me the asshole comments.

Spare me the 'I told you so' looks.

Spare me the grief of being told I was wrong.

Spare me the pain of saying goodbye.

Storm gray versus ocean blue, a sparkle of water trickling down, angrily swiped away. It was almost poetic, if it weren't so pathetic.

"Is it so bad I don't wanna go back just yet?" he muttered.

There was a clink, his steely crystal beginning its mysterious magic. He didn't have time, and so he reached out, cupping that teary cheek. "We have to. If I retain my memories, I…"

A sound, like a music box beginning to play a familiar melody, and he grabbed black leather almost desperately. "Wait, wait, just one more minute!"


Was one more kiss so much to ask for? It must have been, for by the time he reached those lips, they were gone in a gentle breeze, a feather the only thing remaining in his now empty palms. The music box chimed again, and he knew then he had to give it up and go home.

He clutched the feather close as his glittering orange crystal materialized in his hands and he took off into the sky, where a bright light awaited him. Closing his eyes, Zidane waited for the familiar sounds of home, the smells of home, the memories…

…came in a rush, waves, toppling over everything he had experienced, but Zidane resolutely held onto the feather and the memories associated with it. Dagger's smiling, gorgeous face filled his mind over that of Squall's stoic, steely gaze—his love for the princess choked his love for the mercenary, but he couldn't just let it go, he had to remember, because he promised…

Suddenly there was stillness, and he was frozen, but his soul felt like it rocked against a boulder. Dagger vanished from his mind, the experiences of home and his homeworld friends slowly began to bleed out of him again.

Wait. Zidane wasn't speaking, too confused to even form his own thoughts. The voices sounded distant and close up, a woman and a man, a chorus of souls and a single, lonely singer who lost the inspiration to have a song in their heart.

Something is amiss.

He felt frozen in time, but he could feel it flow over him. It was warm at first, and Zidane almost relaxed. Then it was freezing cold, making him shudder and wonder if he was going to die.

Your bond will allow you to correct this. The chorus moaned and a man sternly reprimanded him. Only you will retain the memories of war, for you will need them.

"I have to go home…" Zidane thought he spoke, but it felt as if water rushed into his mouth and he choked.

You shall. But I implore you… Was that Cosmos, suddenly, speaking to him through the haze of voices? Because of all you achieved, stop this madness before it grows.

Zidane tried to snatch the memories of home back, but it and the memories of Dagger vanished, replaced by the tragic war he narrowly survived; of the Goddess and God of the polar opposites, of his fellow Warriors and the agony of fighting against his brother in a sick game of pawns and kings…

Of that resolute mercenary he found sanctuary in.

Something's happening to Squall. Zidane's mind panicked and he willed himself to move, to breathe. He tried to inhale, but he inhaled salty water.

It burned and his eyes snapped open, his body suddenly flailing. He was floating in water, above a black abyss that he had no idea where it went. Panic, fear, isolation rushed at him all at once and Zidane floundered in the water, trying to swim up, to get air.

His hand broke the surface of the water before it felt back down, limp body bobbing with the lazy, uncaring waves.

"… couldn't just leave him there."

"Don't you realize… danger…!"

"… harmless enough to…"

"Yo… —noa!"

Zidane remembered, briefly when he pretended to be a doctor's assistant, that it was believed hearing was the last thing to go and the first thing to come back when someone went into a coma. He didn't really believe that, but now that he heard the voices floating above him and he couldn't will himself to do anything about it, he was starting to think that crazy old man was right. But when did he play assistant, and why?

"Kinda creep… a damn tail."

That sounded very, very familiar. Did he ever get the luck of finding a group of people where a tail wasn't that big of a deal?

"Someone go wake up the Commander." Oh, what a time for full hearing to come in.

"I will!" that sounded like a cute, female voice.

Zidane willed himself to move, at least open his eyes. Before he did, he got the impression there was an incredibly bright light focused on his face, and instinctively his eyes clenched tightly closed. Gasps all around, cautionary whispers, and Zidane hazard cracking an eye open.

He was right about the bright light, and six people hovered above him, making him feel quite claustrophobic. It felt like he was on a very uncomfortable bed, more like a bench really, and the six heads seemed to come that much closer to him. The one to his left wearing white suddenly flashed a brighter, more focused light into his open eye, and Zidane protested with a sharp cry and threw his hands over his eyes.

"I'll note PERRLA for now," the one who temporarily blinded him said, or at least, Zidane figured it was her. "I put the light away. Do you understand me?"

"Yeah, I do, you jerk!" Zidane snapped, trying to make his head stop swimming. He refused to remove his hands from his eyes still, the sensation of being blinded like that making him agitated.

He heard a man rumble about his rudeness, and a stern female told him to calm down. Another question was asked, "Do you know where you are?"

"No." and realizing that fact, Zidane resolved to be pleasant. Considering these people hadn't killed him yet, he wasn't in immediate danger just yet, and perhaps some proper etiquette would keep it that way.

"Do you know where you came from?" the stern female voice asked. "What is your race, ethnicity?"

"Hey, hey, hey," a male, but not the one who was threatening earlier. It sounded a lot friendlier, laid back, sort of like Zidane himself. "You're all asking the questions in the wrong order. First, do you know who you are?"

Zidane contemplated lying, but as he started to slowly realize what was going on, and why, he knew he needed to be as tactfully truthful as possible. "Zidane Tribal. I come from… uhm…" Tactful truthfulness. "I don't know. I just remember my name."

Zidane finally dropped his hands and looked at those around him as he sat up. The woman in white, the one who blinded him, stood off a bit from the bed writing things on a thin brown board in her hands. Another woman with blond hair pinned up stood with her, dressed in an almost scandalous red leather dress, her navel exposed almost shyly with unattached maroon sleeves covering her arms. To his left was yet another woman—Zidane quite liked this set up thus far—dressed in a black shirt and shorts, overlaid with a bright blue fabric coat thing, and had black hair with streaks of lighter brown. Looking to his right stood the two men Zidane had heard—one tall with a ponytail of shiny copper hair, a hat on his head and dressed in a trench coat. The other… was sort of creepy to Zidane, with extremely weird spiked up blond hair and… a black mark on his face. A tattoo?

The guy in the hat spoke again, "Okay, Zidane. Do you recall anything before ending up in the ocean?"

Ocean triggered the memory, and Zidane instinctively gasped for air as he vividly recalled the panic and fear of realizing he was deep underwater when he woke up. The women in the white coat and the red dress went to him, and Zidane shook his head furiously. When the panic attack subsided, he swallowed hard as the voices came back to his mind.

"Something is amiss. Your bond will allow you to correct this. Only you retain the memories." Zidane could figure out what was going on easily enough—this had to be Squall's world. His bond with Squall got him here, with Cosmos' help he wagered, and he was going to meet a Squall that was both his and not.

That hurt, and Zidane slowly raised a hand to his chest.

Immediately the woman in white grasped his shoulders. "Does your chest hurt?" she asked.

Zidane wasn't sure if that was some weird sign in this world, but he didn't like the intense look she was giving him. "N-no, I…"

"I'm baaaaack!"

The cheerful voice from before finally revealed itself as a young woman with the weirdest hairstyle Zidane had ever seen, but its carefree nature matched well with her big eyes and bright yellow dress.

"Selphie," the man with the hat greeted, quite fondly Zidane noted, "Dr. Kadowaki is examining him, so…"

"He's fine," the woman in white, Kadowaki Zidane figured, backed away to reveal the door to this tiny room.

Zidane's heart lurched as he recognized Squall in the doorway, one hand on his hip and glaring at the room occupants. When those gray eyes fell on him, there was no recognition, no well hidden affection Zidane was used to searching for. Cold indifference.

Despite knowing it would make no difference, Zidane still couldn't help it. "Squall."

The entire room froze for a moment, and that cold indifference morphed into guarded confusion. Squall stepped into the room, making it that much more crowded, until he towered over Zidane.

"Who are you?" Squall asked, carefully in a neutral tone. "How do you know me?"

"Huh," the guy with the tattoo muttered, "said he only knew his own name."

"Zell," Squall addressed him, and then turned to everyone else. "Irvine, Quistis, Rinoa, Selphie and Doctor… if you'll wait outside."

The woman in blue, Rinoa, left without another word. Zidane noticed a tension between her and Squall, and wondered if maybe she's the one Squall once mentioned semi-remembering during one of the few peaceful moments of the war. The other two women went after her, apparently worried, as the men filed out with questionable looks.

Kadowaki remained, however. "I need to observe him." She said.

Squall sighed, and Zidane recognized it—it was the one the mercenary did when he knew he wasn't going to win the argument. Solace in that, Zidane gazed up at Squall from his bed, marveling at how small he felt when stood over like this. Squall was intimidating to an extent, especially now that he had no recollection of what they had shared once, and Zidane was completely out of his element and into Squall's. Squall had the power, and Zidane had to play this game carefully if he was to figure out what Cosmos wanted…

… And, maybe for a while, find a way to revive Squall's prior memories…

"Who are you?" Squall asked again, eyes narrow.

Zidane swallowed. When he had first encountered Squall, the man was unfriendly, but not unapproachable. This Squall, who regarded him with fierce distrust, was hurting him with every word and didn't even know it.

"Zidane Tribal," he answered. Tactful truthfulness, his new motto.

"How do you kno—what the hell is that?" Squall's eyes were suddenly focused behind Zidane.

Immediately Zidane's tail went rigid for a moment before curling up behind Zidane, as if afraid. For good measure, Zidane grabbed it and pinned it to the mattress.

"Selphie didn't tell you?" Kadowaki said, nonchalantly even, "Our guest has a tail. It's real, and functions more like a combination of a cat and monkey's tail. It has the strength to support him, but seems to move more or less 'on its own.'"

The thief didn't want to know what exactly she did to him while he was out cold, so he ignored her. Squall eyed Zidane's twitching tail for a moment before his eyes regained contact with Zidane's.

"How do you know me?" Squall asked.

He was at a loss to answer this without sounding insane. "I…" Zidane looked at the woman who seemed to be recording every word he was saying. "I don't know. I just… do?"

Without looking away, Squall addressed Kadowaki, "Who found him?"

"Rinoa," Kadowaki replied, "Said she was on the second floor balcony when she saw his body floating in the water."

Squall frowned visibly at the mention of Rinoa. "Doubt you're Estharian in any make," he muttered to Zidane. "Where—"

"He has stated he doesn't remember," Kadowaki cut in. Squall glared at her, but Zidane was thankful she seemed to be the boss of the place and was on his side. "Other than amnesia, he checks out. Why don't you question him somewhere else, Squall, in case there is an emergency and we need this room?"

Squall scoffed, but Zidane caught her looking at him. The blond saw that look numerous times—Bartz gave it to them when he was subtly giving them a chance to be alone. She saw through his façade, something Zidane found himself slipping a lot when it came to Squall, and was giving him the chance to explain to the mercenary without the suppressive feeling of others.

"Fine," Squall went for the door, and Zidane scrambled after him. The blond froze when he only now realized he wasn't in his usual clothes, instead clad in a weird, light gown thing.

An indignant noise escaped Zidane as he looked down at himself, also realizing his hair was loose. Looking around, he caught site of his usual attire and practically threw himself at it as Squall was turning around.

The mercenary frowned a bit, but he and Kadowaki left him in the room to presumably change. Quickly Zidane threw off the gown and got into his clothes, but he knew immediately his weapons were gone. Miffed, but understandable, Zidane emerged from the robe comfortably clad in his cold somewhat damp clothes; his hair was left loose, however, as his usual ribbon was gone and he saw nothing helpful in the room. He'd just have to deal with it.

Kadowaki was a mind reader, Zidane was beginning to think, when she immediately said, "Your weapons have been transferred to a few SeeD members for safe keeping. If the Commander," she looked at Squall, who scowled, "decides you're harmless, you'll get them back."

"SeeD?" Zidane asked as he straightened his gloves. And… commander? When Squall would indulge him, he remembered his old lover saying he was a student of a mercenary school, not a commander!

"You'll want to hide that," Kadowaki said, pointing to the now freely swaying tail. "Else you'll draw undue attention."

Zidane looked down at the furry appendage, and wrapped it around his waist amongst his belts. The blondish fur stuck out among the belts, but it could be taken as an accessory instead of a limb. Kadowaki nodded, and Squall waited for him at another door that dinged and opened on its own, surprising the thief.

Not a word was said as Squall led him out, and although Zidane was used to that, it wasn't the usual comfortable silence they shared before. It was tense, uncomfortable and, to Zidane, painful; he wanted nothing more than to grasp Squall's hand and walk with him, have a sense of normalcy, but—

Going outside made Zidane freeze, his senses going haywire as he registered his surroundings. The hallway was just a covered walkthrough, the outside and bustling of others temporarily shocking him. Several young people, a lot dressed in what seemed to be a uniform, walked outside in a courtyard that smelled of fake and real plants, dust and… metallic-like things?

Zidane had to sprint to catch up to Squall, who kept striding on. The tense silence was broken as Zidane looked around, fascinated by the new things. He remembered little of his homeworld, but he knew it was nothing compared to this.

The covered walkway ended and they entered a huge building, reminding Zidane of a palace. People gave him strange looks as they walked by, but none said a word to him, only waving or greeting Squall when they came close. As their walkway joined a larger, circular one, Squall finally paused and seemed to think.

Zidane's awe-filled stares went on as he looked around, the huge fountain commanding his attention with its strange foliage and stone carving. People of varying ages milled around, a few not dressed in the common uniform. It was like stepping into a small village… but all in one building! Turning his eyes upwards, Zidane saw more walkways and a few peoples' heads as they passed.

Zidane turned to look when he caught Squall muttering, "Xu'll grill him to death if I take him to the bridge… for now…" suddenly the mercenary looked at him, and caught staring, Zidane looked away. "Let's go."

Veering to the left, Zidane walked slightly behind Squall, still taking in his surroundings. Several branching paths went off the circular one, glowing signs naming the ending destination. A "quad" and "cafeteria" caught Zidane's eye, but the words were borderline foreign and he dismissed them, instead focusing on the colorful patterns of the walls and floor.

They suddenly turned down a corridor marked 'dormitory' and paused at a split. One door automatically opened upon their approach, but Squall instead went for the door that remained closed. He took something out of his pocket, a card it seemed, and ran it through a black box on the door frame. It beeped, making Zidane jump, and flashed a green light three times before it opened.

Zidane studied the door quickly as he went through, but knew he'd have to really stare at it if he needed to break in at some other time and learn how it worked. He followed Squall through more hallways, closed doors like the one they passed through initially dotted the walls to the left and right side.

Finally approaching a door marked with the number 89 and SeeD Dorm written across the top, Squall once more used the card from before in the little black box. When it flashed green, he stepped aside and looked at Zidane pointedly.

The thief entered first, surprisingly not at all on guard. Even if this wasn't his usual Squall, it was still Squall… and Zidane felt safe regardless.

The room was obviously Squall's living space, and a pretty nice one at that. A decent sized room with a long, cushioned chair greeted Zidane's sight; it was set in front of a large box, sitting on a table. A long coffee table was positioned in front of the long chair, a few generic baubles on top of it. Other than that, the place was rather bare. An opening in the wall led to what could have been a kitchen, with a closed door on the other end.

Squall shrugged off his jacket and hung it up on a hook near the front door as Zidane looked around, his tail unwinding from his waist and swaying in the air nonchalantly. Something about it made Squall pause and stare for a moment, a sort of 'should know' feeling edging his mind.

Suddenly Zidane turned to him, and the look made Squall jerk back a bit. He had seen those blue eyes before.

"So you remember nothing," Squall started, right into business to erase the familiarity.

Zidane bit the inside of his cheek, not sure how to respond. He'd have to tell Squall eventually, but how did he explain it without being written off as crazy and dumped outside in a foreign world?

"It's hard to explain," what a way to start; so cliché it made Zidane internally wince. "Have you… recently, have your friends claimed you've disappeared for a while?"

Squall stared at him, and then frowned severely. "If so?"

Zidane wasn't sure if that was Squall's way of avoiding saying yes, or if he was baiting the thief, but he took the lead given. "And even if they claim so, you don't recall."


Zidane took a deep breath, even added a timid twirling of his loose hair to further his innocent appearance. "I—"

Suddenly a sort of chime like sound went through the room and Zidane jumped, bringing his hands up and getting into a fighting position. His tail swished angrily as an unfamiliar voice suddenly seemed to fill the entire building.

"Squall, Squall! Please report to the bridge immediately!"

"What the hell is that?" Zidane asked, eyes darting around as if expecting something to jump out at him.

Squall stared for several seconds before slowly answering, "The intercom system."

Zidane froze, even his tail, for a few seconds before dropping the fighting stance and adopting a confused expression. "A… what?"

He doesn't know what an intercom is. For some reason, Squall was both incredibly shocked and expecting such. He was surprised at the automatic doors. Confused at the auto-lock mechanisms. Wherever he's from, there is no technology.

What a drab place that must be. Squall glanced around for a moment, then sighed that resigned sigh of his. If he was summoned, he was summoned.

"Stay here," Squall instructed, grabbing his jacket off the hanger.

Zidane immediately began to… pout? "Let me come with!"


Typically, if this were his Squall, Zidane would continue to argue until he got his way. But that single word held a coldness, a power, Zidane was not used to being used against him and it made him fall silent. He knew this wasn't his Squall, but it didn't make it hurt any less.

At the crestfallen look, Squall did soften his tone a touch as he went on, "When I get back, you'll tell me what you know of my disappearance. From there I'll decide what to do with you."

Zidane nodded numbly, watching Squall leave the room. The door closed behind him, clicked softly, and Zidane listened to his footsteps fade down the hall. A second later, the little black box on the door flashed red, and something about it made Zidane wary. Flashing red lights weren't a good sign…

Zidane tested the door, walking up to it. When it didn't budge, he planted his hand against it, and then rattled the little black box.

He was locked in.

"Greetings, Commander!" Quistis earned a healthy glare in response to that, so she took it as a sign things went well with the stranger. "Oh, don't be that way, Xu and I just made your job a bit easier by assigning duties. Xu'll take care of supplies and help Dr. Kadowaki; you just focus on destination and battle plans. How's that sound?"

Squall crossed his arms and glanced away. "Fine."

Xu offered a smile, one Squall could tell she used just for show. She was always one for the 'perfect SeeD' appearance. "Alright, I have some reports for you already. FH is officially finished fixing the Garden—they taught Nida all the do's and don'ts and he'll pilot it."

Nida turned from the fin-like thing he was standing in front of and saluted. "Let me know when you want to go."

Squall dropped his arms and looked back at them, and Quistis could already tell he wasn't really paying much attention if the faraway look in his eyes was any indication. "Fine."

"Any suggestions on where we should go?" Quistis edged.

Xu tapped her chin a few times before speaking up, "Hey, why don't we go back to Balamb? We don't know what's happened since we left. Besides, it may be the Galbadians next target; it's a harbor town, just like FH."

The ex-instructor nodded, turning to her former student. "What do you think, Squall?"

Squall seemed to think over it for a moment, then offhandedly shrugged one shoulder. "Seems good as any." At the looks he was given, Squall added, "And I'm sure many students would want to assure their families."

An odd remark, but it seemed to settle the group down, so Squall went with it. "We're taking off," Squall directed, looking at Nida and making the pilot SeeD squirm in his uniform. "Destination, Balamb. Announce the departure."

Quistis couldn't help but admire how well Squall went into the leader role, smiling as Nida confirmed the order and turned on the intercom.

"May I have your attention please," Nida said into the microphone. "This is the bridge. The Garden will be leaving FH shortly; please prepare for departure. Take off may have some turbulence, so be sure you're in a safe area. Our destination is Balamb, and should all go well, estimated time of arrival is two days constant sailing. I will now hand the mic over to our leader, Squall."

Immediately Squall scowled. "A speech…? Forget it. Cut the mic!"

Nida was grinning as he turned the intercom system off, the women with them nearly dissolving into giggles. Squall's scowl grew, and he turned back toward the lift with a sharp about face.

"I'm going to my room," Squall said. "You know how to get a hold of me if you need me."

"Wait up," Quistis followed the SeeD to the lift, and after they were back on the Headmaster's floor she said, "So how is our guest?"

Squall gave her a sidelong glance as they walked toward the main elevator. "I was still questioning him when you called me."

Quistis noticed the miffed tone, but didn't take offense. She casually brushed her long, blond bangs behind her ear, recalling where Squall was intending to go now. "You stored him in your room?"

"Kadowaki wanted us out of the infirmary." And where else am I going to put a freak with a tail? Squall hit the down button, and the two boarded when the doors opened.

"Tail aside, he seems fairly normal," Quistis shrugged as the elevator doors closed, and Squall hit the appropriate button. "Cute kid, though. What is he, thirteen?"

Squall leaned against the elevator wall as it lazily moved to the bottom floor, wishing she'd had left him alone. "I don't know, don't really care."

Quistis either didn't hear that or pretended she didn't, because she continued to muse, "Than again, those weapons of his, primitive as they are, are rather impressive. Maybe he's just short… Who knows, Squall, maybe he's a SeeD of another Garden, but a mission went awry. Mutations aren't common, but they happen."

"Kadowaki would be delighted to hear that, I'm sure," Squall muttered. "Irvine would have recognized him if he were Galbadia Garden SeeD, and Selphie knew practically everyone from Trabia Garden. The White SeeD, maybe, but then he'd be in their uniform if he were on their ship, and it doesn't explain how he ended up in the ocean near our particular Garden when they left us so long ago."

Quistis appreciated him thinking over this, like a leader should. Her subtle grooming was working—who said she couldn't be an instructor? "Well, he's obviously a fighter. I guess as he fights, he might get his memories back."

Getting memories back by fighting? How absurd, but Squall didn't say anything. Memory loss by amnesia rarely came back, and if loss by GF use, as the GF critics say…

That brought another thought to Squall, and before the elevator dinged their arrival to the ground floor, he asked, "Did he come with any magic or GF junctioned?"

"Oh!" Quistis crossed her arms, looking a little contrite. "I was going to bring that up, but I totally forgot. Kadowaki said he isn't able to junction at all—he can't even be taught it."

Proof he isn't a SeeD. Squall noted. Still, with some basic training, anyone could junction a GF into their mind-space, as well as draw magic. So why not him?

"She said she'd look over the x-rays and MRI's more closely, but she might steal him later for more, knowing her," Quistis said offhandedly as they descended to central stairs. She knew they were going to part ways, and so said her farewell, "Don't be too hard on the boy. I don't wanna try and think of how he ended up with amnesia and floating in the ocean."

Squall didn't say anything as she walked away, staying at the bottom of the stairs with his arms crossed and looking deep in thought. No knowledge of basic technology, wields basic weaponry, unable to junction. How has he managed to survive?

And that wasn't even touching the fact Zidane knew of Squall's so called disappearance.

That made the mercenary frown and he started toward his dormitory. Everyone claimed he had said he'd taken a mission and went missing for days with no way of communication, and when they found him outside of Garden, he had no recollection of any sort. Yet the way his comrades responded, it wasn't some twisted joke—Squall had to have gone somewhere, his memory tampered with.

"I guess as he fights, he might get his memories back."

That phrase in itself tugged at Squall's mind. Something about it felt familiar, like an important fact he had disregarded.

When the door to his dorm opened, Squall found himself staring down at Zidane messing with the locking mechanism. The blond gaped up at him from his bent over position near the door, eyes wide in the obvious 'oh shit I got caught' expression—Squall knew it by heart; he'd seen it so many times.

Have I?

"I…" Zidane started.

Squall wouldn't get to hear his excuse—the entire Garden lurched as it finally left its temporary dock in FH, and Zidane was completely unprepared for the sudden movement. He flailed about a bit, grabbing onto the closest stable object and wrapping arms and tail about it. That object was Squall, and he barely kept his footing by grabbing the door frame and cradling Zidane's head against his stomach.

When the Garden finally stabilized and the two ceased rocking uneasily, Squall let out an irritated breath as he looked down. Zidane slowly raised his eyes, but other than that, didn't move.

"You can let go." Squall commented, even though he himself still had an arm around the smaller male.

Zidane waited a few moments, as if absorbing what was said, before he slowly pulled away; Squall dropped his arm from Zidane, and the bright blond fur caught his eye. Zidane's tail was wrapped firmly around his arm, and seemed to have no intention of letting go.

The blond followed Squall's eyes, and with a light flush, released Squall's arm and fled into the room out of what Squall assumed was embarrassment. The mercenary followed him in, again removing his jacket and hanging it up, finding Zidane sitting forlornly on his couch.

"So…" Zidane smiled, and even Squall noticed it was forced. Something about what just happened bugged him. "Why'd you lock me in?"

"Safety," and that was all Squall was going to admit.

"I guess we pick up where we left off?"

Pick up where we left off. Why did it seem like Zidane had said that to phrase to Squall before? The brunette frowned mentally and shoved the thought aside—it was a common phrase, he was fairly sure someone else said it to him recently.

Squall stood over Zidane, again taking the position of higher power, and Zidane respectfully let him have it. While alone, the blond both thought over his situation and tried to figure out the lock, but in any case he came to the conclusion to get his job done and go home. This world wasn't his, this Squall wasn't his, and the sooner Zidane completed whatever it was Cosmos wanted and left, the better he was, and less pained. It seemed like the best way to go about this was to get everyone to trust him until he figured out the job, and if that meant swallowing his pride and playing the part, well, Zidane was a fairly good actor.

"You know about my disappearance," Squall said. "So tell me."

Zidane's tail thumped on the couch in an agitated manner, but he couldn't lie, not to those stormy gray eyes. "You have to let me tell the whole thing, and have an open mind."

"Done." It was said the eyes were the windows to the soul, and Squall's were piercing beams of superiority Zidane couldn't help but yield to. He always did like how Squall managed to both tame him and drive him wild…

The blond inhaled, waited a few seconds for any possible interruptions, and began his crazy, stupid story, "It all starts with a pretty lady named Cosmos and a crazy guy named Chaos…"