Disclaimer: Plain and simple. FFVIII belongs to Squaresoft, which I am not a part of.

Author's Notes: It's weird, it's strange (like me nonetheless), but this came to me while reading 'Blood and Chocolate' by Annette Curtis Klause. Good book, and I highly recommend it. However, it is about Werewolves, but this story isn't.

This story includes reincarnation, transformation, and hopefully a happy ending. I do believe in reincarnation, but you don't have to believe it to read this story. It won't offend or force any views. It can be easily considered fantasy, which a lot of it maybe because the game is called, Final Fantasy. However, I warn you now that it maybe against some views in Christianity, and other religions. I believe in god, but not church. I believe in a superior being, but not the bible, or Jesus, or such. I suppose you can call my religion Shinto, or something like it, because I believe in the earth beneath my feet, the water I drink, the fire that warms me, and the air that surrounds me. ^_^ Heed this, and make your decision to read it or not.

If you do choose to read, please R&R. All is appreciated. : )


Part 1

By Drakon Sword

I didn't understand. I couldn't understand. I'm not sure that anyone else could either. Let alone attempt. The wind is my loyal ally. Concealed by the night. The world around me is lit by an eerie glow from the moon. The stars twinkled above, laughing with me in our mirth. I was one with the nature around me. Yet plagued by a thrust I yearned to fulfill.

I was wild. I was savage. I was powerful. And I loved it all. The world around me was all I could see, and feel. My past, and my meaning was unknown to me. It didn't bother me. I felt endless power, and with no one to threaten me. I was invincible.

Who am I? I don't know. Who I was seems so faraway, and it doesn't matter because of who I am now, to which I don't care as long as I continue to feel this power and strength. The people I knew don't matter. The ones I loved mean nothing to my heart now. My family, friends, and those how care for me are so far behind me that I don't even remember their names. Just blurs of faces in my memory. Words maybe. Other than that, they are nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I let out a delighted, but fearful roar as I stopped in a grassy clearing. My furry lips curling into a smirk as I look to the moon. This is my area. This is my place. I have finally found my home.

I step to the pond that is as still as glass before me, my fur- covered muscles rippling. I look at myself as I crouched down on all fours into the tall grass looking at my reflection in the pond. My new self. Golden fur covers my body, and a large tan, brown, golden fur mane runs around my head. Powerful paws with long black claws. A long tail with a tuff of fur on the end that matches my mane. The only feature that mirrors my past identity is the blueish grey eyes that stare back at me, and the scar that runs between them.

I am no longer human. I am a lion.

My ear twitches as I hear prey behind me. The thrust screams at me, but I do not turn. Not yet. They are now my prey, I will get them. I narrow my eyes, and let the large pink tongue lick my lips, foreshadowing my satisfaction I will feel. I am more alive then I ever was, and ever will be. This is my element.

I turn my head slowly to see my prey. Its presence filling my senses. I can see, smell, hear, and practically taste it. My mouth waters. My past identity would have recognized it as Mesmerize, but now it is meat. It's long, curved purple neck, white main, and a long horn that rest on its head. I feel my muscles tense as I prepare to pounce. Watching as the creature drinks the cool water, waiting for the right moment.

Before it can run, let alone breath, I am on it. Its slim neck crushed under my powerful jaws, and my claws tearing its smooth flesh. It calls out in fear, wafting to my ears as my own blood pounds in my ears. It struggles for freedom, to get away, for its life. The life that I crave.

My mouth is now filling with the crimson liquid that holds life. My body practically shivers in anticipation. The tangy, metallic taste filling my mouth. I crave more, and begin to pull as it screams in terror, and pain. The flesh tears off into my mouth. I grin as I swallow the flesh, and jump to stand on it.

Bloods spatters my well-groomed fur, and the clean green glass beneath us. I let out a roar in my satisfaction as I lap up the blood. It lets one last wale asking for aid before its body loses it life, and flops to the ground with a dull thud. I lick my lips, and dive in. Chewing, and consuming its flesh, its blood, its life. I have won. I am alive.

As I eat, the moon lights the blood, giving it a silver tinge. Making it seem like the food of the gods, ambrosia. The stars twinkle, and the field is deathly quiet. No one dares to disturb me. I have won. This is where I belong. I need no one, but those that are to be my prey, my food.

I am not human. I am a lion.

Rays of light glare at me as I groan, turning over. I put an arm over my eyes, and try to hold onto those last few winks of rest. Not waiting to rise just yet, but know that I must. I can feel the warm breeze flow into my room, fluttering my curtains. I lick my dry lips, only to be met with a taste of . . . blood?

I sat up, and instantly looked at my hands, but all I see is the smooth but callused palms of a gunblader covered in ivory skin. There is no blood, but I can feel it. The taste is in my mouth, the sensation of flesh under my nails, the warm blood splattered on my chest.

It happened again.

I can't explain it. I have these dreams that I'm a lion. That I run out into the wild, kill a monster, and feed. Fulfilling the mammal, the best within me. In these dreams I feel alive, more alive and real than anything that I do in reality can. Only battling the sorceress, as scary as it was, was as close as I could get to fulfilling this new thrust. A thrust for blood, but for so much more. Like I was trying to fill something. A void.

I'm not even fully sure that these are dreams. They seem so real. It's like a hallucination from a drug, but I haven't done any drugs for months. Yet I feel I need a shower to wash the blood, and scent off of me. I can smell the blood on me, I can taste it, I can feel it. It has to be there. I had to be that lion killing the Mesmerize.

I was no longer human. I was a lion.

Not likely.

I let the warm water of the shower, wash the sensation of the blood away before I go insane. I don't understand what is going on or why, but this has been going on for months. Ever since we returned after the defeat of the sorceress.

At first, I was having dreams were I was free in the wild, and running as a human. As months past, I was a lion. Then finally, after 8 months after our victory, I was killing. Waking up with the sensation of blood allover me. With a sense of fulfilment that no battle, food, achievement, or sex could ever conceive of. The kill, flesh, and blood filled a void that was empty inside of me. It fulfilled me mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and sexually. I don't understand, but I need it. No one would understand either.

Blood has always been mysterious to me, yet something that I craved. It was like my alter ego, a lion, craved it. I remember with many battles with Seifer, blood was spilled. I would always lick my wound, and the blood before even fulling conceiving of the fact I was hurt. Seifer never said anything.

Actually, I remember sharing blood once. He never asked, ridiculed or questioned my drinking blood, for he did too. I remember one battle I lost pathetically, and as I kneeled before him, fighting for air because of the pain of my loss and in my body, he came to me. Gently, two of his fingers entered my mouth, brushing my lips as the metallic tangy taste burst on my tongue. This was the first time I tasted his blood, licking it off his fingers. He said words to me that I never forgot.

"Blood is life. By drinking the blood of another, you may achieve their qualities. May my blood make you stronger, and make you my worthy rival as I wish to do the same." His voice was hushed, and he let his fingers gather blood from a wound on my chest. He drank my blood. It was bizarre. It was insane. It was arousing. That's when I realized how tied we were. How I needed him. How . . .

"Squall?" I heard Rinoa call as I walked down the hallway, dressed and clean of any blood, though there was none. Just felt like there was. Rinoa and I had dated, or stayed under the pretense of dating, for 3 months after the defeat of the sorceress, but we parted. Partially because of my dreams, I was pushing her further away, but also because she couldn't deal with my cool personality like she first thought she could, and I couldn't deal with hers. Not 24/7, anyway. She had left to the arms of Zell Dincht, who was more than capable of staying up with her. I was happy for them.

I turned and stopped, waiting for her to catch up. The click clack of her black high healed boots as she jogged to catch up to me. I said nothing, and had no need to as she came to my side. She smiled, asking how I was to which I gave a one word answer to satisfy her, though I'm not completely 'fine', before she continued into her speeches of the latest gossip. However, my mind was elsewhere.

I could smell her perfume of lilies and something nutty, I think nutmeg or cinnamon. I could also smell the flowery perfumed shampoo and conditioner. The mint of her toothpaste, the light scent of her hand lotion, and her blood. I could smell it all with such clarity that it was scary. However, it didn't bother me anymore. This had started a longtime ago.

I stopped, and Rinoa took a few steps forward till she noticed that I had stopped, where she spun around, frowning in askance.

"Squall? What did you stop for?" She asked, and I knew that was her question before she asked it. I simply looked at her, and nodded behind me where I could hear the sneakered footsteps of her boyfriend, Zell.

"Zell. He's behind us." I said, simply and she looked at me surprised. Then frowned as she strained to hear him, but obviously heard nothing. She then turned back to my scowling in confusion.

"I can't hear anything, Squall." Rinoa exclaimed, frowning at me. I said nothing, waiting. That when she heard it, when it was ringing in my ears. Zell appeared behind us, dressed in jean skater shorts, a red tank top, and (as I knew earlier) his black and red running shoes.

"Zell!" Rinoa called, waving, tossing me a confused look. I was surprised she wasn't used to this now, but said nothing in return.

"Oh hey! Rinoa! Squall! What's up?" Zell smiled as he jogged up to us. Putting an arm around each of our shoulders as we continued our way to the caf.

"We were just going to get some breakfast." Rinoa said, smiling as she gave Zell a quick kiss. I barely looked twice. At first they had been uncomfortable about showing any affection to each other in front of me, but I didn't care then, and I still don't. Like I said early, I'm happy for them.

"Sounds good!" Zell cheered, and I let his arm stay as we walked to the caf. I could smell Quistis and Irvine in the caf along with the scent of waffles, bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee before we entered the caf.

"I wonder who's there?" Rinoa asked. It was a rhetorical question, but I already knew the answer, and let a small smile grace my lips. Deciding not to answer. They would think I was nuts, and start asking uncomfortable questions. Ones that I can't answer.

"Howdy! What's up with ya folks?" Irvine asked, smiling as he tipped his hat at us. He hadn't changed much since the defeat of the sorceresses. Still the same flirtatious cowboy that we all trusted. He had left time to time, but always returned in a few weeks. A wanderer, he liked to call himself.

"Great, man! How about ya?" Zell asked, thumping Irvine's back as he sat down. Those two had become quite close. I didn't understand it, and I don't think anyone else did, but left it be. They were complete opposite, but got along great.

Rinoa slipped in beside Zell, and I went to the other side of the table to sit beside Quistis, who smiled at me, but I could see apprehension, and concern on her face. Shit. I could smell it on her. Literally. However, I don't think the others could. She still looked cool, and calm. That was Quistis for you.

"Hey Squall. Sleep well?" She asked, pushing her glasses back up her nose as Zell, Irvine, and Rinoa started conversing about some of the latest gossip. I wasn't interested, and it seemed neither was Quistis.

"Fine." I nodded, crossing my arms as I leaned back. She nodded back, and took a sip of her coffee. Double sugar, no cream.

I could tell something was wrong, but I wasn't going to question. I had a lot of patience when it came to my friends, and people. Seifer never did. He was forceful, and demanding. People who weren't capable were useless to him. I, on the other hand, would wait for people to breakdown, or burst out with potential no one saw, let alone knew. I don't like people, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

"Hey! Squall! Want anythin'?" Zell asked, getting up of his chair. His voice too loud for barely 8 o'clock in the morning. That was Zell. Someone Seifer loved to tease, but neither of us could stand his immaturity, and constant energy. I care for him as a friend now, but I can't hang around long. Actually, I can't with any of them. I like my alone time.

"Coffee." I stated, nodding. Zell smiled, and proceed to bounce over to the caf to get Rinoa and himself some food, and my coffee. I'm not hungry. I'm strangely full and satisfied.

Don't doubt it. I care for all of them, but I've always had trouble with people. It's not like I'm not capable. Actually, I'm probably too capable. I can manipulate, and outsmart any other person, so I find them boring and time consuming with their trivial things and problems. By saying nothing I can get what I want. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but you see, I feel like I'm on a level that no one will ever understand. Other than Seifer. He understood because he was with me on the level. He may have gotten here first.

Seifer and I didn't need others to live, or achieve anything. No one close that is. I think we needed each other than either could ever explain, but we needed no one. Everything we learned couldn't be found in a book. We knew everything in the books, and we were off to understand life, and humanity.

You see, humans need challenges, obstacles, and pain to grow and learn. Hence the saying you learn from your mistakes. Seifer, and I knew everything in the books by the time we were 14, or 15. Or we felt that we didn't need it anymore. It may help on the battle field, but not in life. After we found that we needed something else. There was something else that no one else understood, or worthy, but we found it in each other. A rivalry.

Every time I fell, I learned something. Seifer and I kept each other on our toes. Battling to reach perfection, to understand life, to fulfill the need for victory and defeat. We learned from our victories, and our defeats. Everyone thought we were killing each other, which we weren't for we needed the other too much to kill them. We were teaching, and learning from each other. Like Quistis had said once, we were on our own level.

"Here ya are, Squall." Zell said, putting the Styrofoam cup of coffee with one cream before me. It slopped a little on the table with his eagerness, but Quistis quickly reached over and whipped it up with a napkin, barely realizing that she was doing it. She was as thoughtful as me this morning. Something was indeed on her mind. "One cream, right?" Zell asked. I nodded, and gave a small smile.

"Thanks." I murmured, the word was weird on my lips for I didn't say it often, but it pleased him. That may be another reason why these dreams are so bizarre. Maybe it's because of all the violence between Seifer and myself that I'm having these, and so isolated from people.

It had potential. Seifer and I were never gentle, or kind with each other. We were gentle nor kind with anyone. It was treated as a weakness between us. Seifer hated weakness, and tolerated none from anyone, including me. I consider pleasure, happiness, and humour a weakness because it took you off guard. Having those qualities got you killed, or at least I think. Maybe those aren't weaknesses. Maybe they are strengths in another way. Maybe we were both wrong. Maybe we both still had a lot to learn.

"Where's Selphie?" Rinoa asked Irvine as I sipped my coffee. He was finishing up a piece of toast while Zell gobbled down his waffles with the gusto I have come accustom to. It's a part of Zell, and I'm not sure if I could live without. I think the world may come to an end if he does.

"Sleeping. She wasn't feeling well last night. I think she's got a bit of the flu. If she isn't feeling well later, I'm going to take her to the infirmary." Irvine explained. He and Selphie had been dating off and on for the past 8 months. One minute they were a couple, next they were single. They cared for each other very much, and any fool could see that. I guess in some ways they didn't want to lose the friendship, but also were afraid of the seriousness of their relationship when they were a couple. Also, Irvine like to be alone at times and wander off. Selphie hated that, so that was the cause of many breakups. I'm not sure, but I think they'll ever really become a true couple, or get married. Probably just stay friends.

"Shame. I wanted to ask if she wanted to go shopping. Maybe tomorrow if she's feeling better." Rinoa sighed, resting her chin on her palm. Taking a piece of bacon, and munching on it. I sat silently, sipping my hot coffee. Not the best coffee, but not the worst either. All I cared was that I was getting the caffeine.

"Ya. I think she mentioned something about wanting a new clubbing skirt. Ask her later. I think she'll be more than willing to go. Hell! I'll go! I want to see her in a new sexy skirt! Remember the last one . . . ?" Irvine laughed, waving an eyebrow as Zell punched his arm while eating. The joking around never stopped between the two.

At this point I shut out the conversation. It started getting into gossiping again, like were Selphie and Irvine dating again, who was Quistis dating of she was, did you see the new SeeD from Galbadia, new clubs, new movies . . . etc, etc, etc.


Other people's problems aren't mine, and I'm not about to make them mine. Everyone keep their problems to themselves, and I'll keep mine. Then the world may live in peace. If there is such a thing. Maybe I'm being a prick, but someone has to be the devil's advocate, right? Then again, why am I asking for anyone's opinion? I'm entitled to my own.

Yes, I do have conversations in my head. They happened to be more innovating then the outside world.

"Guys! Listen! I have some news. You too, Squall." Quistis said, urgently. Her hand tapping my shoulder gently to get my attention. She was probably one of the only people that I trusted and knew who didn't force me to quite my 'inner monologues' as I've heard them described by others.

"What's up, Quisty? Somethin' the matter?" Zell asked, seemingly to have finished his meal. Everyone was as confused and concerned to Quistis' urgency as I was. I cared for Quistis, and she was fairly level-headed. Basically, it took a lot for her to get concerned. That was enough for me to get worried.

"I heard some news from Xu this morning. She wanted me to tell you, and let you know." She paused. It wasn't for dramatic effect. It was for her to gather her wits. "There has been some Seifer sightings. Xu doesn't know that they are real, but she's been getting reports since the defeat of Ultimecia. More and more as time passed. She decided not to tell me till she was certain they held some truth. Xu thought I should tell you." Quistis explained, tapping her fingers on the tabletop, letting her nails click simultaneously as she held a herself confidently.

The reactions varied. Zell was gapping, his jaw unhinged as his chin practically rested on the caf table. Rinoa was blinking, not moving otherwise. It was still sinking in, I suppose. Irvine had his eyes narrowed as his mouth was hid by his hand while his elbows rested on the tabletop. Myself? I wasn't sure yet.

You see, after we all came home to the garden, we waited for a couple of months for him to return. SeeDs, and Estharian guards were set everywhere to look for him, as well as clean up the mess. We had done our job, but I had gone out to search for him also. Being the commander, and squad leader, the rest of the 'gang' followed. However, we found nothing. He had disappeared off the face of the earth, or so it seemed.

I felt like Seifer was owed a lot more credit then he was given, and made it globally known that he was not alone responsible for his actions. I know that many asked how the hell I know, but didn't question me. I had a lot of power. I was commander of Balamb garden, the new world hero, and my father was the president of one of the strongest nations, Esthar. However, at the same time, I announced that he was dead. He had died in the Time Compression, and may have had something to do with our safety and Ultimecia's defeat. Again, I wasn't questioned, but my friends made and gave their comments. I didn't care. As long as Seifer wasn't made the bad guy when Ultimecia really was. I knew Seifer. He wasn't cruel, just could be a prick at times.

I had a service held for him, to the bewilderment of my friends and father. No one understood Seifer and my relationship. None did, and no one ever will. I'm not sure I completely understand. Just that I was happy to have it.

Anyhow, Seifer has a grave stone and it's out where the orphanage was. It is behind the beach were we all used to play. Up in the rocks, covering a cave he and I used as a hiding spot from everyone. It was out little space. I have already made it known that in the result of my death, I want my ashes to be spread on that ocean. I know that my wishes well be granted. They are all good soldiers like I am. They follow orders. Not to mention, they'll want to grant my last request to make me happy in my death.

Death has never bothered me. That was something Seifer and I learned together. Death was a part of the circle of life. You see, there is one big circle, birth to death, and other smaller circles, day to night, that make up our life. None of them end, and they continue on. I was sorrowful at Seifer's death, but I knew that I would see him again when I died, and in our next life. He's just beat me to death, and probably for birth. Like last time. He was a year older than me.

"Where?" I asked, the first one to gain my wits to ask a question. Quistis turned to me, a light smile to calm me. I then realized how tight, and anxious my voice was. I also realized how it was mirroring what I felt inside. Hope? Is that what was budding in my chest?

"There has been a few sightings around Esthar in the forest and shore, but there has also been some in Winhill from what Xu told me. There are others, but Cid and Xu believe it's just people wanting the hero and co to visit their town." Quistis smiled, wryly, but I missed it as I scowled in thought. Was Seifer still alive?

"Have you spoken to Fujin, and Raijin?" I asked, continued to scowl, looking up at Quistis. Raijin and Fujin were in Winhill. After the sorceress war, they decided to go try a life somewhere, and hideaway. They weren't well known for their deeds with the sorceress since they only followed Seifer, and never did anything public, but they still felt guilty. I knew that they still loved Seifer, and were as hurt by his death as I was. I missed him, but I would go on without him. I also knew that if Seifer was truly alive, the first people he would go see would be them. I would be next . . . wouldn't I?

"I just found out this morning, Squall!" Quistis protested, giving a weak laugh. I just turned away to stare at my coffee. "Squall . . . I know his death was hard on you, but I didn't mean to give you false hope. They are just reports. They mean nothing. How can Seifer hide from the world . . . all of us . . . you for this long?!" Quistis asked, throwing up her arms as I stood up. Her voice was tight, and I knew she was having her doubts about telling me. I think she thought I was angry. I wasn't angry . . . well not really. Just . . . shocked.

"If you have to ask that, then you don't know Seifer . . ." I said simply as I got up, and gathered my coffee, " . . . or me." I finished my coffee, and threw the cup in the garbage. I quickly walked away, but could hear tidbits of the conversations as I did.

"I'll never understand it! Seifer was such an asshole to him, but he still treats, and talks as if Seifer was his best friend!" I heard Zell complain. Nope. No one understands the relationship Seifer and I had . . . have.

"Squall and Seifer were on a whole different level then anyone else. Mentally, physically, emotionally . . . I never understood them, but I think they had some close relationship that none of us knew about or understood." Quistis murmured. Good old Quistis. She's the only one that could ever come near understanding Seifer, and I. Maybe she was close to our level too.

"But still! Seifer was an asshole, and treated us all like shit! For Christ's sakes! He was going to kill us!!!" Zell hollered, and I could hear Rinoa and Quistis try their best to calm him down. He had gotten everyone's attention at this point.

"Zell. There's a lot to Squall none of us truly understands. Maybe - " Rinoa started to say, but I was too far to make anymore. I frankly didn't want to hear anymore. I had heard enough.

With a quick detour to my room, I gathered my gunblade, and made my way to the Training Centre. It may be extremely tame compared to the other battles I've fought, but it gives a bit of a workout. I've talked to Cid and Xu about new, higher level monsters, but they both said that the Training Centre was for cadets who were training still, not at the level I and the rest of the gang are at. Shame.

I'm still not sure what to think. Seifer is alive?! I mean all this time I thought he was dead. The one I grew up with, admired, and often longed to be, was alive. It hurt in his death. It was like a part of myself was being ripped out, and murdered, but I dealt with it. Just like I do with other things. I shoved the pain away, and now someone has stirred that pain again. Giving me hope that he isn't gone. That my other half wasn't gone. Did it mean I could still survive? That I don't need to follow him to the grave?

Yes, suicide has never been too faraway from my thoughts. After the sorceresses wars, I felt that my meaning was gone. I was a tool, and I had done my deed. I felt like I was useless, worthless, and that the world was done with me. However, pride never let me ever go past planning the perfect suicide.

Seifer taunting voice was always there. Mocking my weaknesses. Ridiculing my thoughts. Telling me that I was worth more than I had become. Just . . . what was I to do now? He was gone, I had done my job I was born for, fulfilled my destiny, all that bullshit, and now I was alone and empty. What was left?

I sliced through the Grat, over killing it in one hit. I could hear Shiva snort at the simplicity of the task. She was still with me. She was probably one of the only things that was keeping me grounded. They had originally wanted to take her away, but I said no, and they shut up. Power is such an evil, but good thing. The rest of the gang still carried a few, and some had been given to my father, Raijin, Fujin, and anyone else that wanted one and was capable. I wasn't letting Shiva go, and she wasn't letting me go. We went everywhere as a pair. She could temporarily fill the void that emptied in Seifer death. Or at least thought may have been his death.

I needed to know. Was Seifer still alive? Where was he? Where had he been? How was he? Why did he leave me? Why did he abandon me like everyone else had? Why did he break the promise to never leave me? Was he truly alive?

Yes. I knew this with a child's innocense, which I for one never had, that he was alive, but the question really was, did he want to see me? Did I do something wrong? Seifer may be ashamed of his weaknesses with Ultimecia, but even then he would still come to me, and talk. Say something. Even if it was for 5 minutes, and I was pissed drunk. He would still come. He wouldn't leave me like that . . . would he? No. He wouldn't.

With that, my mind was made up. In a few hours, I was making a trip to Winhill. There were only two other people in this world that had Seifer's respect, if not his love that I never had. If he was alive, they would know, and I was going to force it out of them. I needed to know. I needed Seifer. Just like I needed the blood, and kill in my dreams as a lion.

Good Lord. What is going on with me?

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