Hey everyone.  PG rating, I guess, but it might change over future chapters.  I dunno yet, since I haven't written it…duh.  Oh yeah, don't mid the title, it's a real shocker…*sigh*

Disclaimers: well, since I OWN Squaresoft, I don't need one of those things! MWAHAHAHA…HA…ha-no.

Fight for the Future

Squall peered into the mirror.  He noticed a tiny set of wrinkles under his eyes, and frowned.  I'm getting old.  Or maybe it's just the stress... yeah, that's it...

That had to be it.  Being the Commander of the Garden for 20 years does take a toll on a person.  Still, Squall didn't regret a moment of it.  Crossing over to the window, he gazed on his home.  The Garden had been built up higher, and now it could not leave the surface.  Still, it was more beautiful than before.  And powerful.  The number of SeeDs had increased by the thousands since the Sorceress War, and was now the largest Garden on the planet.  Now that he thought about it, Squall noticed how much had changed since the War.  The three Gardens, Trabia being completely rebuilt, were the peacekeeping forces, treating their enemies with justice.  And, until recently, they were allied closely.  And, of course, as things changed, things stayed the same.  There were still wars, although minor ones, which required Garden assistance.  Unsurprisingly, most of these were in Galbadia.  And, Squall admitted to himself reluctantly, the rift between Galbadia and Balamb was growing once more.  He had already begun to advise Trabia garden to stay out of a possible war, but there wasn't much else he could do.  Galbadia had always been over ambitious and war-like, always picking a fight with a group of people, or a city, or anything.  He looked back at his desk.  Piled high with papers.  For missions, supplies, everything.  Squall didn't know what he was up against when Cid gave him the job.  But, just visible under the piles of papers, was a silver photo frame.  Squall crossed over to his desk, picked up the frame, and wiped away the dust.  Rinoa had put it there, years and years ago.  He hadn't liked it at the time, but couldn't be bother to remove it.  The picture was of the six heroes, taken just after they had killed Ultimiecia.  They were all crowded together, with the Ragnorak in the background.  Squall had a rare smile on his face, his arm around Rinoa's waist.  Selphie was wearing Irvine's hat, he noticed with a touch of amusement.  Quistis and Zell were both beaming, triumphant looks on their faces.  Rinoa... even now Squall loved her in the same way as he did when he met her.  It was timeless, infitiate...

Squall was interrupted from his musing with a knock on his door.  He turned around.  A young SeeD saluted him from the doorway.

"Sir, there you have a call from Seifer Almasy.  He says it's urgent, Sir." He said, his voice betraying a hint of nervousness.

"I'll take it in here." Squall replied shortly, and turned towards his video screen. He never noticed the SeeD hurry off.  Tapping a few buttons, a head appeared, with short blond hair and a scar matching Squall's own.

"You know, Commander," Seifer informed him. "I have to pay for you making me wait all day here." His face, however, showed no anger as he continued to complain.

"It's early." Squall replied to his friend.  Times had changed. Seifer lived in Deling City, and was one of Squall's closest friends.  At times Squall was overwhelmed at the strong bond between them.  Back years ago, if someone had told him that him and Seifer were alike, he would've laughed.  But now...it was strange that they'd become such enemies in the first place.  Maybe it's just his obnoxious personality.

Squall listened to Seifer grumbled about Deling communication prices, and let his mind drift.  After the War, Seifer had returned to Garden about a year after the War.  Raijin had moved to Estar to live in the Presidential Palace.  Not Fuujin.  Seifer never said why, but even Squall could tell that she had deeply affected him.  Surprisingly, the one to comfort him was Quistis.  Squall hadn't expected those two to get together, and even marry, but Rinoa and Selphie acted as if they knew it the whole time.  After a big happy wedding, the two moved to Galbadia Garden, where they aided the new Commander there to create some semblance of order.  Poor Quistis...

"You listening to me Puberty Boy?" Seifer interrupted Squall's thoughts.


"Sure.  Well, I was saying that I want to send Leo over to become a SeeD."

Leo?  Oh... Seifer's son.  He must be... 18 years old now.  Same as Sam... "...Why not at Galbadia?" Squall asked.

"Yeah, that's what I really called about." Seifer recalled. "The Galbadia army is being armed for war.  Something's goin' on over at the Garden which is about the same thing, which is why I'm not sending Leo there."

"Arming for war?  With who?"

"Do I work there?" Seifer snapped. "But I can tell it's serious, now that the Garden is working with Galbadia again."

Squall just nodded.  He knew exactly what Seifer meant. "I'd better tell Irvine and Selphie.  I'll call later."
Selphie's smiling face appeared on Squall's phone screen.  She looked exactly the same as she had years before, just faint lines on her face. "Hi Squall!" she chirped. "What's up?"

Squall shrugged. "Galbadia forces are allying with Galbadia Garden."

Selphie's smiled drooped a little, and she tilted her head on one side. "Ooh, that's serious.  I'll get Irvine." She vanished from the screens view, but Squall heard her yell, "Irvy-baby!  It's Squally!"

Squall gave a tiny smile to the empty screen.  Just like Rinoa said, Irvine and Selphie were in the "cute" kind of love.  Even after being married for almost 20 years, they still acted like teenage sweethearts.  Everything they did was active and almost entertaining.  They had strangely matching personalities; Selphie's hyperactivity, and Irvine's smooth nature and refined attitude.  Squall found the two of them highly amusing.  Even when Irvine proposed to her, it was comical.  They were on the Ferris wheel at the Balamb fair, and Selphie was sharing her cotton candy.  Irvine was highly allergic to it, and ended up in the Garden Medical center for the next week. 

Selphie had dragged her new husband to Trabia, where they still lived, Selphie as an instructor, and Irvine as a sort of diplomat between the three gardens.  Which was why Squall was asking him about it.

Irvine's head appeared, a wry grin on his face.  His hat was missing. "'Mornin' Squall."

Squall explained what Seifer had told him, and saw his friend's face tighten in concentration.

"I haven't been to the Garden in a while." Irvine shrugged. "Back a few months ago, when I last went over there, it seemed a little stressed, but that's it."

Squall shrugged.

"D'ya think they've found another sorceress?  I sure hope not."

Squall nodded. "I know.  We can't let that happen again."

Irvine seemed to understand. "How 'bout I go over to Galbadia Garden again, check it out."

"Good idea."

Selphie reappeared next to her husband. "We have to visit some time Squall!  I haven't seen you guys for ages!"

Irvine nudged her side. "You and Rinoa talk for hours every day.  You see her then." He teased.

Selphie scowled at him, then turned back to Squall. "Hmm... Hey!  I gotta idea!  If we send Jade over to become a SeeD, then we can come for the inauguration thingy!"

Squall just nodded. Why not just come without a reason?  Oh well...

"Yeah, she's old enough." Irvine added. "Good idea Seph."

"Alright then.  You just get to Galbadia Garden, Kinneas, and find out what's going on."

"Sure thing." Irvine gave a rakish grin.

"Oh, Squall, say hi to Rinoa for me, kay?" Selphie said excitedly. "And to Zell, and Zoey, and Elena and Sam and..."

"Bye Selphie." Squall ended the conversation.


Squall turned around to see a young woman at the doorway.  Elena.  Squall and Rinoa had named her after Ellone.  She was 14, and looked like a mix between Ellone and Rinoa.  Light brown hair, slim figure from Elle, blue eyes and an attitude from Rinoa.  Definetly Rinoa's attitude, Squall added silently.

"Mom's in the cafeteria, I think she's looking for you." She said, adjusting her student uniform. "Zell and Zoey are down there too."

"Thanks sweetie." Squall replied, giving her a brief hug.  Elena giggled.

"I'm going in to Balamb today, I'll be back tomorrow."

"Who with?"

"...some friends..." Elena replied. "Bye now!" she hurried out of the room, giggling.

Squall shook his head.  Kids.

Zell was in the cafeteria, chowing down on his usual; hotdogs.  His wife Zoey, once a library girl, now an instructor, looked on in amusement.  After Ultimecia was killed, and everything went back to normal, Zell finally got the courage to ask her on a date.  And things went from there.  Although she had no idea how their three children all managed to look and act just like Zell.  Ryan, Jericho and Darren.  Rinoa, sitting across from them, spotted Squall arrive.  Standing up, she waved excitedly.  Squall headed over, and sat down beside her. "Anyone would think you're still a lovesick teen." He said, giving his wife a kiss on the cheek.

Rinoa wrapped her slim arms around him and grinned. "Cute, Squally."

Zell began to choke on his hotdogs.  Zoey pounded him on the back, and he burst out laughing. "

Squall looked at his friends.  They were happily sharing breakfast together, just what they did every day.  Sometimes he couldn't help but think that they'd fallen into a predictable routine; something that made him slightly uncomfortable.  Still, times had been good to him and his Garden for years now, and he easily admitted to himself that he'd been expecting a Galbadian move for some time. 

"What is it Squall?" Rinoa suddenly asked, noticing his introspective expression.

He looked up, and saw that Zoey and Zell were also looking at him in curiousity.

Squall shrugged. "It's nothing.  Just some news from Galbadia."

"Oh?" Zell asked, a dry smirk on his face. "And how is the old bastard?"

Squall returned the small smile. "Seifer's fine."

"That's good," Rinoa smiled. "So there's nothing for you to worry about.  So eat up!"

Leo Almasy gave a final embrace to his father.  He had been told that he was a splitting image of Seifer when he was 18, but Leo didn't care.  Ever time he looked in the mirror, though, he saw his dad.  Except for his eyes.  They were the coldest blue, just like Quistis'.  He also had more of a slimmer build than Seifer, who he'd always thought looked slightly chunky...

"One last thing," Seifer smirked. "Give Squall's kid hell, alright?"

Leo smirked in return.  Then he felt two little arms wrap around his waist.  He looked down to see his little sister Shari.

"I'll miss yoo." She quavered, her blond hair blowing in the breeze.  Leo thought she looked just like his mother.

"Me too Squirt." Leo patted her on the head, looked up as the train arrived.  He picked up his bags, headed on to the station.  He took one last look at his father and sister, and got onto the train.

Watching the scenery whiz past him, Leo settled back and closed his eyes.  Something's got Dad really worried.  Does he really think they're be another Sorceress?  He doesn't want to become a Knight again.  Then Leo thought about Balamb.  Why not the Galbadia Garden?  Seifer hadn't told him much, other than it wasn't safe to go there anymore.  Balamb was where Squall was.  And his son.  We're the same age.  Will we be enemies?  It wouldn't surprise me, from all that Dad's told me.

At around the same time, Irvine and Selphie were saying farewell to their daughter Jade. 

"You knock 'em dead sweetheart." Irvine told her.

"Have fun!" Selphie added cheerily, clinging on Irvine's arm.  He smiled at her.

"Yeah, we'll come see you when you become a SeeD."

"Thanks Dad." Jade replied.  She was the image of both her mother and father, with green eyes, auburn hair, and a tall slim figure. "I'll call, okay?"

"Okay!  And say hi to Rinoa for me, kay?" Selphie added. "And Squally, and Zell..."

"Don't start that again." Irvine groaned, and Selphie socked him one.

"Bye mom, see ya dad," Jade laughed, and headed towards the train station.

Behind her, she could hear her parents mock-fighting, and grinned.  But she lost her cheerful mood on the train, where she thought about where she was going.  Her mom and dad were heroes in the mind of the public.  And she was going to stay with their friends.  They all had children her age.  Jade remembered when she was a little kid, she would go and play with them.  But times changed, and her parents didn't have time to take her around to the Gardens all the time.  So they lost contact, and Jade barely remembered them.  But, that was soon to change, she thought. And, maybe there's some cute guys there!

Ryan Dincht smoothed back his blond hair, and strolled into his dorm.  His dorm mate, and best friend Sam was lying on his bed, and didn't look up.

"Yo, Sam, guess what?" Ryan greeted.  According to Rinoa, he was all his father, even down to the slightly spiked blond hair and the T-board skills.

"What?" Sam replied without moving.

"We're gettin' some visitors.  You remember Seifer Almasy?"

Sam sat up, shrugged. "Yeah.  So?"

"Yeah, just his son's turnin' up here tomorrow to become a SeeD.  Just thought you'd be interested." Ryan ran his hand through his hair again, began to whistle a faint tune.

"Wait.  How do you know?" Sam abandoned the idea of a sleep, and grabbed Ryan's shoulder.

"Hey!  Ease off, will ya!" Ryan backed off. "Pa told me.  He told me 'bout some big problem between the Gardens or something."

"Is it serious?"

"Yeah, I think so."

The next morning, Leo arrived at Balamb Garden.  Nice.  Entering the facility, he wondered why there was no one to greet him.  He reached the centre of the first floor, and looked at the giant map, absolutely confused. 

"And where am I supposed to go?" he asked no one in particular.

"Are you Leo Almasy?" a boy about Leo's age asked from beside the map.  He looked like the pictures Leo had seen of Squall Leonhart, so he assumed it was his son.  They even dress alike, Leo thought with a grin.  Black pants, gray jacket.  All that was missing was the scar between the eyes.

"Yeah, who's askin'?"

"I'm supposed to give you a tour of the facilities." Sam deadpanned.

"I don't need a tour from some Commander's brat." Leo replied. We aren't getting along already. Eh, too bad...

"No problems there." Sam glowered at him, and held out a sheet of paper. "This has the necessary information." He thrust it in Leo's hands, and walked away.

Leo looked at the paper.  It had his room number and a list of his classes. "Terrific."

He picked up his bags, and headed in the direction he thought was the dorms.  As he walked, some of the students and SeeDs looked at him oddly, but most ignored him. This place is so crowded.  There's a hell of a lot more people here than at Galbadia Garden.  But hey, that doesn't mean it's better or anything.  Everyone looks so stuck up...

Suddenly, a blond guy fell into step with him. "I'm Ryan." The guy greeted.  He had some weird leather vest on, and a hoop though his eyebrow.   The vest looked old, vaguely familiar.  Then he remembered.  His dad had shown him pictures of his friends.  Short guy with spiky blonde hair.  They both wear the vest. Same spiky hair. 'Zell's son, right.  What'd Dad call him?  Chickenwuss? Heh heh..'

 "You're Seifer's son, right?" Ryan asked, running a hand through his own spikey hair.

"You look just like that Chickenwuss, Zell." Leo replied smoothly. "Are you related?"

"Chickenwuss?" Ryan replied, outraged. "What the hell?"

"Just askin'," Leo backed down, smirking.

Ryan's expression changed abruptly from anger to amusement. "Yeah, ya know, from what I've heard, your dad's just like Squall.  And you and Sam seem 'ta follow that down to the ground."

Leo just stared at him. "Don't be insulting."

Ryan laughed and sauntered off.  Leo shrugged, and continued walking.  As he turned the corner, he collided with a chestnut-haired girl, sending her sprawling on the floor.  What is with me today? Leo asked himself, and gave the girl a quick appraisal of she rose, grumbling to her feet.  Medium height, slim and long limbed.  She wore a red halter top, with the thin straps tied together at the back.  It was tight and midriff, exposing a large amount of tanned skin.  Below- below, Leo smirked, was a short, short suede skirt.  Kinda cowboy material, he deduced.  It was pretty damn hot, but.

"You jerk!" interrupted his thoughts. "Why don't you look where you're going?"

Leo grinned into big, angry green eyes. "Don't get excited.  No bones broken."

"That's lucky for you." The girl pouted. "Hey, do you know where the classrooms are?  I'm new here."

"You don't say." Leo drawled, but pointed the direction.

"Thanks.  I'm Jade, by the way."

"Leo.  Pleased to meet ya."

"Likewise." Jade replied. "I guess I'll be seeing you 'round then."

"I'm sure I'll see you falling over every other guy you meet as well."

"Hmph..." The girl spun around and stalked off, her hair moving with her long stride.  Leo watched her, waiting.  After a few moments, she turned around, and Leo gave her a mocking wave.  She kept walking, and Leo shook his head in amusement.

Jade found the elevator, pressed Level 2.  The cute guy with the blond hair and gray trench coat looked vaguely familiar, but she had no idea where from.  And he hadn't met her parent's friends yet either.  But that was okay; so far she had attracted plenty of guys who were all pretty nice.  Maybe her class would have some more...

Ryan fell into his chair in his usual slouching position.  Sam sat beside him, reading a magazine.  Sometimes, Ryan thought, Sam and his dad were like the same people.  Quiet, competitive, and damn cold.  According to what his dad had told him, Squall was exactly the same as Sam at that age.  So Ryan had put it upon himself to liven Sam up a little.  For his own good. 

The classroom slowly filled up, and a new girl entered surrounded by guys.

He nudged his friend. "New girl here."

Sam shrugged. "..."

Then his mother came in, sitting at the desk.

"And it looks like your mom is filling in for Instructor Reily."
Sam gave an almost inaudible groan. "Just great."

"Looks like you'd better pay attention."

Rinoa smiled at the class.  There was her Samuel with Ryan.  She no longer wore her war outfit, now wearing a blue shirt and 3/4 length blue skirt, with her hair tied back in a ponytail. "We've got a new student." She announced. "Jade...Kinneas.  Stand up, say hi and stuff."

The girl stood up." I'm Jade, and I was at Trabia Garden until a few days ago..."

Sam looked up. "Kinneas. Dad's old friend's name."

"Yeah, everyone's comin' to Balamb.  Wonder why...?" Ryan trailed off, as Jade sat down, and Rinoa started to talk about Odine.

Rinoa kept Jade there after class.

"It's been such a long time!" she squealed and hugged the girl.

"Mom says hi." Jade grinned.  Thank Hyne the classroom's empty...

"Really?  How is she going?  And Irvine?"

"Good.  Real good."

"Have you seen Sam yet?  My son Sam?" Rinoa continued.

"I don't think so."

"Oh, he's just like his father..."Rinoa trailed off, and finally realised what she was going to say. "Oh!  Your father called just before class.  So we have to go upstairs, kay?"

She then proceeded to drag Jade into the elevator.

Leo had found the training area, and was toning his skills with the gunblade.  Seifer had given him the Hyperion to use.  The monsters here aren't difficult, Leo deduced.  A bit of a waste of time, unless you need some status junctions.  He heard a sound behind him, and swung around.  The Commander's son.  He wasn't that tall, must take that after his mommy, Leo smirked.  And he only has one belt!  Amazing...

"Oh." He said. "It's you."

Sam shrugged indifferently. "Whatever.  Look, I have to take you up to the Commander's office.  There's been some sort of emergency."

"You mean you don't know?" Leo mocked, but sheathed the Hyperion and followed Sam.

"I haven't been told yet." Sam replied without turning around.

"Looks like your "commander" doesn't trust you with that sort of information." Leo continued.

"This coming from you, whose father hasn't told him anything about what's going on." Sam retorted evenly.

"How would you know that?" Leo asked, getting a little pissed off himself.

"Do you even know why you're here?" Sam mocked.

Leo hesitated.  That was true. "And what're you doing here?  It's obvious you don't live up to your father-"

Sam twisted around and swung his fist into Leo's jaw.  Leo fell back a few spaces, then reacted by planting his own fist into Sam's stomach.

Zell found them in the training room corridor moments later, trying to beat the living shit out of each other.  He dragged the two apart, using his own strength to good advantage over the struggling youths.

"What the hell are you doing?" he snapped, dropped them on the floor. "There's a Hyne-damm emergency goin', and you're fighting like little kids." He looked at their bruised and bleeding faces. Sam, he judged, looked the worse off. "You, Sam, go to the Medical Room an' fix yourself up. Bring back some bandages for Almasy here."

Sam nodded and walked off.  Zell turned to Leo. "Come on.  You an' Sam, you're actin just like Seifer and Squall.  It's sad, but damn funny watchin' you two."

Sam walked swiftly towards the Infirmary.  Thankfully, no one really noticed or cared about his bruised and disheveled condition.  SeeD missions were increasingly dangerous, with the growing tension, so seeing half-dead people heading towards the infirmary wasn't uncommon.

Dr Kadawoki was thankfully there, and gave a gasp of surprise. "Sam Leonhart, you didn't have a mission today... oh, I see.  You fought with... Leonardo Almasy?"

Sam nodded. "How did you know?" Dr Kadawoki had been the Doctor here for as long as he could remember, and was still going strong.  Her hair, once brown, had streaks of gray, and her face was covered in wrinkles.  The nice kind of wrinkles, though.  Like a big grandmother.

The doctor turned to a cabinet, picking out various items. "Your father and him were just the same at your age."

"Why does everyone  say that?" Sam silently allowed Kadawoki to administer his injuries.

"You don't know?" The doctor asking with surprise. "No matter.  Did you ever wonder where your father got his scar?" Sam shook his head. "Ask him.  Seifer Almasy has one identical to it.  That happened here, you know."

"I didn't know." Sam swung himself off the chair. "I'm fine, but I have to bring some things up for...Leonardo."

"I think you should talk to your father, Sam.  Hyne knows you both don't talk enough." She smiled at him. "You wait here."

Sam stood still, trying not to touch his injuries. Dad never told me about that scar.  What happened? When did it happen?

"Hi, are you alright?" a voice interrupted.  Sam looked at the doorway, saw a girl there.

"I'm fine." He replied shortly.  She looked about his age, with long black hair, with slanted blue eyes and pale skin.  She wore a doctor jacket over tight black pants.  ...Wow.  Since when is there an assistant doctor here?  She can't be Dr Kadawoki's.... nah.

"That's good.  You look a little sore." She smiled sweetly. "I'm Tiana, Dr Kadawoki's new assistant."

"Sam Leonhart." Nice smile, he noted.

"Oh!  I'm surprised I didn't recognize you.  You look lots like your dad."

"Everyone tells me."

"I don't have a dad.  Or a mom." Tiana hung her head, letting waves of hair hide her face. "I was abandoned in Estar when I was baby, then I was adopted, and got sent here a month ago."

Sam didn't know what to say. "My dad was adopted too." He said. "He found his real parents, though.  Maybe you can some day."

She lifted her head. "Yeah, thanks."

Dr Kadawoki entered the room. "Tiana!  What have I told you about leaving your hair out!  This is an infirmary, or have you forgotten?"

"Sorry Doctor." Tiana grinned, and quickly tied her hair behind her head.

"Much better." The doctor handed Sam a bag. "This is for Leonardo.  He can apply this himself."

Sam took the bag, nodded to the still smiling Tiana, and left to go upstairs.

"Sorry we're late Squall." Zell said. "But your Sam and Almasy here had a little...tiff."

Squall, instead of being angry, looked amused, and said, "Well, some things never change."

Leo looked around the room.  Seated beside Squall was Rinoa, and a woman Leo didn't recognize.  Standing, there was a male and a female SeeD.  There was also the hyperactive blond, Ryan, and then Jade.  What is she doing here? Hold that thought; what am I doing here?

"So, we're just waitin' for Sam to get here?" Zell continued.

Squall nodded.  Leo noticed that Rinoa looked worried.

"So, Leonardo.  The last time I saw you, you were about 5 years old." Squall said. "Same with you, Jade."

Leo and Jade both looked confused.

Rinoa giggled. "Oh, you don't even know each other yet.  Jade Kinneas, meet Leo Almasy."

Jade grinned. "Hi, Leonardo."

"Fallen over anyone else yet?" Leo countered.

"So you do know each other!" Rinoa exclaimed. "Wow!"

Sam entered the office, dropped the bag on Leo's lap.  He took a seat near Ryan, ignoring his slap on the back, and not meeting his father's gaze.

"Yo!  Can we start this already?" Zell's impatient voice broke the silence.

"Yes.  Irvine called me this morning..."

"Dad?" Jade asked.

"Yes.  He was going to the Galbadia Garden to check up a few things for me.  They wouldn't allow him to enter."

"So what's that mean?" Zell asked.

"I also received a transmission from Deling City just a few hours ago."

Rinoa pressed a button on the terminal.  A man appeared, gaunt and gray, with beady eyes and a sharp nose. "I am President Nero.  Galbadia and our Garden are armed for war.  We have no demands, other than for Balamb and Trabia Garden to be relinquished to our forces.  If you do not comply to this, you will be attacked.  Be warned, we have a Sorceress fighting with Galbadia.  Nero, out."

There was a moment of stunned silence.  Then...

"Where the hell does that bastard think he's coming from?" Zell thundered. "Taking over the Gardens!  No way!"

"Settle down Zell," Zoey urged softly, her calm voice soothing for the whole gathering. "There's no way Squall will relinquish Garden.  Right?"

"Of course.  This has been coming for quite a while." Squall admitted. "However, I think that Galbadia want control over the entire continent, and we cannot make other cities choices for them."

"They have... a Sorceress?" Rinoa asked. "How can they?"

"They're bluffing." Zell told her.

"Almasy." Squall said. "You'd better call your father, get him out of Deling before he's killed, or enlisted, or something."

The adults understood the true meaning of Squall's worry.  None of them wanted another Sorceress's Knight fighting against them, especially Seifer.

"Can I use a phone?" Leo asked.

"Take the one on level 2.  The rest of you, go with him."

The younger generation filed out of the room, somewhat reluctantly.

Squall sighed. "I really don't need this right now."

Rinoa grasped his hand. "There's nothing you could've done.  Like you said, it would've happened anyway."

"It's just this Sorceress thing.  I don't know if we can believe it or not."

"Well, we can't be sure either way." Zell said, age apparently giving him some semblance of logical thought.  "We can't risk thinking that they haven't got one hidden somewhere."

"You're right."  Squall said, tracing his scar with one finger. "We're going to have to send some SeeD's out to find out what's going on."

"Are you sure?" Zoey asked. "If Galbadia discovers anything, they'll attack us."

"Yeah, but we can't just sit here, not knowing anything," Rinoa said.

"I don't know what to do." Squall muttered. "I wonder what Cid would do."

"Cid's gone Squall," Rinoa said gently, encasing her small hand in his large one. "He trusted you, just like we do."

"Dad?...Yeah, you've gotta come here to Balamb...you know?...Ok, hurry up then...Right, bye." Leo got off the phone and sighed in relief.

Sam and Ryan were both brooding on a couch.  Jade was staring out the window.  Suddenly, Ryan leapt up.

"I can't just sit here, doin' nothin!" he declared.

"And what can you do?" Sam replied.

Jade turned around. "Everyone can do something." She stated.

"Yeah?  Not until Galbadia make the first move." Leo replied.

"Well, that's real bright.  Wait until they kill you before attacking back." Ryan sneered.

"You couldn't even attack-"

"Guys, chill, kay?" Jade warded off an impending fight. "Let's just wait until the Commander calls us back or something."

"Whatever." Sam grumbled, and settled back on the couch.

The Garden was put into complete alert status, and all SeeD missions were cancelled.  Squall wasn't going to risk anyone getting attacked.  The cities around the globe had discovered about the ultimatum, and all shared different opinions.  Timber had immediately pledged support to Balamb and Trabia, unsurprisingly.  Dollet and Winhill were still uncertain.  Squall was yet to inform Estar.

"Hey...Dad." Squall said to the image of Laguna Loire's face.  Although aged, he still kept the same goofy grin. And, unfortunately, the same personality.

"Hey Squall, what's up?" the President of Estar asked.  Behind him was Ward, Kiros, and Raijin.

"Have you heard about Galbadia's declaration?" Squall asked.

"Yeah!  It's really something, isn't it." Laguna replied. "Still, I don't think it poses much of a threat to Estar, so we're cool."

"They claim to have a Sorceress with them, so you should maybe take some care."

"They do?  Whoa..." Laguna whistled through his teeth. "Still, that's got nothing to do with Estar."

"Squall's talking about Odine, Laguna." Kiros informed.

"Yeah, that's what I said.   Like I said, do you think Odine might be in danger or something?"

Squall sighed.  There was no point being annoyed with Laguna. "With his...knowledge, maybe you should keep him in the palace where he can't be abducted and be used for Galbadia's needs."

"Hmm. Yeah, that's clever.  Ward, can you go get old Odine and bring him back here?" Laguna asked, and Ward ran off, a little slower than he used to.

"So...Squall, how's Rinoa?"


"The kids?"


"...Anything new?"

"Seifer's son is here.  So is Selphie and Irvine's."

"I thought that it was a girl..." Laguna mused.

Squall slapped his hand into his forehead. "Seifer's coming by as well."

Raijin perked up. "Is he really?  Haven't seen him in ages, ya know?"

"I'm sure he'd be happy to see you."

"Yeah, Rai', take a trip to Balamb.  A reunion of sorts." Laguna exclaimed.

"We may as well all go over there.  We need a vacation." Kiros said.

"Yeah!  So glad I mentioned it!" Laguna gave his trademark lopsided grin, and Kiros sighed. "We'll all come to visit."

Squall sighed, and said farewell.  Talking to Laguna was too tiring to do so often.

He looked out of his window, seeing the SeeDs guarding the perimeter of the Garden.  He hoped that Trabia Garden was doing the same.  Unlike before, they couldn't just free the garden and fly away and hide.  That wouldn't be the answer anyway.  What Squall was really worrying about was the support that towns were giving to Galbadia.  Don't they remember what happened last time? He thought in disgust.  Are they that stupid and shallow?

A shrill beep caused him to jump slightly.  It was the emergency call signal.  Squall punched the switch, and Selphie's face appeared.  She looked disheveled and had her nunchaku in her hands.  Squall looked past her, to see fighting going on in the halls of Trabia Garden.

"What's happened?" he asked urgently.

"Galbadia attacked us!" she gasped, her voice full of anger and surprise.  Squall noticed that she had blood dripping down the side of her face. "We never expected it so soon.  There's thousands of Galbadian soldiers out there.  We're outnumbered big time!"

Squall shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. "We'll send backup immediately."

"Don't.  You'd be too late." Squall saw the despair in her eyes as she glanced quickly around her. "They went straight through us until we got organized." She gave a cry. "I can't let this to happen to Trabia again!"

"The first priority is to get you and Irvine out of there." Squall ordered, then paused. "Where is Kinneas?"

Selphie answered while looking around her.  As of yet, the fighting was being directed away from her. "I dunno.  He went straight to the front line.  I hope he's okay!"

Squall searched the screen behind his friend.  The fighting was getting more intense. "Selphie, watch out."

She spun around instantly. "Thanks Squally." Her voice no longer had the friendly, optimistic feel; it was now almost devoid of emotion.

"Selph..." Squall ventured. "You might have to get out...on your own."

"I'm not leaving without my Irvy." She replied, still watching the fighting in front of her.

Squall sighed. "Come on Selph...you don't have a chance out there."

The fighting was almost on her. "I gotta go Squall.  If I find Irve..."

A set of gunshots caused Squall to sigh in relief. "Kinneas, you've always got to make a dramatic entrance."

Irvine fought his way over to his wife.  He looked like he'd been though something close to an earthquake.  He decked a soldier before turning to the screen.

"Hey Commander, we'll be makin' our way over to Balamb shortly." He panted. "Say...hey to Jade for me, right?"

Selphie grinned at Squall. "See y-"

Then the connection was broken.  Squall looked at the blank screen for a few moments, then decided to double the guard outside.

"What dya mean, 'might get out'?" Jade demanded. "Of course they'll be okay!"

Rinoa looked sympathetically at the young woman. "Don't give up hope Jade.  But you have to understand that..."

"I know what you're on about.  I'm just worried, kay?" Jade gave a reassuring grin.

"Great." Rinoa gave a sigh, holding the Valkarie in one hand. "You guys keep a watch out. I'll be upstairs."

Sam scowled as his mother ran down the corridor.  The four were 'guarding' the second floor door. "There's no way anyone's coming through that door."

"Damn straight!" Ryan pounded the floor with his fist, the exact image of his father. "Nothin's gonna happen here!"

Leo smirked and slouched against the steel wall. "No one's actually attacked yet."

"Since when is that the point?" Ryan demanded.

Jade sunk to the floor, her knees meeting in front of her. "If anyone's gonna attack, you'll miss it cos' you're all fighting."

"Aren't you clever, little miss Kinneas." Leo grumbled.  He was really in the mood for a fight.  Something inside him told him that it wouldn't be overly clever to pick a fight with this group, Sam included.  But since when has that stopped me? Man, that's one hell of a bad habit you've gotten yourself into, Almasy.

Sam stared down the corridor.  He could see the elevator from here, then more corridors to more classrooms.  He knew that the younger students would be in the classrooms, hiding incase of attack.  Sam sighed again, slowly.

"Yo Sam! Sam-uel!

Sam started, glared at Ryan. "What?"

"Hey man, that chick's waving to ya." Ryan gestured, and Sam turned to see Tiana from the Infirmary.  She waved, and this time Sam waved back.

"Ooh, who's she?" Jade teased from the floor.

"...No one" Sam shrugged.

Ryan laughed. "Sure, my friend." And he adjusted his gloves.  He'd taken to boxing as a weapon, just like his dad.  It was like a natural skill to him.  He glanced at Sam's gunblade.  Identical to his dad's.  Same with Leo.  It seemed that they both took after their dad's in the fighting department too.  He looked at the girl.  Her two nunchaku were lying on the floor beside her.  His dad had told him that Selphie had a large nunchaku, so it made sense.  What amused him this afternoon, enough to keep him from going stir crazy, was Sam's new interest.  Of course, being the Commander's son kept the girls away from the guy, but Sam, being almost as closed up as Squall, hadn't given them much interest anyway.  Other than him.  Ryan was more than happy for the girls to turn their attention his way.

It worked.  Sam was happy; he was happy; all was good.

In that respect, anyway.

…Okay then.  Yeah, this is kinda cliché, but nyah… I like it.

Reviewing is nice, if I get enough, I'll put in another chapter.

Bye now ^^