Time After Time

Part One - Temporal Flux

By J. Marie

Warning!!! This is a shounen-ai fanfiction starring Seifer Almasy and Laguna Loire from Final Fantasy VIII. It is rated PG-13. I am so beyond warnings it's not funny. This story features male homosexuality. Don't like it? Don't read it! Well, in this story, I'm going to be a little weird. And a little Twilight Zone-ish. Don't ask me why, I'm just in the mood for it. I pride myself on having somewhat original plots, and I bet nobody's thought of this one yet. :) At least I don't think they have... It has absolutely nothing to do with my other FF8 fanfics, and takes place two years after the defeat of Ultimecia. I'm also *not* going to insert any cheesy sex scenes in here, either. Hope you like!

Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,
And think of you
Caught up in circles confusion--
Is nothing new
Flashback--warm nights--
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time after--

Sometimes you picture me--
I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear
What you've said--
Then you say--go slow--
I fall behind--
The second hand unwinds

If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time

After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows--you're wondering
If I'm OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time--

If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time

You said go slow--
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds--

If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time...
...Time after time
Time after time
Time after time
Time after time

----- Lyrics to Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper


Laguna Loire had been sick for a long time.

He had kept it secret, not allowing Dr. Odine to tell anyone the truth about his health. Esthar didn't need to know their president had a heart problem. Neither did his closest friends, Kiros and Ward. Nor Ellone, a girl he considered to be his daughter, regardless of her blood. And most especially, his son, Squall Leonhart, didn't need to know.

Dr. Odine had said that it was a genetic heart disease, that if treated to in the teenage years, could be curable. Unfortunately, the technology had not been available when Laguna was a teenager, to diagnosis his illness, much less cure it. And he hadn't been in Esthar, where the technology lay.

Laguna had discreetly seen to Squall's testing for the illness, but fortunately, the boy had come up clean, much to Laguna's relief. He was immensely proud of his son. Squall had literally saved the world, by traveling through time compression to Ultimecia's Castle and defeating the evil Sorceress in battle.

Laguna walked slowly to the waiting airship, pleased to note that Kiros and Ward easily fell into to step with him. Kiros watched him carefully, seeming to know that Laguna wasn't feeling well, even if he didn't know the full extent of Laguna's illness.

Laguna sighed as he sat down in the cushioned seat of the airship, closing his eyes. Two years ago he had as much energy as a teenager, but now he felt old and tired. It was at times hard to breathe, and Laguna could feel the pacemaker struggle to keep his heart beating. He wondered how much longer he had to live.

But at least there was Squall. After Laguna had revealed his fatherhood to the boy, Squall had withdrew, angry for awhile. But after a year, Squall sought out Laguna, wanting to be close to his father. The past year of getting to know his son had been the most cherished year of Laguna's life. The President of Esthar fiddled with the wedding ring on his finger, knowing that his late wife would be as equally proud of their son. Squall was a great man.

And now Squall was a father.

Laguna was going to go visit his newborn grandson, and it warmed his heart. His line was being carried on. Squall and Rinoa had married a year ago, and Rinoa had given birth to a healthy baby boy last night. Xavier Leonhart-Loire.

The ride was quick and uneventful, and oddly silent. Kiros studied Laguna intently, and Ward was mute. Laguna rested, breathing a little more shallow than normal. When they arrived at Balamb Garden. Laguna stood up carefully, and Kiros looked like he wanted to assist the middle-aged man, but resisted, knowing Laguna would shrug it off.

Laguna grabbed a cane he had to use for the past few months, with a stylized head of Griever. it had been a gift from Squall, and Laguna loved it, regardless of the fact that it meant he could no longer walk unaided. Laguna walked carefully down the steps of the airship and docked onto the garden, pleased to find that he was greeted by Ellone, who had come the day before, and Squall himself.

Laguna exchanged hugs with both Ellone and Squall. Squall had never been a terribly happy man, but he was grinning ear to ear today. Laguna grinned back at him, his aquamarine eyes sparkling. Squall was experiencing the joy of fatherhood, and it made Laguna happy.

"How is she?" Laguna asked.

"Rinoa's fine. She's sleeping right now, but Xavier's awake. He's beautiful, Dad. Absolutely beautiful. He's got these big blue eyes, and this shock of black hair. He's incredible!" Squall gushed, taking Laguna's elbow to steady the older man. He didn't know what was wrong, but he knew Laguna was not as healthy as he used to be.

"I want to hold him...... He has to be beautiful. With Rinoa and you as parents, the poor kid has no choice," Laguna grinned, walking steadily, if slowly, to the nursery with Squall and Ellone. He beamed when Squall called him "Dad". No matter how times Squall said it, Laguna never grew tired of it.

"He's great, Uncle Laguna! He's already looking around. And I think he smiled at me!" Ellone said, bubbling with happiness.

Laguna grinned. "I already know he's perfect," he sighed as they walked towards the nursery. Kiros and Ward walked behind them, remaining silent.

Laguna caught a glimpse of a harsh-looking young blonde man with a facial scar similar to Squall's walking down the hall. Laguna's aquamarine eyes seemed to hold the blonde's cat green eyes for a short eternity before the blonde broke eye contact and continued on his path. Laguna felt breathless. There was something so incredibly intense about those eyes. If Laguna was a younger man......

Squall led Laguna into the nursery and motioned the slight man to take a seat. Laguna did so and grinned like a fool when Squall picked up the baby from the cradle, and placed him in Laguna's arms.

Laguna was in heaven. He beamed down at his beautiful grandson, noting the fine features of both Squall and Rinoa on the baby. Xavier's big blue eyes blinked at his grandfather and then he gave a big yawn, settling comfortably in the arms of someone who obviously loved him. Laguna gently rubbed the wild black hair on the baby's head, grinning ear to ear. Squall and Ellone hovered nearby, cooing and gushing over the newborn infant.

Laguna held the baby for a few hours before he gave him back to Squall who put the tired infant back in the cradle. Laguna felt his entire body light up with love, for both his son, and his son's son.

"I love you, Squall. I love Xavier. And I love you, Elle," he smiled. Ellone smiled at her surrogate father and kissed him on the cheek. Squall grinned sheepishly.

"Geez, Dad. I'm going to have to monitor your time with the baby. He's turning you into a pile of mush before my very eyes," Squall said drolly, but he was smiling softly.

Laguna chuckled, but the laugh ended in a coughing fit, which caused Squall and Elle to exchange worried looks. He stood up slowly, taking his cane in hand. "I'm really tired, guys. I just seem to be under the weather lately... I'm going to go rest, and then we can all go eat, and drool over Xavier some more," Laguna smiled, though his hands were shaking.

Squall nodded, worry written across his beautiful face. "Alright, Dad. Get some rest. You look like you need it," he said. Laguna looked so frail all of a sudden. He looked like a feather, that was going to blow away in the wind.....

Laguna nodded and kissed Ellone on the cheek and hobbled out, his hands shaking. Kiros and Ward said nothing as he came out, pale and trembling, but hovered nearby. Concern was etched into both their expressions. Laguna was their best friend, and a man they both loved in their own ways.

Laguna smiled at them softly, his eyes seeming to mist up and he stopped in the middle of the hall way. Squall and Ellone exited the room, whispering softly to each other about Laguna's failing health, watching his trembling form down the hall.

"Kiros, Ward... I love you both. You're the brothers I never had. Thank you," he said suddenly.

Kiros' face scrunched up in worry, already sensing what was coming.

Laguna's eyes closed and he began to fall. Kiros caught the frail man gently, scooping the slender pale body into his strong arms. Ward closed in, his face etched in a silent scream for help.

Elle screamed loudly enough for everyone, seeing the way Laguna fell, and the look on Laguna's face. Squall cried out once and ran over to his father, but he was too late. Far too late.....

Laguna's Griever cane rolled on the floor and came to a stop in front of Squall's boots as he stood several feet away from his father, as the doctors came running down the hall.

He bent over and picked up the fallen cane, tearing his eyes away from his father's stricken form.

A single tear rolled down Squall Leonhart's face.

"He can't die! He just can't!"

Dr. Kadowaki sighed sadly, looking at her shoes. The clown-like doctor beside her spoke up. "I am zorry, Elle, but zere iz nothzing we can do for him. If I had been able to treat him az a teenager, he would be able to live, but az an adult, zere iz nothzing left for him...... It iz too late," Dr. Odine said, in as respectful a tone as he could manage.

Squall sat quietly next to Laguna's prone form, and stared at his comatose father. Laguna had once been so full of life and energy. Laguna had once been filled with a optimistic buoyancy and boyish charm that had captivated the world. Now only a machine kept him alive.

Elle began to sob copiously. Laguna was the only father she could remember clearly. He was her savior, her hero. And now he was dying. Squall sat stonily, remaining utterly silent.

"I am sorry, Ellone. If Laguna was young man, we could save him, but his age has caused his heart disease to set into body so deeply that there is no cure.... He wouldn't want to live as a vegetable......" Dr. Kadowaki said softly.

"Give us a few minutes alone with him, Doctor. And then come unplug him," Squall finally said, his voice icy, yet it still trembled.

Dr. Kadowaki and Dr. Odine both nodded and left the room, leaving Squall and Elle alone with Laguna to say their goodbyes.

Elle was still sobbing, and Squall stared quietly down at his father. For so many years Squall never had a father. And for the past year he had gotten closer to Laguna than anyone else in his life, even his wife, Rinoa. He loved Laguna deeply. He loved his father.

Squall kissed Laguna on the forehead, tears escaping from his cloudy blue eyes. "I love you too, Dad," he whispered and stood up and stood at the door, so Elle could say her goodbye, and then they would leave together.

Ellone looked over at Squall desperately, remembering how her Uncle Laguna had taken care of her as a child. How he had protected her and loved her. How he had saved her. Dr. Kadowaki's comment about if Laguna had been a teenager ran through her head like a broken record.

If Laguna was a young man, we could save him.........

Elle tried to calm herself, cursing the cruel twist of fate that had taken her Uncle Laguna from her. She bent down with tears in her eyes and kissed him softly on the forehead.

The power went out in Balamb Garden.

"What the hell happened???"

"I don't feel so good........"

"Where am I???"

"Who the hell is that??"

"Squall, I think I'm going to hurl......"

"Why is it all dark?? Where's my mother??"

"Who is that???"

"That's it. I'm losing my cookies....."

"Ewwwwww!!!!!! Someone just puked on me!!!!!"

The lights suddenly went on, and Squall found himself staring at Ellone, who was slumped on Laguna's bed, lying in her own vomit. Laguna was no longer lying down in a death coma, but sitting up and gaping in disgust at the vomit that was covering him.

Squall was not so much shocked by the fact that Laguna seemed to have miraculously recovered from a terminal disease, but more by the fact that Laguna appeared to be thirty years younger than he had been five minutes ago.

Laguna, if it was indeed him, looked up at Squall in bafflement. "Where's my mom?? Who are you people??? Where am I???" he demanded, his voice cracking.

Squall gaped. He couldn't say anything. This was like something on Outer Limits.

Laguna began to look frantic and shoved aside the unconscious Elle. "Where's my mom???? Where is she???" he cried, sounding near tears.

Squall continued to gape, too shocked to form lucid thoughts, much less vocalize them.

"Where's my mom??? I want to go home!!!" Laguna cried, sitting down on the ground and beginning to sob piteously.

Luckily for Squall, Dr. Kadowaki rushed in, rescuing him from having to say or do anything. The middle-aged woman nearly tripped over her own feet as she gaped at the teenage boy who was sobbing copiously on the floor. "Who the hell is that?" she asked bluntly, repeating Squall's earlier question.

"That, Dr. Kadowaki, would be my father. Thirty years ago," Squall said weakly, and not so much sat down, but fell down on the chair behind him.

"Oh my," Dr. Kadowaki said numbly.

"Okay, so basically you're trying to tell me that I'm actually forty-six years old, I almost died of some sort of heart disease, you're my son by my dead wife, I'm the President of Esthar, and those two weirdos outside are my best friends ever, right?"

Squall sighed. He had been over the whole story with Laguna several times. Either his father was retarded at sixteen, or just plain refused to believe Squall's wild story. "Yes, Da- Laguna. What is so hard to believe about all this??" Squall sighed in exasperation.

Laguna blinked rapidly in annoyance. "Well, if you suspend your disbelief of the whole age reversal thing, it would be because I clearly remember going to sleep in my own bed, in my own house. And then I woke up in a hospital gown, covered in some weird girl's puke," Laguna sighed, as if he was the one who couldn't get Squall to understand something so simple as reality.

"That weird girl is your surrogate daughter, and she saved your life, so I think you should be a little more grateful. Now how are you feeling?" Squall sighed, resisting the urge to choke his father.

Over the past two weeks since Ellone has somehow reversed Laguna's age to sixteen, the youth had taken everything rather well, all considering. He dealt with his mother's death and the loss of all his friends admirably. He didn't even put much of a fight up for the heart surgery they forced him to undergo. However, Squall's wild story was much harder for him to swallow.

"I'm fine, but I still don't understand why I had to have heart surgery," Laguna frowned, rubbing the faint scar on his chest.

"To cure you of a disease that will kill you in thirty years. Now, do you understand any of what I have told you?" Squall sighed.

"I understand it, Squall, but it's a little hard to believe. I mean, I know where I was until I woke up here," Laguna sighed.

"You're suffering from amnesia. Eventually, your whole life will come back to you. But we need to move on," Squall sighed.

Laguna hung his head, his pretty face crumpled in sorrow. Squall knew the youth was thinking of his long-dead mother, and Squall remained silent for a few moments, trying to let the boy adjust himself.

"I know it hurts, Laguna, but you have your whole life ahead of you now," Squall said after a few minutes, gently taking Laguna's hand. "It's going to be alright."

Laguna wiped at his eyes before he could cry. He looked earnestly at Squall, and the brunette felt as if their father and son roles had been reversed. Laguna trusted Squall, and depended on him, like a son would his father. "What's gonna happen to me now?" Laguna asked in a small voice, and Squall was again reminded of how young his father was now.

"I'm going to enroll you in SeeD. You've had some basic weapons training already, so I think it would be easy to catch you up, despite your age. I can bend the rules a little to get you in, a benefit of me being Headmaster now. I'll enroll you in Instructor Almasy's class. He's a little strict, but I know he'll teach you well. As well as he taught me to fight as we grew up," Squall said, with a small smile.

"What's SeeD?" Laguna asked innocently, biting his bottom lip. It was strange, to look at a face that you knew was your father's but find nothing but youth and innocence staring back at you.

"SeeD is a group of young warriors who fight against the threat of evil Sorceresses. We are trained in combat, both magical and physical. We harness Guardian Forces for magic, and draw our spells from other creatures. Sorceresses are our prime enemy, but when one is not a threat, we hire out as mercenaries," Squall explained.

Laguna nodded, but he still looked confused. "So I'm going to be a SeeD then?" he asked.

"It's the only thing I can think of to do with you. A teenager can't run a country, that's for damn sure. I'm going to list you as my cousin, Laguna Leonhart, named after your uncle, and my father, Laguna Loire. Who is really you, but no one else needs to know that, right? I'll get you a dorm, and set up your classes for Monday. Sound alright?"

"Better than being a Galbadian soldier, I guess. Which is what I was already training for...." Laguna shrugged.

Squall gave the boy a tight smile and ruffled his hair paternally. It felt odd, but he had no clue what else to do. "You'll be alright, Laguna. I think you might even like it here," he said and left.

Laguna lay back down on his bed, and began to cry after a while. He was alone again.

He was Laguna Leonhart now.

Laguna sighed and trudged over to his new dorm, feeling lost and alone. It was obvious that everyone was uncomfortable, especially his "son". Even his supposed surrogate daughter couldn't look him in the eye. If their story was completely true, then apparently nobody wanted to deal with Laguna as a teenager. The boy began to wonder if he was better off dead.

At the thought of dying, Laguna absently rubbed the scar on his chest from his heart surgery. The beauty of super-technology is that Laguna had recovered from heart surgery in days, where most people would take months. Nobody but Squall, Ellone, Rinoa, and the medical staff knew who Laguna Leonhart really was. Squall wanted it kept secret, and had revealed to the world that his father had died.

And for all intents and purposes, Laguna Loire had died.

Laguna finally found his dorm, and headed inside. Inside was apparently his roommate, a short, compact Asian boy, with rather large muscles for his small body. Next to him on the couch they shared was a tall black woman, with braids that hung to her waist. She was very beautiful.

"So you must be the roommate. Laguna Leonhart, eh? Headmaster's cousin, eh? Must be nice to have connections, eh?" the Asian boy asked, concentrating fully on the videogame he was playing, not even bothering to spare a glance from the screen as far as Laguna could tell.

"If you say so.... What's your name..?" Laguna asked cheerfully, trying to be optimistic about the whole thing.

"Akira Soniiachi. This here's my girl, Bethany Georges," the Asian boy said quickly, his thumbs moving quickly over his control pad.

"Hi!" Laguna said cheerfully, flashing the tall black girl a huge smile.

"Are you sure he's a boy?" Bethany asked Akira with a languid yawn.

Akira flicked his dark eyes to Laguna once before returning them to his tv screen. "Crap. This ain't gonna be good if I'm drunk and horny, and him looking like that," Akira snorted.

"Looking like what?" Laguna asked innocently, examining his clothes. A simple pair of trousers and a small t-shirt was what he wore, the predominant color blue.

"It won't be good for your health at all if I catch you cheating on me, much less with some girl-boy," Bethany said, her tone dangerous. She got up and stood before Laguna, examining him sourly.

"Girl-boy?" Laguna asked, not completely aware that his delicate features could easily have him mistaken for a girl, and a very pretty one at that.

"Damn. He even smells like girl. All flowers and soap," Bethany groused, wrinkling her nose as she got a whiff of Laguna.

"What's wrong with flowers and soap?" Laguna asked, giving her a small smile.

"You don't even understand, do you? How sheltered a life have you led??" Bethany asked impatiently. Laguna withdrew slightly from the beautiful woman. He had spent most of his life being protected by his mother. The irony of his situation, was that he had reverted right before the stage in his life where he cut himself loose from his overprotective mother. Most people in his home town had loved the sweet boy so much, they never really thought to bring up the fact that he resembled a girl more than a boy to his face. And Laguna never really understood the whispers and jokes behind his back.

"I.... I'm going to go unpack....." Laguna said quickly, and escaped inside his bedroom.

Laguna tossed his bags on the bed, looking around the tiny bedroom unhappily. Laguna had already begun cutting the apron strings his mother tied to him, but he was still attached to her. Her loss was a sudden blow... And if it weren't for all the pictures Squall had shown him, not to mention taking Laguna to grieve at her grave, Laguna would completely refuse to believe that he had somehow been reverted in age to sixteen. But all the evidence pointed to it's unquestionable honesty. And that fact shook Laguna to his core.

Laguna sat on his bed staring out the window most of the night.

Squall decided to walk Laguna to class, and early at that. Laguna was utterly quiet as he followed Squall down the hallway, arriving half an hour before class started. Laguna wondered what was so important. The door was locked, but Squall had the master code, and easily made it inside.

As Laguna followed Squall in, his aquamarine eyes caught on a tall, muscular blonde sitting at the desk. The man couldn't have been older than twenty, and wore a gray trenchcoat with a red cross sword symbol emblazoned on the sleeves. He didn't even look up when Squall stopped before his desk.

"A particular reason why you're here, Leonhart, or are you here to just generally piss me off?" the blonde asked, his voice harsh and short, reminding Laguna of a whip.

"I brought my cousin here to meet you. Laguna Leonhart," Squall said evenly, barely batting an eye at the older SeeD's tone.

The tall blonde looked up, and Laguna found intense cat green eyes focusing in on him. The blonde was extremely handsome, his face possessing a harsh beauty, losing none of it's chiseled perfection for it's deep scowl. He wore a small pair of reading glasses that he took off, and Laguna's eyes caught on a crisp SeeD instructor uniform beneath the trenchcoat. Even underneath all the layers of clothing, his body conveyed toned perfection, muscular, but not overly so. Laguna found himself instantly attracted to his new SeeD instructor, and found himself looking away from the intense green gaze, and blushing.

"He looks like your father," the blonde man accused.

"He's Laguna’s nephew. His mother was like a female version of Laguna, her brother. The similarity is uncanny, though," Squall said without batting an eye. "Laguna, this will be your teacher, Instructor Almasy."

Laguna nodded shortly, staring at his feet. His blush refused to go away. He had always found himself attracted to men, and at the mere age of sixteen, Laguna had not yet buried his homosexual feelings. At forty-six, only the occasional thought would come to his mind unbidden, but at sixteen, intense feelings of attraction washed over his entire being, and Laguna felt hot and tingly.

"Doesn't talk much. Has to be your relative. Now, why the hell are you here, Squall? Why do I need to see him?" Seifer asked, his harsh baritone never softening. Laguna sensed an intense jealousy in Instructor Almasy towards Squall, but no real hatred. There were other emotions the blonde man conveyed by tone and look towards Squall, as equally intense, but less definable.

"He's going to need intensive training to catch up with the class. I'm asking you to tutor him, Seifer," Squall said quietly. Laguna blinked, attaching the first name to the last.

Seifer's jaw worked for a moment, a brief amount of resentment flicking behind his green eyes. "All SeeDs are suppose to be ten by the time they're brought into the program," Seifer said coldly.

"He's a special case. Will you or will you not tutor him, Seifer? I'm asking this as a favor to a friend. A favor in exchange for the one I gave you by allowing you back into SeeD, and letting you become an instructor," Squall said, allowing the barest hint of emotion creep into his normal monotone. Laguna bit his bottom lip, lifting his eyes to Seifer, and finding resignation in Seifer's eyes. The blonde looked away from Squall's intense blue gaze and stared down at the papers on his desk.

"You know I'd do it for you, Squall. I was just giving you a hard time," Seifer sighed, his forefinger and thumb pushing up his glasses so he could massage the bridge of his nose. Laguna's eyes widened at the statement, and he found his glance drifting from Seifer and Squall. There was something there between them, and it confused Laguna, because it had no definition.

"Like you always do. Just please... He's lost his mother. He has no place to go. He's just a kid, and he's important to me. Please help him out. I'm not asking you to go easy on him. Just bring him up to par," Squall said softly, not intending Laguna to hear, but the raven-haired youth heard it anyway.

Seifer nodded dismissively and Squall favored the tall blonde with a tight smile and left the room. Seifer still had not glanced back at Laguna, and gave a great sigh as he brought out a few forms. Laguna stood to the side quietly, his blush fading.

"Sit down at the desk behind you," Seifer said sharply. As Laguna sat, Seifer stood, revealing the truly impressive stature of his height. Laguna stared at Seifer as the blonde placed the forms down in front of him.

"Fill these out, and give them to me once you're done. Every night, at 7pm on the dot, I'll expect to see you at my dorm, and from there we will go to the Instructor's training room. It's best that our tutoring sessions don't get out, so keep your mouth shut about them. What is your weapon of choice?" Seifer asked briskly.

"Umm... 'weapon of choice'?" Laguna asked tentatively, biting his bottom lip again in nervousness. He didn't like Seifer standing so close to him, because it was hard to hide his blush, and even harder not to stare at Seifer's masculine beauty.

Seifer looked annoyed. "The weapon you prefer to use in battle," he said shortly, his tone conveying impatience. Laguna swallowed.

"Um, I dunno. I've been taught to use a gun, a bow and arrow, a gunblade, and a sword...." Laguna said softly.

"Pick one to be your primary weapon," Seifer said shortly.

"Um... Well.... Machine guns are easy.... but I like gunblades. But where I was they assign you to your weapon.. I guess if I can choose I'll choose the gunblade...." Laguna said uneasily. Seifer's intense gaze on him was like being an ant baked under a magnifying glass by the sun.

"You realize this is the most difficult weapon to learn to use, right?" Seifer snorted.

Laguna shrugged. "It wasn't that hard in basic.... I'm pretty good with one, the trainer said so. Natural talent," Laguna said defensively, beginning to bristle under Seifer's derision.

"I expect we'll see about that, Laguna Leonhart. But since I'm a gunblader, you couldn't get better training," Seifer smirked, and Laguna almost saw a hint of good humor. "After all, who do you think taught your cousin to be so good?"

"You're awful stuck on yourself, aren't you?" Laguna said with a hint of annoyance, before he caught himself, and cupped his hand over his mouth in horror.

Seifer raised an eyebrow, but much to Laguna's shock, he didn't get angry. "When you're the best, you're suppose to be stuck on yourself, kid. Now fill out those forms so I can go back to planning today's lesson," he said with a hint of amusement in his tone. Laguna immediately blushed in response and turned away. Seifer was extremely attractive already when he was in a bad mood, but when he was in good humors, Laguna found him even more attractive.

The tall blonde sat back down at his desk and began to plan his lesson, either not noticing or not caring whenever Laguna would steal glances at him. Originally, Laguna had been able to bury his feelings for other men easily, because he never found any man he was particularly attracted to. But now Laguna had found someone he was attracted to. His feelings were not going to go away so easily now, it seemed.

The bell soon rang, and class began. Akira, Laguna's roommate was one of Laguna's fellow classmates, and he walked in playing a gameboy. The small Asian boy displayed an uncanny ability to avoid obstacles while never letting his gaze wander from the screen of his gameboy. Next to him came the immensely tall Bethany, who stood an easy six and half feet tall, walking as graceful as a dancer. Laguna smiled and waved at her, and the black girl returned his greeting with a curt nod. A small girl with bright red hair sat down next to Laguna, nodding briefly at him. Laguna smiled at her, but before he could try and start a conversation, the class began.

Laguna wasn't as lost as one might think he would be. He was naive, but certainly not stupid. A lot of the more recent technical aspects Laguna didn't quite get, but he paid careful attention to what Instructor Almasy was teaching, as much to learn as to impress the handsome teacher. Laguna was so wrapped up in trying to understand what he was being taught, that he didn't even notice the lunch bell. The class soon cleared out, and Laguna found himself alone in the classroom as Seifer took out a lunch cooler. The blonde noticed Laguna sitting alone in the classroom.

"Why haven't you gone to the cafeteria for lunch yet?" Seifer asked, his voice as commanding as ever. Laguna was beginning to think the blonde had no softness about him at all.

"I.... don't know where it is...." Laguna confessed, staring at his hands. In truth, even though Squall had given him a tour, Laguna had forgotten most everything.

Seifer raised a golden eyebrow, in what could almost be described as amusement. "It's not hard to find," he said, his tone not so harsh in it's mild bemusement.

"I... don't like eating alone...." Laguna said quietly, blushing slightly. He certainly wasn't going to pass up this golden opportunity to be close to Seifer.

Seifer's other eyebrow arched gracefully in compliment to it's twin. "So you want to eat lunch with me..?" he asked, his tone becoming more and more amused.

"Um... yeah...?" Laguna answered, risking a look upward, noting the bemused smirk on Seifer's face. He wondered why the blonde was so amused by all of this. "I'm new here... and I don't know anyone..."

"I'm not exactly the Garden's prize teacher. In fact, I'm almost positive my entire class thinks I'm a prick. If there was a prize for the most hated teacher in Balamb Garden, then I'm sure I'd win. I don't play favorites, kid, and to be honest I think all you little pieces of shit can go to hell. I'll tutor you for your cousin, but don't think that means you're the new teacher's pet. I'm a damn good teacher, but I'm not lenient at all. Go snuggle up to Trepe, not me," Seifer said flatly, his smirk being replaced by a harsh expression.

"That's not why I... never mind...." Laguna sighed, cutting himself off and getting up to leave. He moped past Instructor Almasy slowly, feeling foolish for trying to get the older blonde to eat lunch with him. He was sure Seifer hated him now, and his entire time in the Garden was now going to be miserable.

"If you wait a moment, I'll walk you to the cafeteria."

Laguna blinked and stopped, staring at the tall blonde in surprise. "I thought you didn't want any teacher's pets," he said slowly.

"I don't, and as long you understand that I'm not going to go easy on you because of who you are, then we're fine," Seifer said arrogantly, collecting his belongings and heading towards the door, expecting Laguna to follow.

The boy took the hint and fell into step behind Seifer. "But that wasn't why I asked...." Laguna sighed.

"You don't act like your cousin at all," Seifer said evenly.

"Well, to be honest, I barely know him. I couldn't say," Laguna shrugged.

"Then why'd you choose the gunblade? Aren't you trying to be like him?" Seifer probed.

Laguna blinked in surprise. "Squall uses a gunblade? Really? Natural talent, I knew it! Must run in the blood," Laguna said smugly, grinning to himself. After all, Squall was his son, and if his son used a gunblade, then Laguna's trainer had to be right.

Seifer blinked. "You didn't know that Squall was a gunblader??" he asked incredulously. A body had to live in a cave not to know Squall Leonhart's weapon of choice.

"Uh, no. We only met a couple weeks ago... And weapons never came up..." Laguna said slowly, and wondered if he was saying too much.

"How could you not know? Squall's famous... I know he's just discovering all his family and everything, but you can't be serious," Seifer said with a look of disbelief. Yet the raven-haired boy next to him had nothing but honesty written across his earnest features.

"Um... Squall's famous??" Laguna blinked.

"He saved the world... Didn't you hear?"

"Uh, no. I'm from out in the middle of nowhere. I don't hear anything. And Squall never mentioned it..." Laguna shrugged, resisting the urge to smile. His son was a hero. Even though Laguna was only sixteen, the thought made him want to burst with pride.

"Unbelievable... But you look like you're telling the truth..." Seifer muttered.

Seifer led the youth to the cafeteria, and left him there, opting instead to eat at the teacher's lounge. Laguna wandered over to the table where his roommate sat, saying nothing at first, letting the others at the table talk. But Laguna was nothing if not naturally friendly, and soon he was engaged in conversation with the entire table, and was quickly making friends. Laguna was becoming rather popular by the time the bell rang for everyone to return to class.

The rest of the day passed quietly, especially with the heavy load of assignments Seifer gave his class. Laguna trudged back to his dorm, his arms piled with books and reference material. He sat in his bedroom, poring over the books, learning the complicated usage of magic. He was astounded at how much things had progressed from his time period. People could use magic on their own, like a Sorceress!

Laguna was so absorbed in his studies, that he forgot the time. When he looked up from his book, and over at the clock, it said 7:04 pm. The ebon-haired boy sprung from his bed.

Oh no!! I'm going to be late, and Instructor Almasy is going to be royally pissed at me!! Laguna thought as he ran out from the room, heading to Seifer's dorm as per instructions. It took Laguna ten minutes to reach the dorm at full tilt, and he arrived panting in front of the door. He felt so stupid. Instructor Almasy was not a teacher to excuse tardiness, and Laguna had so wanted to give the blonde a good impression.

Laguna pressed the intercom button. "Um, Instructor Almasy? It's me, Laguna Lo-Leonhart... Sorry I'm late..." he breathed, wondering how the temperamental teacher would react, and fearing his punishment. He had seen how Seifer handled discipline in his class, and certainly did not want to receive any.

"Come in," the harsh baritone commanded and Laguna entered the dorm, feeling queasy from anxiety. What sort of trouble was he going to be in?

An Instructor's dorm was five times the size of a normal SeeD's, because they literally lived at the Garden. The living room, where Laguna was entering, was large enough to practice fighting if cleared of furniture. The room was dark, and only the soft glow of the fading sunlight through the blinds allowed Laguna to notice the austere blonde sitting in a chair. Laguna turned to him, and caught a dangerous glint in Seifer's green eyes. They appeared blue in the dark, and emanated an intense ferocity to him. Laguna felt more than a little afraid looking into the eyes of someone so plainly aggressive. He'd never experienced anything like that, and had no understanding of it.

"You're late, Laguna Leonhart. I hate tardiness. I hope to cure you of this bad habit," Seifer spat, his tone full of venom. Laguna caught the glint of metal as a gunblade was pulled out from next to the chair and thrown at the pretty youth.

Laguna gasped and backpedaled as the gunblade spun in the darkened room, and landed between his legs, seeming to be waiting patiently for Laguna to grab it. Laguna looked up at his teacher, and just in time it seemed.

Seifer Almasy had Hyperion unsheathed in his hand and was rushing Laguna as if he meant to kill the boy...


Will Seifer kill young Laguna? Will Laguna ever remember what his life as an adult? What inner demons fuel Seifer Almasy? What's going to happen to Squall, and his infant son, Xavier? How is Ellone coping with what she accidentally did to save Laguna's life? And if Laguna manages to live, how is his crush on Seifer going to progress? All this and more in the next part of Time After Time in Part Two - Heartbreaker...

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