Premise: After the final battle with Squall, Seifer thinks he's about to die, when he finds himself in an precarious situation. It seems that he's stuck in a world where he's stuck in Squall's shoes and Squall in his. SxS
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VIII and its affiliates (c) Square. And the line "This is my story. This may be our last chance..." is taken from Final Fantasy X.
Part 1 – Maybe I'm A Kitten
I first saw Squall....the Squall in this world, that is, the day after I was released from Dr. Kadowaki's 'care.' I would prefer to call it 'clutches,' but I rather like my life now and I don't think I want to die any time soon. Anyhow, my first impression of this world's Squall brought reality crashing down on me and it also confused me to no end.
You see, I had accepted the fact that I was in some strange, twisted world, where for some reason I seem to have the respect of most cadets and SeeD officers alike. Well, it's either that or the whole world seemed to have gone insane, but I prefer the former. After all, like it or not, I AM still Seifer Almasy. I still like attention being given to me. Although it's not attention from people I would like, it's attention nonetheless. As Selphie put to me just last week, I "have a big head."
Yes, I did take that the wrong way at first and you wouldn't believe how much that bundle of energy was blushing. Unfortunately Quistis put a stop to that when she quietly glared my way.
Oh well, I was just having a little fun. Anyway, I digress. I liked the attention, of course, but I also felt uneasy. After all, the reason why they were giving me these looks was because in this demented world, I'm in Leonhart's shoes. And if that didn't scare me, the events that followed sure to hell did.
I honestly thought Squall would be wearing my trench coat or at least have a smirk identical to mine on his face. I don't know...have something on him that would paint the name ALMASY all over him, you know? Damn. I'm starting to sound like Raijin, ya know? Anyway, the vision I had in my mind was that Squall would act or at least dress (Hyne, I didn't even want to know how Squall would look as me...*shudder*) like me.
I was walking down the halls of Garden, heading out to seek Quistis' counsel. Hyne, I really wanted to kill myself by that time. I had muttered something under my breath, I recall, something in the line of, "Listening to Trepe? Damn, I must be sick or somethin'. A new disease. Leonhartitis or somethin'."
With that particular thought in mind, I failed to notice someone had rounded a corner and was heading directly at me. He had had his head down, staring at the ground as he walked, so he didn't see me approach, despite the fact that I must have looked like the idiot I was, muttering away by myself.
Just like that. We bumped into each other. Heh. But as I recall, the impact felt more like I had collided into a brick wall rather than 'bumped' into someone. And perhaps, it was. After all, anyone could read Squall Leon-err, Almasy, as easily as they can read a brick wall.
"What the-Watch where you're going!" I barked, uncaring as to who or what I'm shouting at. Stormy blue eyes peered back at me underneath disheveled brown hair. Or should I say, blank blue eyes. I was so used to the stormy blue of the Squall I know and not the blank stare of this stranger. So used to the anger and disgust that would always follow my 'rival.' That was what they called us, wasn't it? Although I'm unsure as to why they called us that.
I didn't want to be Squall. I wanted to be known, I wanted my presence to acknowledged, not ignored. And I cared about this so much, I was willing to take on the whole world, just so Squall can take me seriously. And he did, if only to try and kill me....
Life's a fuckin' bitch.
But we're not here to discuss that. I can go on forever complaining about this fucked up world. But I won't. Because all thoughts had drifted out of my head at that time, as I could only stare with half-horror and half-fascination to this world's Squall.
"What the hell are you looking at, Leonhart?" He shot, as I would have, in his position. I flinched, I didn't know that this was how it felt whenever I said that line. Did the Squall I know feel this way too?
I forced my infamous smirk to my face as I stared down at him. Yes, it felt good to know that I'm still taller than him. And as always, that lightened up my mood.
"A midget." I said, hoping to get a reaction out of this Squall. Maybe I'll get a punch in the face, something the Squall I know would never do. He doesn't react to insults or taunts. Only certain ones, special ones. And I wouldn't use those until I'm absolutely frustrated or when I'm furious at him.
"........." Nothing. Zilch. Not as much as a wince, or even a movement on that surface that is Squall's face.
I remembered the sinking feeling I had in my stomach vividly. How is it that even in this world, Squall is as anti-social as ever? Even sporting the surname Almasy, he's incapable of the simplest of things. The ability to communicate to another person using more than 10 words. It was a miracle that this Squall can say a whole sentence. And it's an actual sentence, not one of Leonhart's "Whatever." You don't know how much that word drives me crazy. I would strangle another person who would dare to utter it in my presence.
"Sheesh. Don't have a comeback, Squall?" I had to remind myself not to use 'Leonhart.' After all, he would only think that I was talking to myself. I resisted the urge to groan at that particular thought. I had never thought...imagined...that one day someone would call me with that name. It was all I could do to prevent myself from taking out Hyperion and slashing my wrists.
"Since when do you call me with my name, Seifer?" He shot back, he practically spat my name. I frowned, but I really didn't have anything to say. I was uncomfortable to address him by using MY name. Dammit.
'I hate this world already.' I thought.
"Since now. Squally." I finally said, grinning with satisfaction as his eyes widened slightly at the nickname. But other than that, he didn't react. His eyes quickly narrow.
"Run along Leonhart. Don't you have your little fan club to attend to?" Hissed Squall, disgust evident in his voice. And without as much as a warning, he walked away. One thing I have to give credit for, is despite Squall's shorter stature, he can walk pretty quickly. Normally, I would have been able to keep up with him, easy. But I didn't give it as much as an attempt, I let him go.
Silently, I thought to myself. I let a lot of things go these days. And that thought caused a pang in my chest, a reminder as to what was waiting for me in my world. At least in this new one, I had a chance to start over. I stared at Squall's quickly retreating back and turned around and walked towards Quistis' office.
I had no business with this Squall. I had no business with the old Squall either. Both of them hated my guts, so why bother, right? Right.
A tiny voice spoke up in my head as I walked. "You can change that. You can alter it, Seifer. Squall doesn't have to hate you." Even though the thought caused a million needles to prick my heart, I ignored it. I didn't need to fall back into the same role. This is MY chance to start over. This is my stage, not Squall's. It's finally my turn to shine. Or so I had thought. If it was my turn to shine, then why doesn't the prospect lift my spirit? Why did I instead, thought of the haunting blank stare that Squall had fixed on me?
"I take it you bumped into Squall, on your way over?" Was Quistis' greeting. I stared at her, confused. How did she know? But she answered the unspoken question. "Your face, Seifer. You always look like that whenever you see Squall."
Right, I thought, so I look like a clueless fool every time I see Squall. Just great. I'm starting to love this world more and more. But do you see me jump for joy? Oh screw it, forget Leon-damn it! Forget Almasy....shit, it feels so strange saying that!!
I can say, now that I look at it, that my reaction to Quistis' comment was actually quite amusing. Of course, at the time, I was far from amused. I did not want to react to Squall's comments. If my name IS Leonhart, I might as well act like one. No feelings, no heart, no one will get hurt. Myself especially.
"What do you want, Instructor?"
"Your field exam is coming up, Seifer. I want you to do well." Quistis reminded. If only I actually knew this in the first place, it would serve its purpose as a reminder. Unfortunately, I had been in another world at that time, just as I had been for the rest of my 19 years. So all that greeted Quistis was a blank look.
She sighed, something I've never seen the Quistis I know do. "I know that Almasy did not hit your head with his gunblade, Seifer. But I do know that the wound on your forehead would affect your concentration somewhat."
Ah, another thing that caused me grief. Apparently, I had been brought to Dr. Kadowaki right after Squall and I had that fateful duel. Yup, I had myself a fresh scar on my forehead. On the exact spot where my original scar lies. Some onlookers had told Quistis that Squall had attacked because he was provoked. But the reports were dismissed almost immediately by Quistis. Well, at least I know in this world, I'm loved.
I looked back at the instructor and saw that she was glaring. Quistis waited until she got my attention again before continuing. "The field exam to prove yourself worthy to be a SeeD, Seifer." She finally said, a trace of impatience in her voice. "Just you, a weapon, some magic and your choice of Guardian Force. I've heard from Headmaster Cid that you've obtained Ifrit. Is that correct?"
I paused for a moment, searching my mind. And there it was...the presence of a GF. And yes, it was Ifrit. But I was confused as to why Cid would know of this and Quistis didn't. Maybe there were more differences about this world than I had anticipated. Would it be a different field exam then?
"Correct." I finally answered.
"Good. 5 monsters have been picked at random order from the Training Center and are placed in a secured area just by Balamb. You will battle these monsters to pass the test. Meeting time at 0700 tomorrow." I blinked. I mean, what else could I have done? THAT'S IT?
What I really wanted to do was laugh my ass off, but instead I gave a firm nod and Quistis waved her hand, a gesture that clearly said I could go. I heard a ringing in my ear each step I took back to my quarters. After all, this was far too easy to be a field exam.
"Seifuu!" A cheery voice shouted suddenly. I stopped in my tracks. It felt as if all the window panes all over Garden has cracked. But I turned around, hiding the wince as Selphie rushed towards me. I caught a glimpse of Zell and Irvine behind her. Not that I know Irvine that well...hell, I didn't know Selphie that well either.
"Where are you going?"
"Your room?" Whined Selphie, she looked at the blond behind her. Zell shrugged.
"Seifer, man, you've got to stop being anti-social." Zell said with a sigh. I raised an eyebrow. Did Chicken wuss just call me anti-social?
"Come on Leonhart, there's a party in Balamb tonight. We've got to join." Irvine said, grinning. I let go of Zell's comment for a moment. His taunting session can wait.
"Seif what's wrong? You haven't talked to us since Squall left that nasty scar on your face." Selphie said, pointing at my scar. She bit her lip. "Does it hurt, Seif?"
I shook my head. "No, it doesn't hurt. Don't worry about it, Selphie."
"You know, I still don't get why you and Squall have to fight all the time. I especially don't get why he makes those comments about you either." She huffed.
"He's probably just jealous." Zell shrugged. "He gets his ass kicked by Seifer every time they duel."
"It's sort of justified, you know. Seifer here isn't an angel either." Irvine pointed out. I grinned, that was true. He caught my grin and smirked, nodding his head. "See, he even admits to it."
"Yeah, but it's still mean!" Complained Selphie. I began to feel uneasy. Sheesh. This is starting to sound like the "I love Seifer" fan club. I had always teased Squall about his fan club and now...no wonder this Squall resented me. Who wouldn't resent an ass who had his own fan club?
I certainly was starting to hate me. The 'me' that belonged to this world anyway. Suddenly, a cold feeling sank into my stomach.
'Wait a minute.' I thought to myself. 'If I'm here, then where the hell is this world's Seifer?' Thoughts of him walking around in my world, confused as to why everyone hated his guts flashed through my mind. I cringed, I felt slightly bad that some poor motherfucker was dropped in the shitty position that I left in that world. I groaned, unable to help myself.
"Seifer, you okay man?" Irvine asked.
"Uh," I cleared my throat. "Look, I'm not feeling too hot just yet. We'll go out tomorrow night, alright?"
"Sure thing Seify! Right boys?"
"Yes miss Tilmitt." The two said in unison with a mock-salute to complete the picture, though Zell was rolling his eyes and Irvine looked like he was trying hard no to laugh. I resisted the urge to smack my forehead or bang my head against the wall.
'I'm stuck with these loons?! Hyne!'
I never thought the place to bump into Squall was in my hallway. Until I remembered something Selphie had said the day before about his living quarters being close to mine.
He had just got out of his room, actually, when he saw me. He looked as if he was contemplating going back inside and locking himself in. But if there's something I know about Squall, he would never retreat, no matter how badly he wanted to.
And this was no exception.
He glared at me, holding his ground defiantly. I shrugged. 'Like I care.' I thought viciously as I walked straight past him to my room. I caught a glimpse of his face as I stride across to my quarters, however and it nearly caused my pace to falter.
There was surprise, no doubt about it, but I clearly saw something that resembled hurt in those blue eyes. Finally seeing emotion in them, not the blank stare I received earlier. I wanted to sigh in relief, but I knew that wasn't hurt. It must have been just surprise. I had read his eyes wrong, I had done it before. Well, with the Squall I know anyway.
I don't understand this Squall. This Squall was an unknown in my new life. I didn't have to deal with him if I didn't want to. Why should I? I didn't owe him anything. Nevertheless, the feeling I had previously resurfaced. The feeling as if something was clinging to my heart, as if an invisible hand was squeezing it. But I ignored it, refused to acknowledge it.
I will not feel. I refuse to.
I will embrace the name Leonhart and be the person that name belongs to. Even if that meant I had to leave a piece of me behind. The one that demanded attention. The one that strove to prove a point to one person and one person alone, only to be beaten and kicked in the dirt. He is no more.
He died when my old self died. I will not return. I promised myself that. Even as I felt my heart grow cold, the same feeling I had when Ultimecia had control of me, I pushed myself onward. It's time to take care of myself. Screw my past....screw this world's Squall.
This Squall was not the same lion that roamed Garden's halls. Not the same one that paced with a restlessness that wasn't unlike that of a caged lion. This Squall was far too...quiet...too peaceful. The vibe I always got from Leonhart was one of danger. He always had some danger signs emitting from him, which only draw me to him.
I love danger and teasing Squall was almost the same as laughing at danger in the face. I loved it. But this Squall...I grow tired just looking at his blank gaze. There was no spirit there, no driving force. This wasn't a lion. This was a kitty cat. And ain't about to play around with a kitten. Nah, that'd be like taking candy from a baby.
All those thoughts, they seem so petty now. So childish. I didn't realize that the position that world's Squall was in, was the same position I was in. I didn't realize that the blank stare Squall had was the same emptiness that I had in my heart at about the same time, before I took the field exam.
I was younger and I was about to learn, that when fate delivers you to a place, she doesn't usually have a good intention in mind. Fate, controller of life, IS the bitch herself. She was in no way on my side. But what did I know of that at the time? I wished I could turn back time and save myself from all that is to come, but I knew that I wouldn't be where I am now if I did. I would never be the person I am now.
And so...my past continues.
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