One (Last) Chance

BY : Kirishtu
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Seifer/Squall
Dragon prints: 2029
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy 8. I do not make any money from this story.

One - Squall POV

 

I knew something was terribly wrong when I opened my eyes and found myself staring at a ceiling that I shouldn’t have been staring at. Then the pounding started, the fierce pain deep inside my head and right between my eyes. I reached up and touched my forehead, almost afraid of what I was going to find. My fingers encountered bandages. I shot upright, then groaned as the pounding in my head grew worse.

“I see you’re awake. You shouldn’t be moving yet.”

I looked up at Dr. Kadowaki. She was studying me with that healer’s gaze, that look that was still so familiar even though it had been months since I had been laying here in this bed.

There was true concern in her eyes when she asked me, “Can you say your name for me?”

“...Squall Leonhart.”

“Good. Who’s your instructor? Quistis Trepe, correct? I’ll go call her and have her come get you. Just lay back and rest.”

Since my head agreed with Dr. Kadowaki, I settled myself back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. My eyes burned, but I wasn’t sure if it was from the pain or because I wanted to cry. I was back at the beginning of it all. And I knew everything that was going to happen from this day forward. Why? Why was I being tortured like this? Hadn’t I done enough? I had just wanted to die in peace, knowing that I had done all I could. That I had given everything to save the world from a psychotic sorceress. My reward for that was supposed to be rest. Not this.

I turned my head to catch her eyes. Sis seemed startled that I was looking right at her. She hadn’t acted like that when she first came here to see me, but then, I hadn’t exactly looked at her with any sort of recognition, either. I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. What could I tell her? That it was somehow her fault that Time Compression happened? That it was because of her the whole war started? Somehow, it didn’t seem fair. I let her talk to me, then when she was gone, I pushed myself up and swung my legs off the bed. I was standing by the time Quistis arrived, and she looked shocked by my sudden recovery.

“I knew it’d either be you or Seifer.” she said in that authoritative voice. I didn’t bother to reply. I simply walked out of the infirmary, leaving her to splutter and try to catch up to me.

I walked blindly, not feeling well enough to run. I saw the faces of people I knew would be dead in a matter of weeks and heard the voices of people who would be looking to me to save all of them.

“Is there something on your mind?”

“...Not really.” Yes, a thousand things were on my mind. Why had I been sent back here? What was I supposed to do?

“Not really.”

I knew what was coming next so I let her laugh. I just kept walking, forcing her to keep up with me.

“I feel like I’m beginning to understand my student a little. That’s all.” Quistis said with a slight smile on her face.

I stopped. I slowly pivoted to look at her and said, “Why would you say something stupid like that?”

Her mouth dropped open in surprise. I watched her for a minute, and she watched me, unsure if I was joking or being serious. I left it at that, heading to class. I knew today was the field exam, and I didn’t know how it was going to go now. I sat at my desk without looking at Seifer, already knowing he’d be pissed as all hell. Even more so when Quistis called him out for hurting me. I glanced at him and wondered if he would believe me if I told him what was going to happen to him. I was still confused as all hell, maybe even a little scared.

While Quistis talked, I accessed my computer and sought out Shiva and Quetzacoatl. Would they recognize me through time? Would they begin to erase my memories as soon as I junctioned with them? I decided to hold them in reserve for a little while, until I was sure. Since I was going to have to go with Quisitis to the Fire Cavern anyway, I figured I’d get the opportunity to talk to Ifrit. If he recognized me,  then so would the others.

This time I caught Selphie this time instead of running into her. I still refused to show her around the Garden. I had too much to worry about now to deal with something like that. As I stood out in the sunshine, I stared at the sky. I could easily remember how I felt today, months ago. I was edgy. I was excited. I was scared. My entire future would be determined by what I did or didn’t do today. And now I knew exactly what I was going to do, how it would affect the people around me, and most importantly, whose lives it would change. I didn’t like having this kind of responsibility the first time around, and now I was going to have to do it again? The only difference was, as far as I knew, this wasn’t Time Compression. I really had been sent back months into my past. The question was, why?

Always freakin’ why?

I took a deep breath and headed out of Garden to meet up with Quisitis. I didn’t take her up on her offers of trying to teach me how to use my gunblade (as if I’d forgotten that) and I was incredibly surprised to find that Lion Heart had traveled back in time with me. That would make fighting so much easier, and it was doubtful I’d even need to junction with the GF’s. I was also full on the higher level magic that Ultimecia hadn’t destroyed, so I felt no need to use any of the abilities junctioning with a GF would give me.

I completely ignored Quistis as we entered the Fire Cavern on a ten-minute time limit. I doubted I would need that much. Everything we encountered died with one hit from me, and maybe I was over-doing it a little. But I had a bit of pent-up frustration and wanted to take it out on something. When we reached the center of the Fire Cavern, I half-expected Ifrit not to show up. But he did, appearing just like before. I dimly heard Quistis ask me if I was ready, and I shrugged my shoulders. I focused on Ifrit.

There’s something I want to ask you. I said silently, banking on the fact that he was still my GF, even if I technically hadn’t defeated him yet.

Fight me, human, and I will answer you. Ifrit replied, his deep voice rolling through my mind. I felt his amusement; yes, he was still mine, but he wanted to test me again. I glanced at Quistis, but she was gripping her whip with her face in a determined mask. I readied Lion Heart and focused on Ifrit.

What’s happening to me? I asked with my first strike.

It should be obvious.

Well, it’s not!

I traded blows with him for a while, with Quistis acting as useless backup. Since Ifrit matched my current strength, we were even, and I realized he was giving me a chance to unleash all my frustration on him. I attacked harder and harder, short of triggering Renzokuken, beating on the Guardian Force as much as he beat on me.

Time Compression picked up on your wish. It sent you back to make your wish come true. Ifrit said at last, as he knelt panting on the floor before me. I can’t answer more than that. You’re the one who knows why.

I stared at the GF for a long while, feeling drained and tired. It was only after Quistis told me to go get changed and meet her at the main hall for my group assignments that I realized what was happening. After we beat Ultimecia, we were all separated in the Time Compression. I remember wandering the wastelands with nothing but my thoughts and regrets for company. I remember seeing him, broken and bleeding, and knowing that it was all my fault. If maybe I had just reached out to him, if I had just asked him... stopped him. Made him see. If maybe I had just told him...

It wasn’t about stopping the Third Sorceress War.

It wasn’t about defeating Ultimecia.

My motives for being here were purely selfish.

I wanted to save Seifer.



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