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

Author's Notes: Okay. I've had complaints that it's confusing. Don't worry. I think it is too, but that is the point. You see, to me there is no such thing as black or white, good or bad, love and hate. Nothing is not one thing without the other. They are all grey.

That is what the story is based on. Based on the rivalry that wasn't a rivalry. How hate and love are so closely related. I wanted to write a story where it is confusing. However, if you are complaining about the dreams, that will come in later chapters. I promise. It will be explained, and it has significance. It also means that I am successful because Squall is confused, and doesn't understand! Also, Squall's mind is just confusing.

I hope I've cleared that up, but if you have questions, ask and I will answer to the best that I'm capable of. Though I believe many questions will be answered as the story continues. So . . .

R&R! : )


Part 3

By Drakon Sword

I was waiting for him. I knew that he would return. He knew that I would be here, waiting. We always met here. In the same place. On the rocks by the ocean. It was nothing romantic, but it was where I first met him. Our mutual ground.

I could smell the salt of the ocean behind me as the waves lapped at the shore like him drinking blood of prey. Like me. We were kindred spirits, but I often wonder where he came from. How he came to be. Why he is here. Does he want something, or was it by chance?

So many questions, but no answers, and no way to get them.

It's funny. My thrust for blood has lessened considerably after I met him. I still crave the hunt, the kill, the blood, but I crave his presence as well. I love to hunt with him. Stand over our latest kill, and feed together. I don't feel as threatened by him anymore. We are comfortable together. Yet I hate to continue thinking him as him. I wish I knew his name, or had one by which I could call him.

:Wish and you shall receive.: I voice said in my head. I jumped up at the sensation of it. A deep, baritone voice appearing in my head. I spun around to come face to face, or eye to eye I suppose, with those jade green ones that I knew so well. They were laughing.

:Don't look so surprised. You can do it too. Try.: He coaxed, sitting down on the rock, much like he had the night we met. I stared at him incredulously. He just watched me, saying nothing in my head. I couldn't believe he could do that. How he could he do that? How . . . ? What the hell! It was worth a try.

:What. . . ? Am I doing it right?: I asked, my eyes clenched shut in concentration, willing myself to speak to him. To be in his head. Did he hear me? Did he understand? Was I doing it right? What the hell was going on?

:Perfect. Just purrrfect.: He purred in my mind. I could feel the shivers of his purr run down my spine. I sat down as I looked at him. He curled his lip like he often did. The one that represented a smile. His black strips matched the night sky as the orange glowed in the small amount of moonlight we had.

:How are we doing this? Who are you? What - ?: I had so many questions. I didn't care about the hunt anymore. I wanted to know him. I couldn't understand this. Barely 2 weeks ago, I lived for blood. Now I wanted to know him. All of him.

:Whoa! Whoa! Relax. We are doing this because our minds are connected. It's an ability we have since we can't communicate with our mouths, so we use our minds.: He answered, interrupting my bamboozle of questions. He was then sobered. :What is your name?:

:Leander.: I answered without hesitation. I'm not sure where the name came from. I never considered my name, but that was what it was. He seemed startled by my answer. Blinking at me for a few moments as I saw a mirth come to his jade eyes.

:I am Theron.: he told me his name with grace. Theron. It suited him. :I'm glad you approve. Let us go hunt. I'm hungry, and I'm sure you are too.: he mind-spoke me. With that he jumped off the rock, and jogged lightly to the forest.

:Okay, but tell me, where are you from? Why did you come to me? Why are you so familiar?: I asked, sounding like young club. I want to bat myself for how childish it sounded. I sounded like a love-sick lioness. Pathetic.

:All in due time, Leander. All in due time.: he answered chuckling as I ran to keep up with him. I didn't understand the need for secrets, but he was right, I was hungry. I was hungry for the hunt, the blood to fill me. I was hungry for it so immensely, yet I was hungry for information about him too.

I'm not sure what was going on. My hunger for blood was almost equal with hunger to learn more about him. Before I was solely a loner. Normally, I would have killed any animal, predator or not, when the crossed my path. With Theron, I didn't. I was different. And now I find I rely on him. I find that I'm not as blood craved as I was before. What is going on?

It makes me begin to question myself. My past that I know so little about. Question who I am? What am I? Where am I? What has happened to make me who I am? Am I truly a lion? Was I human? Is that even possible?

:Coming?: Theron voice asked in my head, teasing me a little. I turned to look at him, and shook the thought away, as I came before him.

:Yes. Let's hunt. I'm hungry.: I answered, trying to sound calm though I was frazzled with unanswered questions. Everything I knew wasn't important anymore. Theron threw my world out of wack, and changed my priorities in life to a scatter. Things that were the main drive of my life had taken the back seat, or shared it with something else that I never considered important anymore.

In some way I feel the need to push Theron away, get rid of him, but I also find that I need him, and I want him around. Though I'm still slightly wary, and I crave blood with a passion. I'm not sure what is going on, or what he did to me, but so far he hasn't harmed me. Does he want to? Who is he really? Who am I? What is going on?

I'm so confused.

I can't figure it out. The dreams are getting more and more vivid. I'm also gaining more and more control. I'm becoming one with the lion. The blood was second, instead of being the sole drive of the lion. The lion stops to think about things and his actions. Asked questions before diving in. Becoming more like me, Squall Leonhart.

Also, Theron was like Seifer, and he meant as much to me as he did to the lion. He acted like Seifer. Talked like Seifer. Even moved like Seifer. It's a Seifer double as a tiger. It's amazing, actually. To think that a dream character has become so real that so life like that I'm matching it to my rival. It's funny, but disturbing. I'm as confused as the lion, frankly. I don't understand why this is happening, but it is.

Theron. It sounded so familiar. So when I woke up, and went to my office, I typed it into the computer to find where it was from. There was nothing, other than the name's meaning. I found that Theron means 'Hunter' in Greek. Amusing, no? The hunting partner in my dream name means hunter.

I also looked up Leander. Again there was nothing of significance, other than it's meaning. Also Greek, it means 'Lion man'. At this one, I did laugh out loud. It was like these names were already in my self conscious, and I joined them with the characters in my dream. It's ironic.

However, I don't know Greek.

I'm not sure what these dreams mean, but they are becoming less and less dreamlike. It's almost as though I am the lion. That it is truly happening. I mean, I recognize the area. It's Balamb forest, and the beach. Scarily enough, I could go out right now and find the exact same rock Theron and Leander met on at the beach. It was one Seifer and I would sit on to rest after a battle. It's a large rock, and fairly flat on top. I guess again, my dream had pulled it out of my subconscious.

I wish I would stop thinking about Seifer. Quistis has left me alone since that time in the caf. I can still see the sympathy in her eyes whenever I see her, but she never dares to breech the subject, much to my thankfulness. I know that I hurt her in someway, but I'm not sure how. I mean, I was only hurting myself, wasn't I? We are friends, and always well be, but what did I do to her to hurt her? Did I hurt our friendship in someway?

Friendship. Something that I never really had. What I had with Seifer wasn't friendship. It seemed like less, but was more. I didn't really have friends till the sorceress' wars. Now I have 5, wait I guess I can include Xu and Nida. So that makes 7. Oh, what about Laguna, Kiros, Ward, and Ellone? So . . . 11? Wouldn't Seifer be laughing now. 'Squall. You mean Squall Leonhart. He has friends?! We are talking about the same guy, right? 5'8'', gunblade, messy brown hair, less then desirable personality. You're joking!' That would be Seifer.

Dammit! Get out of my head!

I'm doing it again. Seifer. Seifer. Seifer. Can I think of anything else? So he's alive! So he hasn't come to see me! So I care for him more than I am willing to admit, and he doesn't want me! So he abandoned me! So I pissed at him! So I hate him! So he frustrates me to no end! So he out there somewhere and ignoring me! So he went to see Fujin and Raijin, but not me! So he doesn't care about me anymore! SO!!!

"Commander?" A voice asked, their knuckles gently rapping on the door. I looked up from my hands, that were covering my face in my frustration, to see Xu, who seemed slightly apprehensive. Her hair was wind blown, obviously from her hurrying. I can catch the hitch in her breath as well. Currently, she was absently straightening her skirt, and blouse. She had hurried here for something.

"Yes?" I asked, leaning back in my office chair. She licked her lips. I noticed then she was a little pale, but hadn't lost all her composure. She seemed to be in the after shocks of an extreme surprise. I could hear her heart beating a little faster than normal.

"You need to come and see something, Commander." She answered, clasping her hand before her. They clutched tightly, causing the knuckles to go white.

"What happened? You look . . . preoccupied." That was putting it lightly. I just didn't want to have her fuse more. She looked awful, but I know that people, especially women, don't like to be told that bluntly. It's best to dance around it. Stupid if you ask me. If you ask for the truth, you should get it. Not some fucking fairy tale.

"Commander . . . I . . . Squall, please. Just follow me. You have to come see this." She replied, sounding completely desperate. She basically threw formality out the window. That wasn't like Xu. She was always so efficient. Something must be seriously wrong.

"Fine." I said, and followed her out the door. No words were exchanged as she lead me to the elevator. Everything seemed fine as I walked out onto the main floor. No monsters, or armies invading and attacking the garden. No blood, no yells, no alarms. However, I think Xu would be calm in those disasters. She was the perfect soldier in that sense. However, she could never stay calm in anything personal . . .

We came to the Quad. She stopped at the head of the steps, and moved to let me pass. I looked around to see Selphie, Irvine, Rinoa, Zell, and Quistis also there. They all quieted when I arrived. Rinoa was standing behind a red faced and obviously pissed Zell, her herself looked pale. Irvine looked to be trying to calm Zell down as Selphie was standing beside Rinoa, looking immensely excited, but trying bring Rinoa out of her shock. Quistis was standing near another being I hadn't yet counted. She was calm, cool as always, and looked to be talking to someone, scolding almost.

That when I saw him.

Seifer Almasy. My rival. The one I've been trying to stop thinking about for over a year. There he stopped, healthy as ever. He looked pretty much the same. Dressed in a long black, smooth trench coat that made him look taller than his height of 6'2''. Soft black leather pants, and matching combat boots. A button orange dress shirt with the collar opened wide to reveal his silver collar. The same jade eyes, and scar between them that matched my own.

He looked just like my tiger in my dreams, Theron.

"Leonhart." My last name was all he said. It wasn't a breathless whisper of withheld passion, or a deep tone withholding any angered emotion. It was just a word leaving his lips like any other. Monotone, and giving no clue to his thoughts. I couldn't even sense anything from him. Nor smell. He felt nothing.

"Seifer." I said in return. I would always use his first name. He was, and always would be, Seifer to me. My voice was the same as his, but I knew my eyes were showing all the confusion, anger, grief, happiness, and frustration I was feeling. I wasn't sure what else to say, and neither was he. No one else dared to break the tense silence between us as we stared at each other.

With careful movements I approached him after the wind had ruffled my hair, making the eye contact to lose its intensity. He watched me, but didn't move, tense, or flinch. My movements were fluid, and also showed none of my intentions. I wasn't evenly fully sure of my intentions. What did I want to do?

However, my body knew what it wanted to do.

All I knew was that my right hand had curled into a tight fist, and was swinging up to his face in a right hook. I felt the pent up emotion that I was concealing, and keeping tucked away come out in a flourish as the fist moved upward. I wanted him to pay for all the weakness and vulnerability he created. Not to mention the pain.

However, it seemed Seifer expected this. We did know each other inside and out. He moved his jaw out of the way, let my fist swing by, and caught my flaying fist with his right hand. Catching my right wrist, holding on tightly as he pulled me to his chest. I could feel his warm breath on my face, and looked up into his jade eyes.

"You fucking bastard! You've been alive all this time, but you never came to see me! You went to Fujin and Raijin, but never me! Do I mean that little to you?! I thought . . . I thought . . . !" I couldn't finish my outburst. I just couldn't. The words were all locked up tight in my chest. My throat closed. I wasn't sure what else I wanted to say. What else I wanted to tell him. How else I felt. I just couldn't find it.

"You thought what Squall?" Seifer asked, his voice rumbling in his chest. I glared at him. What did I think? I don't know what I thought, but it doesn't matter anymore, does it? Because I'm not anyone. I'm just no one. I'm just like the rest of the world, which I never wanted to be apart of.

"I thought . . . I thought we had more than that. I thought meant more to you. I thought you were dead, and that hurt. Only to find out that you are alive, but want nothing to do with me. To abandon me." I whispered, my voice tight. I was ashamed to realize that a tear was running down my left cheek. I was showing weakness. Seifer must be completely disgusted by me about now.

With a wobbly deep breath to try and contain myself. To gather my wits, I tried in vain to yank my arm out of his hand. However, he wouldn't let go. He had always been stronger than me by a little because of his extra height and weight, but I also refused to have a tug-of-war contest. I just wanted to go. For him to release me. For me to go find a place to sit and think. I couldn't deal with this at the moment.

He stopped my left hand that was coming up to whip the damned tear away. I watched him as he let his own fingers trail my cheek, gathering the tear. There was bewilderment in his eyes as he did so. I watched him, intrigued by this, but also confused.

"I didn't abandon you, Squall." He murmured, a tenderness entering his eyes. I blinked at him. I had never heard such tenderness in his voice. Never for anyone. Especially me.

" . . . then why?" I asked, not voicing all I wanted to say. I was reaching my limit on words for the day. I wanted to ask so much more. Hit him. Yell at him. Curse him. And everything else in between.

Why is he doing this to me?

Though I didn't receive the answer I thought I would. Without any warning, a pair of warm, soft lips touched mine. I gasped, and pulled away in my shock, but a strong black gloved hand wrapped around the back of my head, and held me like an iron band. I barely registered the gasps around us.

I couldn't think. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move, other then my lips. The lips were soft, and coaxing. I couldn't help, but respond. It wasn't a kiss of lust, or anger. It was a kiss of trust, and understanding. One of reassurance. A kiss to prove that he was there, that he cared, and never meant me any harm. Our first kiss, and I found that I didn't want it to be our last.

" . . . why?" I murmured against his lips as he gently pulled away for air, not fully sure what I was asking. Why he left me? Why he kissed me? Why . . . what?

I considered all this while my eyes stayed closed. I refused to open them just yet. I panted, my lungs begging for breath. The kiss wasn't intense, but the emotions were. The kiss was soft, but the emotions that were rushing in and around me, were breathtaking. I needed air.

"You think too much, Leonhart. Impulse is sooo much funnier." He chuckled against my lips as I opened my eyes, drowsy from out kiss. It was our first, and I was confused to what I was feeling.

You see, Seifer and I never had a sexual relationship. I will admit now that I am bisexual. Always have been, and I'm pretty sure Seifer is too, or is at least gay. I've had a few one-night stands unlike popular belief to my virginity. I didn't see the need for long term relationships, but I saw the need to satisfy my body. No ties, and we were both satisfied, physically.

I admit that I've had my fair share of wet dreams with Seifer as my partner. I have, and still do, think of him as the most attractive man I've seen. I've always wanted to be with him. To sleep with him because he is the unattainable love. The one you can't have for various reasons, but will always want. That was what he was, but also my best friend.

Now that he kissed me, and this was reality, I was confused.

"Squall. Seifer. I think we should all go find a place to sit, and talk." I heard Quistis speak. I blinked as I pulled away enough to turn and look at our audience.

I had forgotten about them.

Quistis was smiling knowingly, and was calm as ever. Zell was even redder, but stiff as a statue. Rinoa had fallen at one point, and was sitting on the ground with her mouth gapping. Selphie had her hands clasped at her chest, and had a huge grin on her face. Irvine was rubbing a temple, and Xu was staring at me, but showing no other emotion.

"I suppose so." Seifer said, sounding very reasonable. He released my wrist as I turned to face Quistis. However, he didn't let me go far because when I made a move away from him, he tugged at my jacket to stay near. "Any suggestions, Commander?" He asked, his voice light and teasing, not ridiculing. He was much different then the Seifer I knew before.

" . . . my room? It's large, and private." I said, glancing a look at Seifer, who smirked. I was feeling uneasy, and nervous with Seifer here. He was making me vulnerable, and not at all like the Commander everyone knew. It was like I needed his permission.

"Sounds good to me. Instructor?" Seifer said, gesturing to Quistis with a black leather clad hand. His shoulder brushing mine, causing a rush of warmth to wash over me. Quistis smiled wryly at Seifer's title for her, and shook her head at him. He just smirked.

"Sounds fine." She answered, then turning to get the others in gear. I wasn't listening as I looked down at my feet. I didn't understand this. Why did Seifer kiss me? That was weakness. He always told me that it was a weakness. I've seen may lovers die for the one they love. Love makes a person weak, and vulnerable. Seifer hated that. He taught me that. I agreed after he showed and explained to me why. We didn't need love. We just needed each other. As rivals. No love.

Wait. Who said this was love?

"Commander?" Xu tapped my shoulder, to stop me as I passed her. We were all on our way to my room. Seifer had some explaining to do. I stopped, and turned to her on the top of the step to the Quad. She was silent for a few moments, before speaking. Making sure everyone was out of earshot. Quistis was talking to Seifer at the moment.

"Commander, I'm wondering what I should do. Do we want Mr. Almasy's presence to be made known? Should I tell Headmaster Cid? Or would you prefer to handle it?" Xu asked, giving me a lot of leeway. She was willing to cover me, and keep her mouth shut at my word. However, I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't even know why Seifer was here, let alone what he wanted.

"Nothing for now. I want to hear what Seifer has to say before doing anything." I answered, and she nodded, hesitantly. That was a safe answer. After Seifer had come and said what he wanted to say, I could find out what he wanted, and go from there. For all I know, he may want to disappear into the great big wide world.


Yes, I'm still bitter and frustrated. Just disorientation and confusion are running right along beside it. Seifer appearance, and actions changed a lot of things. It was unexpected, and turned everything upside down. I had pretty much counted on the fact he wouldn't return. Again, I had to move on and forget him. However, it seemed he had other plans. One that changed everyone else's. The world's . . . the garden's . . . the gang's . . .


Seifer's kiss changed nothing, but also changed everything. It didn't change the fact I'm still angry with him for abandoning me, and not telling me he was alive. Yet, it was changing all the lessons we learned together. All the ones about weakness. How certain actions, emotions, and reactions made a person weak, and vulnerable. It suddenly changed all the rules. If there were any to begin with.

"Coming, Leonhart?" Seifer called, his voice somewhat mocking. Much like the old Seifer. However, the image was destroyed with a small smile on his lips as his jade eyes laughed.

Oh, I'm coming. I don't think I have a choice on this little ride. Someone has thrown me on the wagon. No actually, I think I'm being dragged along behind. Not willingly, but not quite unwillingly either. Just cautious, and slightly angry. Actually, I think very angry.

I think what our destination is, and what disasters are we going to encounter along the way, should be the questions asked. Not, 'Am I coming?' because, frankly, I don't have a choice. Somehow I started this, or maybe Seifer did, but either way I have to finish it. Always have, and always well.

Why me?

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