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


Part 7

By Drakon Sword

(Squall's POV)


During the Time Compression, I saw our past. As children we played along the shoreline at the orphanage. Normal, average children other then having to grow up quickly, and had seen many things that a child shouldn't. Dealing with things a child shouldn't have to, but was forced to because of the atmosphere of war that they lived in.

I saw how we played, and laughed like any normal child would, but shadows loomed over us. Demons that threatened to consume us. At first we ignored them as the curled around us, waiting for the right time to take our little minds over. They did eventually, but now we fight them.

I remembered many things. Some memories were fond, and I liked to have them back. However, there were others that I would have preferred to leave in the darkness of my mind. Let them collect cobwebs, and be forgotten to the end of time.

Then again, I may not be who I am now without them.

I remembered how our village was attacked. I lived with my mother, and big Sis. I was happy, and quite content with my surroundings. I was the youngest child in the town, and was quite favoured.

I could remember to this day of the neighbours and friends forever stopping by with various treats for me. Affection and love surrounded me, though a war burned not far. I was oblivious to that, and I think many people found it refreshing. I was untouched by the evil of the world, and they wanted to keep it that way.

Strangers came in and out of town, with my child's innocense they became cousins in my world. In my small world and mind, everyone was related to someone, and thus related to me. I think they were happy to see a child with such trust and care. How innocent I was to what the real world was like, and more then happy to play their role in my make believe world.

I remember fairytales they would tell me. Tales of evil that was defeated by the good of a young man. They often name the young knight, Squall, after me. Saying that I was to be a hero someday.

I wonder how they knew, and know now that I was that little boy that sat by the fire with them. I wonder if they know that the little innocent boy, is now not so innocent to the world, and just saved it from a sorceress, the evil, just like their tales did.

I wonder if they are proud.

Time passed, and the war continued to brew, till it finally came to our town. Many didn't survive, and one was my mother. She was able to get my Sis and I out and away, but risked her life for us. She abandoned me, and I couldn't forgive her in my small mind. My mother had left me, and I was hurt.

After that ordeal, I attached myself to the only thing I had left, my big Sis.

We were shipped off to Edea's orphanage, where we were taken care of. I meant my new friends there, and my life started to gain a bit more equilibrium again. It wasn't the same, but I was happy. I had a new best friend. Seifer Almasy.

Seifer Almasy was passionate, and strong-willed even then as a child. He was the leader of the group, and made me equal to him because I was the only one that challenged him, yet I think I intrigued him with tales, beliefs, and overall innocence. I liked him because he was so strong, and I wanted to be like him. We were the troublesome two that both Edea and Ellone had fun keeping in line. I think some of the other children were jealous of our closeness, but never questioned because Seifer would tease and ridicule them. Especially Zell.

Some things don't change.

Then my big Sis left. I was abandoned again in my small years, and I was hurt. I cried for hours and wished my heart out for her return, not knowing that her disappearance was important for her survival, if not the world's. I was selfish and wanted my Sis back, not caring who it hurt as long as I was happy and had my way.

Because of her absence, I pulled myself away and into myself. My small mind figuring it out that if I let no one in, no one could leave, this meaning no one could hurt me again. I didn't want to try it a third time. This hurt Seifer, and everyone else. Losing their friendship in away, and they were confused.

However, that was when Squall Leonhart, 'Leonhartless', was born.

I saw this during the Time Compression, and I hear the others tell tales of memories they saw also. Times we tired to make a present for Edea on her birthday, the firework scenario, or other foolish things. We were pretty happy children. That was until Ellone left, and then we started to get adopted. We were all parted, except for Seifer and I. He and I were never parted, till the sorceress took him.

I didn't understand when he spoke of past life. What did he mean? That was impossible! How could he have seen a past life? Was it even possible to have a past life? Was there such a thing of reincarnation? God? Was there a heaven and an hell? What did happen after you died?

That when Seifer told me his past name.

Theron. The tiger in my dream, and his past name.

What the hell was going on?

I think Seifer saw my shock. Actually, I know he saw my shock. My mouth was hanging open as I stared at Seifer, flabbergasted. Seifer watched for a few moments as I gathered my wits and thoughts. I blinked as I tried to put everything in place.

Sometimes things just don't fit into their little labelled boxes.

Theron. Did I have ESP and somehow it was interpreted into my dreams? Or maybe did I see this too during the Time Compression, and I forgot? Then since it is in my subconscious, I dream it to remember. That makes sense. That's logical.


"Did you see it too, Squall?" Seifer asks after a few moments. I look at him, frowning in my confusion. His head is cocked to one side, and there is a small smile on his lips. His jade eyes watching me, and warm. I licked my lips, tasting salt from the moisture that has fallen there.

"I have dreams. Dreams that I change into a lion, and I kill, thrusting for blood like a savage. Then this Tiger was introduced into my dreams a few weeks ago. He spoke to me in my mind, and his name was Theron. I then told him my name was - " I explained to Seifer. He was the first I would tell, and probably the only. It was insane, but I trusted that Seifer would help me understand, and wouldn't tease me . . .


"Leander. Your name is Leander." Seifer interrupting me, and saying my name. I ran a hand through my tousled locks, and nodded. "They aren't dreams, Squall. You are a lion, and you are there. So am I. I am the Tiger." Seifer said, looking at me with complete seriousness. I just looked at him.

Was he mad?

"That impossible Seifer! I don't get up in the middle of the night, change into a lion, leave the garden, met you as a tiger, hunt, kill, and then just walk back into my room! That's insane! It's impossible!" I protested, standing up, letting his hand go. I start to pace.

I'm fretting because it isn't as impossible as I like to think.

How about when I wake up into the morning and taste blood. Feel the sensation of blood on my body. Remember everything with such clarity. Like I was there. That I did live it.

What about my heightened senses? I could smell everything. Anything from the soap you used in the shower that morning, to the scent of your blood. I could hear everything in a room. I could sense people emotions even if they showed no fault. I had all these abilities, and they came after the dreams. When the dreams started these abilities arrived.

Not to mention, I'm not the hungry anymore which has Quistis tied in knots because of concern and worry. I feel more satisfied when I wake up in the morning. Not just hunger, but something mental that I can't fully explain. The hunt and kill in my dreams is more satisfying then any victory. Nothing could compare.

:It's not as impossible as you think, Squall.: Seifer's deep baritone voice sounded in my head. Exactly like Theron's.

That's because he is Thereon.

Oh dear god . . .

I spun to look at him. He hasn't moved, and was watching me pace. I know that my heart is beating unusually fast. I can't hear the ocean anymore because all I can hear is the blood pounding in my ears. I'm panicking. I know I am. I think I have a right because it's not everyday you find out that you're really a lion.

"Relax, Squall. You're going to hyperventilate." Seifer murmured into my hair. I somehow ended up in his lap, and he is holding me close. One arm is wrapped around me while my head is tucked under his chin. His other hand is combing through my hair, successfully calming me.

" . . . how? . . .when? . . . why?" I asked, my voice barely over a whisper as I curled myself into his embrace. Here I felt safe. Here in Seifer's arms, everything was right. He could make things right. He would make things right.

I think I'm utterly devoted to him.

I'm not afraid to admit that because it isn't a weakness anymore.

He doesn't make me feel weak. He makes me feel strong.

"Shh. Just relax, Squall." Seifer cooed at me, I couldn't help, but give a smile and curl closer to his warmth. He was more then happy to oblige. "I have a story to tell. Do you want to hear?" Seifer asked, as his finger continued to massage my scalp. I made a purring noise deep in my throat, and I heard, rather felt, him chuckle.

"Please." I replied, and Seifer nodded.

"A long time ago, before anything we know that exists today was created, there were two main tribes. They were others, but these two tribes were the strongest and largest. These two tribes were the only beings, outside of monsters and various other animals, owned the land. Though a lot of the time, they were the animals.

"You see, they were human, but could change form and become an animal. Often called shape-shifters. Each shape-shifter came to become on one tribe. A certain race, or animal that a person could change into, gave them a place on a one tribe. Like if you could change into a bear, you were welcomed to one tribe, while if you could change to a wolf you were immediately considered to belong to the other tribe.

"One tribe was called the Vedis. Leander's tribe. They were known for technology, equality, and vast entertainment. They preferred to party, then to fight. They were known for tales around the fire, dancing, music, and other activities for the people to enjoy.

"The other tribe, Theron's tribe, the Ignatius were the complete opposite. The found entertainment a waste of time, and fruitless. They were trained to be warriors, and the strongest were in control. The Ignatius were known for strength, and power. They considered all fun, and happiness weaknesses. There was no love in their world, only arranged marriages to produced the strongest babies to train to be warriors. If a child was weak, or was somehow miss-shaped they would put the baby in the woods to be killed by a monster, or maybe taken in by a Vedis. They were very cruel, while the Vedis were kind and surrounded by love.

"Now because of this difference, the two tribes never got along. Ignatius ridiculed the Vedis for having no discipline and wasting their time on entertainment, while the Vedis pitied the Ignatius for only training as warriors and thinking nothing of fighting. They grated on each other's nerves for years, till finally it broke out into a war.

"The war was long, and ugly. Neither won the war, but both won various battles. Finally after 10 years of constant fighting they finally came to an understanding, and stopped their worthless battling. However, even though they came to an agreement of cease fire, they were still many harsh feelings against each other for their various losses. So, they hardly had anything to do with each other as they told tales of the stupidity of the Vedis, and the ruthlessness of the Ignatius.

"Time passed, and the ruler of Vedis, Lepidus and his wife, Nathania, finally had a son. They had been trying for years, upon years to have a child, till finally you, Leander was born. They named him Leander because his form was a lion, and his name meant 'the lion man'. The lion form had not been seen for many, many, many years. The last lion that had been born was two decades ago, and was the leader of the first battle against Ignatius.

"Leander was raised in a world of love, affection, and happiness because of his parents' devotion to him. They could not bare to lose him, and babied him. Leander loved the attention, but he also grew restless and tired of his parents' watchfulness. He found that he never had time to himself, and often make time for himself. He would often go out into the woods, to which he was forbidden to go, and just sit.

"One day while he was sitting on a rock near the sea, a boy his age appeared. Leander was instantly curious, and meant the intruder no harm. He knew of Ignatius from the tales, but had never seen one. Leander had been trained to fight, and was very agile and strong. He won against every opponent, he had no equal up to this point, which did make him fairly cocky, and over confident of himself.

"Now Theron had reacted differently. Theron was from the tribe Ignatius, and was also the prince, like Leander. His form took after his great-great grandfather, which was a tiger. He had been raised as any Ignatius boy, especially as a prince, and was a strong warrior. He had yet to also met his match, and was aloud to wander the forests looking for a worthy ally.

"Theron recognized the colouring of Leander's skirt as a Vedis, and attacked without warning. Leander was surprised, but fought back. The two took to their forms, and fought tooth and nail. Finding that they were evenly matched.

"The fight continued on for hours, neither willing to give up. Till finally they both fell, completely drained. After a rest, Leander asked him who he was. After a few terse moments, Theron told him. In turn, Leander spoke of himself. In a matter of a few moments, they were conversing, talking about the fight, and various faults they saw in the other.

"Now instead of taking the faults explained personally, they took it as criticism to make them stronger. For they also pointed out various strengths. It seemed that the two princes, and warriors had found a mutual ground and started something of a friendship.

"They swam in the lake to clean themselves before leaving, but not before promising to see each other again. Agreeing to meet in a few days to fight again.

"Leander's parents were furious when Leander returned because he never let for long before. It was the first time he was caught off grounds. Leander spoke nothing of Theron, and explained his wounds were from a monster in the forest. After some yelling, he was cuddled, and put to bed with dinner.

"Theron was praised when he returned. Theron had also lied to his father, for failure was unforgivable in his tribe. He said that he fought an outsider, a shape-shifter not belonging to a tribe, and that he won. He father, Dareb, was pleased, and their was a large feast for him, but his wounds were not tended to till his mother, Jesusa, healed him. Wounds were not to be touched, or healed till one was alone because it was considered a weakness.

"As time passed, Theron and Leander became very close and didn't always train together. Sometimes they would sit by the water, and just talk. Or hunt like we do. Hunt monsters, and feed because we are only doing what nature demands us to do. You see, the blood and hunt satisfied the predator within. It's like a power trip, but also us taking our place in the food chain. However, the human side also had roles to fill.

"Theron was not used to the affection, laughter, and joy Leander gave him. He was trained that such things were weaknesses, but found he was slowly changing his ways around Leander. He would return to his indifferent shell for his father because his father would kill him for such emotion, and others may try to kill him for weaknesses they believed to see.

"Leander was also confused to the indifferent way Theron treated things. Leander saw strength, and wished he could have the same. In battle, they were cold and ruthless to one another, but as they sat together, talking they were kind and affectionate to each other. Together, the two princes found common ground, and began to fall in love.

"Now, homosexuality between these people was common. In those days, it was not considered wrong, and was accepted. Most times, the couple would take a third member into their relationship if they pleased, to have children. If in places of power, and they needed an heir, if was often known that the son or daughter would marry the one that they were arranged to marry at birth. Then when an heir was born, they would find lovers, stay together their child, but love other people.

"Theron's fiancee went blind in her 15th year, and was sent to the forest. No one had seen again, and his parents had yet to pick a new wife for him. They were also hoping he would find, and choose a wife before they must, but Theron didn't want to. He wanted Leander, and it wasn't one- sided.

"Leander did have a wife-to-be. Her name was Rani. She was a very beautiful woman, and her animal form was a raven. Leander liked her, but didn't love her. He found that he didn't like to be around her all the time because she was rather clingy, and too optimistic for his liking, but stayed with her because his parents wished it so. It also kept them off his back, and he was able to get away more often for the believed he was out with her. However, he was actually out meeting his love, Theron.

"Rani, knew that Leander was up to something, but had yet to follow him. She respected him, but was afraid he was seeing someone else, or putting himself in danger. Weighting the possibilities, her jealously finally won out, and she followed him.

"Now Rani flew, but had to be careful, for Leander's senses were very strong. She knew that she would be caught if she was to make too much nosie, which caused her to be way behind, and didn't come to see Leander till he was fighting Theron.

"In this fight, things got a little out of hand, and both ended up with slice between their eyes, like our own scars. Rani was about to jump down, and fight to protect her love, but Theron had already crawled to embrace Leander in apology. Rani watched as Theron tenderly took Leander into his arm, and kissed him, sharing their blood. Leander apologised as well, and returned to kiss. They shared the blood, their bodies, their pleasure, and their souls before returning to their places in the tribe.

"Now Rani was jealous, and angry. Her love was in love with some else. A Ignatius, in fact! So as she flew back, she devised a plan. Theron had told Leander he wouldn't be able to met the next day for he was going out hunting with his father. Rani decided to tell this to her father, Kilos, Lepidus' trusted advisor and general.

"She told her father that she saw Leander get attacked by a Ignatius, and ran home to tell them. She also told them that the Ignatius had said something about going out with his father the next day. Unfortunately for Leander, he was too weak from blood loss when he arrived to explain different, and the cut between his eyes was enough proof that he had been attacked.

"Lepidus sent out some of his soldiers to kill the king of Ignatius the next day, to Rani's delight. Leander was still out, and healing, so did not know of the attack. Dareb, and Theron were out hunting when 12 Vedis soldiers attacked them. Dareb risked his life for Theron, who had explained his scar was from a monster that he had attacked, and Dareb died. Theron was able to get away, but collapsed as soon as he arrived in Ignatius territory.

"While Theron healed, he heard many tales of his father's death. No one understood how the Vedis knew of Dareb and Theron's hunt because it was obvious that they had been attacked. Vedis didn't have 12 soldiers just go out and wander. This is when all Theron's lessons of love and affection as weaknesses returned to him, for Theron figured Leander had sent the guards. All the love Leander proclaimed was fake, and he had only wanted to kill him and his father. While healing, Theron decided that he would kill the one he loved the most in the world, yet the one he hated.

"In the meantime, Leander had awoken and heard of what had happened. Leander was livid, and without considering his consequences, told his parents' of the love he felt for the Ignatius prince. His parents' were shocked, and Leander bolted, wanting to see his love.

"Theron was there waiting in their spot, at the rock, when Leander arrived. Leander knew instantly that he had a lot of explaining to do. However, Theron wanted to hear nothing. Theron was too full of hatred. Part of it directed at Leander, and the rest at himself for falling for the emotion love. They fought to the death. Theron won because Leander didn't want to fight, and he didn't want to lose his love.

"Theron was so lost after the fight. He felt that he had his revenge for his father, but a part of him had died with Leander. He left, and returned home to his life, or what he had left of it. The Vedis found Leander's body hours later.

"The Vedis were in sorrow of their lose of their prince, and Rani, who rightly blamed herself, ran away. She thought that after Theron's death, she would comfort Leander, and win Leander's heart. She did truly love him, but her possessiveness created jealously, which caused Leander's death and her falling. Leander's parents' died not long after their son's death, thus leaving the kingdom without a proper heir, but Leander's cousin, Aura, became the queen.

"Many years later, Theron was much older and was king, Rani came to him. Theron had married a woman of great strength named, Vega. She had given him two valiant sons, and a strong daughter. He had come to love Vega, but only as much as he would allow himself. Not to mention, he still loved Leander with all his heart. Leander still owned Theron's heart even in his death. No one could replaced Leander, and Vega he had come to care for because he often relied on her strength to give him the will to continue.

"Rani recognised him while he was out hunting one day, and approached him. She told him who she was, what she had done, and that Leander's love was forever with him. Theron was shocked, but killed her in anger, and went back home. He wanted to believe her, but then if that was true, he had killed his love for no reason.

"For months he agonised over this, refusing to believe, but hating himself for everything he had done. He was trying to decided whether love was weak or not. Whether it was good, or bad. Finally, one night he went to bed and never awoke. His grief, anger, and sorrow finally killed him, but I tend to believe he died to join his love in the world beyond." Seifer finally finished, kissing the top of my head. I was stunned into silence as the story was imprinted on my memory.

"I remember that now. I saw it as well." I murmured after a few moments of silence. I did see that, but I had forgotten. With all the events that happened after the Time Compression, the love I shared with Rinoa (or at least we thought), Laguna being my father, Seifer's supposed death, and talking to people about the new order over the world, I really thought about what happened. Maybe the GF's caused it to be erased from my mind again.

"Once I saw that, I had to see you again, and nothing was going to stop me." Seifer said, with determination that must have reflected the amount he had then. I smiled at that, and kissed his neck.

"Then why didn't you come and see me then?" I asked, rephrasing that question for the umteenth time. I knew that Seifer was going to bop me one for asking again, but it mattered to me. Maybe since he saw this past life of ours he has other things to tell me.

"You aren't going to give that up, are you?" Seifer sighed wryly, and I shook my head.

"Not till I get the whole truth." I answered, and muttered something under his breath. Something like 'determined bastard', before he spoke to me.

"I was afraid of how you would react to me because of the events that happened, but also because I had to learn to control and use this new ability that I received. I needed to learn to control my shape-shifting, and I needed to get away from the public to do it. For also with this new ability, we get these craving much like a tiger, or lion." Seifer answered, gently pushing me to sit on the rock beside him, before getting up.

"Are you saying that since I didn't remember, my body and subconscious took control because of the cravings for the hunt, and blood?" I asked as he removed his trench coat. I watched him with rapture.

"I think so." Seifer answered, unbuttoning his shirt as he kicked off his shoes. He then moved over to me, and started to pull my shirt off. "Take your clothes off. I'm going to show you how to transform, and how you came out here without ever getting caught." Seifer explained, and I lifted my arms to aid him in stripping me.

"You saw me?" I asked, my voice temporarily muffed by my shirt, before my head popped out. He smiled, and ruffled my hair. I swat his hands away as I tried to tame my hair again, giving him an ice cold glare. Though I didn't mean it.

"Ya. It was after I realized that you didn't know. I decided to see what you did, and I saw you sneak out. Original, actually." Seifer said, unbuttoning his pants. With that he removed his boxers, and pants. I couldn't help, but blush as I turned away.

I don't usually blush, but Seifer always made me. It's funny considering what I have done and seen, that Seifer naked body makes me blush like a teenage school girl. I've seen it before, but . . . this was different. Seifer was just as good looking as ever. His frame was solid, firm, and full of muscles. He always was the strength of the two of us. However, for having a large and tall frame, he was quite fast. Not as fast as me, but I wasn't as strong as he either.

Seifer had peaches and cream skin, and I could catch his scent, which caused even more arousing thoughts to pop in my head. Seifer seemed to notice as his jade eyes laughed at me, his short blond locks swaying in the wind.

I think I love him.

No. I know I love him.

"Are you coming?" Seifer asked, as he pressed his body to my back and worked at the fly of my pants. My belts were already on the ground with my shoes. I glared at him for the sexual innuendo. He just chuckled, and pushed my pants off my hips. I moved away, and removed the rest of my clothing without help. I really didn't need to be sporting an erection at the moment.

"Ready?" Seifer asked, once I stood up, not at all ashamed of my nakedness. Our clothes were tossed near the rock for our later retrieval. I nodded in response to his question, but not fully sure what I was ready for. Or if I would ever be fully ready.

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