[FF8] Dreams

There’s a talking duck with a vile temper and a magical staff. Next to him is a talking dog with a goofy laugh and a big shield. Together, they bracket a brunet kid with spiky hair, wielding a weapon that’s shaped like a key. Hardly an effective weapon, in Squall’s opinion, but for some reason it seems to work.

As many times as he’s had this dream, the erratic, craziness of it continues to surprise Squall.

There’s talk of all sorts of things. Heartless and Keyholes and destroyed worlds. Squall is there, too, only he calls himself Leon. Stupid thing that. Leon Leonhart? Squall knows he has better sense than that. Also, what the hell is up with his wardrobe?

No one else is there though. Squall – Leon – is alone. He’s surrounded by strangers. No Seifer. No Rinoa. No Quistis or Irvine or Selphie or Zell. It’s just Squall, a bunch of strangers, and the spiky-haired kid with his key-shaped weapon.

Sometimes, he hears details. Leon’s own world was destroyed by the Heartless. He’s here, as a refuge, in this place called Traverse Town, a scattered star in the broad loneliness of space. Everyone looks up to him. He has a close friend named Cloud, apparently, and Cid’s here, too. Only he’s not the Cid who Squall knows. He’s a different Cid. A surlier, coarser, more violent Cid.

Images blur. Events blaze by. Sometimes, in his dreams, Squall can hardly grasp them. Other times, memories are clear as if they belong to him and not to Leon. There’s a great evil, when is there not, and only the spiky-haired kid can save them. Kids saving the world. Huh. It all sounds familiar.

Squall supposes that in the grand scheme of things, perhaps this is the way his psyche is processing the battle against Ultimecia and all the pain and suffering associated with it. Perhaps instead of reliving his own trials, his mind has transferred them into an alternate dimension, where the world doesn’t rest on his – Squall’s – shoulders, but someone else’s. Maybe that’s what he’s longed for all along.

He wakes from these dreams, neck cramped and crooked from his odd position at his desk, papers crumpled beneath his cheeks. There’s an inkprint of his half-completed signature on his face and he idly wipes it away. Outside his window, the sky is blue with only a few clouds.

His own world is at peace thanks to he and his friends. Sometimes, Squall wonders which is really the dream. This reality or those half-formed images during his sleeping hours. And he thinks, to himself, that he’s glad for this reality, if only because he’d been responsible for protecting one world, rather than an entire universe. Small favors, he supposes, and bends over his desk once again. Paperwork awaits.


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