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01 May 2007 @ 03:59 pm
Glitch - Leon and Irvine  
Title: Glitch
Authors: gardensgnome & lntora
Characters: Squall 'Leon' Leonheart & Irvine Kinneas
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts 2 & Final Fantasy 8
Theme Set: HW2
Theme(s): #21 - in the beginning
Warnings and Notes: no warnings for this one

"We have a glitch in the system, he says. You need to go down and work with Tron to figure out what exactly the problem is and how it can be fixed, he says. Oh and when you're done with that, I wanna install the upgrades for the lasers. Geez, Cid, it's my day off."

Walking through Ansem's study, Leon looked around to see if anything was out of place. After the MCP had been deleted and Tron had taken over the computer systems for Radiant Garden, Leon had spent much time in the study cleaning and setting things back the way they used to be. He liked to come here when he needed time alone. Living Cid, Yuffie and Aerith didn't exactly allow for much in the way of personal space.

Perhaps I should move out. There really isn't much room living with the others, especially when Tifa drops by for a visit.

"Okay, Tron, what seems to be the problem?" Leon asked as he entered the computer room.

Frowning when he saw no reply on the screen, Leon checked to make sure it was turned on. Yes, on and fully powered...what is going on?

"Well, sooner I get this fixed and help Cid, the sooner I get to enjoy what is left of my day off."

With that, Leon set to typing, working towards figuring out what was causing the strange power fluctuations. It was nothing like when the heartless were in control of the system and bent on destroying Hollow Bastion. This was more magical in nature, the codes and scripts Leon read as they sped across the screen more familiar to him the more he saw. A name appeared in the mass of text, Leon's heart skipping several beats when he saw it. Scrolling back up, Leon carefully typed the name into the command line.


The name blinked a few times and then suddenly disappeared.

Moments later everything went black.

Irvine groaned. The floor felt entirely too cold, and his ears were still ringing from what he could only guess had been an explosion.

'Damn crazy fucking Odine. Soon as I can see straight, I'll shoot him, Esthar relations be damned.'

He struggled to get back to his feet, but only succeeded in getting to his knees. 'Matron.' Irvine was sure he'd pushed her out the way, but he still needed to see if she was okay. Shaking his head, the cowboy finally lifted his eyes to look around the lab. Only nothing was matching what should have been the lab.

'I don't think we're in Esthar anymore, toto.'

Sighing, Irvine managed to get to shaky feet, taking his hat off to dust at his clothes while still looking around. "Odine? Matron? Fuck." This last part was grumbled as he remembered just what Odine was working on, and what that could mean for Irvine himself.

Finding himself faced with a decidedly bad situation, Irvine did what any proper SeeD would do, blame the one who assigned him the mission.

"Squall, this is so all your fault."

The power was only off for a second or so, the computer whirring as if rebooting as the overhead lights flickered to life.

What the hell happened and is everyone okay?

Waiting for the system to go through its internal diagnostic, Leon checked the power breakers in one of the wall panels to make sure none had switched off during the surge. Two would require replacing but they weren't for areas that urgently needed power so Leon left them for the moment and returned to the computer. Bringing up the security system installed by Cid, Leon flicked through all the various cameras located around Radiant Garden. Starting from the room he was in, Leon didn't get any further than the next screen.

There's someone in the Heartless Manufactory...I...I know that duster!

Damage check forgotten, Leon raced to the elevator, the car not moving fast enough to make him happy and he was pressing the open door button before the lift had glided to a halt.

Please...please let him be okay, Leon pleaded silently as he ran from the elevator and down the stairs to the manufactory floor.

Skidding to a halt a few feet away from the familiar form as he heard an equally familiar voice, Leon belatedly pulled his gunblade from its sheath, just in case.

"Irvine?" he asked carefully, not quite believing what he was seeing.

Hearing his name in that all too familiar voice, Irvine whirled, hell bent and fired up to give Squall a good piece of his mind, even if the logical part of his brain was telling him that Squall shouldn't even be there. Actually, nothing was making much sense at that point. Irvine himself didn't look like he was were he should be. Squall being there meant he wasn't where he should be, and Matron wasn't there, so Irvine couldn't be sure if she was or wasn't where she should be. All he knew was that he was somewhere, Squall was there too, so that made the brunette an easy target to vent his frustrations on.

Only the words died in Irvine's throat as he took in Squall's appearance. The man didn't look bad. On the contrary, Squall looked twice as fuckable than the last time Irvine saw him, for the cowboy had no other word to use. More mature, older, more rowr. And that was the problem, given Irvine had seen Squall just that morning. He had still looked like a sexy but touch-me-not teen around 5am.

One did not go from brooding teen to sexy adult in under twenty-four hours. At least not in the real world. In a few of Irvine's dreams, sure, but that was different.

The cowboy swallowed, getting a real good look at Squall. If he wasn't certain it was in fact Squall, the gunblade in the brunette's hand effectively erased any and all doubt.

"... Squall?"

He couldn't say any more as the roaring in his ears drowned all other sounds out. Irvine's knees fell out from under him as the world gave a sickening spin before fading from view...

The eyes were the shade of lavender he remembered, color easily viewed seeing as Irvine was looking at him in something akin to shock. The voice was the same too.

Smile hovering on his lips, Leon took a small step forward, the step becoming a leap as he jumped to catch Irvine's falling body. His knees hit the floor hard as he half caught Irvine, auburn hair falling across his arm and pooling on the metal decking of the manufactory. His gunblade clattered behind him, forgotten.

Not as heavy as you used to be, Irvine, Leon thought as he brushed the hair away from the sniper's slack jaw, fingers pausing before turning the face towards him. Just how young are you?

Surprised that Irvine hadn't aged at all, Leon sat for a moment longer, just staring at a face he truly never expected to see again. Feet protesting blood loss shook him from his thoughts, Leon frowning as he flexed his toes and shifted Irvine's weight in his arms.

"Why are you here? Why now?" he asked softly. "Irvine, wake up." Leon patted his cheek with his hand, worried at the lack of response.

I have to get you to Aerith. She'll know what to do.

Carefully scooping Irvine up in his arms, Leon leaned down and grabbed his gunblade. He headed quickly for the elevator, wondering exactly how he was going to manage to carry Irvine and fend off any heartless that might appear.

I'll worry about that when I get to it. If I get Tron to enable more of the sentry programs, that should keep the Heartless busy.

The computer room was full of processors humming as they worked, proof to Leon that Tron was once again in control of everything. He'd ask for a full report later. Shouting instructions to Tron as he hurried through the computer room, Leon kept going, holding Irvine close as the first Heartless appeared when he exited Ansem's study.

Irvine dreamed. As with the nature of most dreams, he didn't know he was dreaming. It was more like remembering, or better still, reliving.

He stood at the ocean shore, the rest of the kids playing with each other. Selphie had invited him, but today he didn't go. He didn't want tp be a tagalong. Not this time.

So instead he watched as the water lapped at the sands. He might have gone for a swim, but Matron had cautioned for him not to since he was just getting over a cold. Had he been either Selphie or Seifer, he probably would have tried anyway, each for a different reason. Quistis and Zell wouldn't, again for different reasons. Squall may not have unless Seifer goaded him the right way.

Irvine didn't have a preference. He did whatever the other person he was with did. Seldom making up his own mind, Irvine always followed the crowd.

Which was why he was alone right now. Irvine didn't want to follow the group all the time. Sometimes he wanted to do things just because he felt like it, and not because it was something one of the others were doing.

"Gil for your thoughts."

Irvine looked up, seeing Matron standing next to him. He turned back to the ocean, not answering just yet. Fortunately, Matron was patient. She'd seen Irvine's pensive moods before; he would answer as soon as he figured out how to say it. She didn't have long to wait before the young child looked back up, a question growing in those deep coloured eyes.

"Matron, do you think anybody will ever listen to me?"

The question stumped Matron a moment; she was about to ask what did he mean until she noticed Irvine's eyes had strayed to where some of the other orphans were playing.

"I see," she said before kneeling down to Irvine's height. "Well, everyone has a special voice. But it's something each person has to find. Some find it sooner than others, but everyone will find their own voice in time. I'm sure soon as you find yours, they'll listen." She ended the last statement with a wave of her hand, indicating the other children, but Irvine just snorted.

"They'll never listen, even if I find my special voice. Heck, they pro'ly don't even like me, let alone will listen to me.

"Now I'm sure that's not true," Matron offered. "Selphie--"

"Likes everyone," Irvine cut in.

Matron couldn't argue that one. "Seifer--"

"Is a jerk."


"Too scared of everything."


"Too bossy."


"Squall doesn't like anybody!" Irvine said, throwing his hands up in exasperation.

"That's not true, Irvine. Squall's just going through a bad time right now." She pulled the child close, wrapping her arms around his thin frame. "Promise me, Irvine, that you'll give them a chance when you're all older. Especially Squall. It might not seem like it to you right now, but he will really need a friend in time, and I think you would be a good friend for him to have."

Irvine wasn't so sure, but it was hard not to believe anything Matron said when she was holding him. It always made him feel safe in her, and made it easier to really believe her.

"I'll try, Matron. I promise I'll really really try."

"That's all I want," she said, still holding Irvine close. "Just remember to initiate additional sentry units."

"Huh?" That last part didn't make any sense, but being held by Matron felt so nice that Irvine really didn't care, not even when the world began to fade around him.



His eyes cracked open just a sliver. The world was trying to orient itself, but was failing miserably as far as Irvine was concerned. He didn't recognise where he was, what that weird black shape a few feet away was, or who was holding him. But the person, whoever they were, felt really nice. Irvine closed his eyes again, deciding to enjoy that feeling for a little while longer.


What I wouldn't give for a guardian force right about now, Leon thought as more heartless appeared. Glancing down at Irvine in his arms, Leon looked for any sign of alertness from the sniper. I could've sworn I heard him say something.

Thoughts of guardians and giving Irvine a shake to wake him fled with the first telltale screech of the sentry program powering up. Heartless scattered away from the destructive beams of light, some not fast enough and dissolving into a puff of black smoke as they perished.

Distracted and fleeing for their lives, the Heartless didn't see Leon hold Irvine closer and begin to run for the hearest staircase that lead into the maze. Rounding a corner, Leon almost tripped on what appeared to be a skateboard, not stopping to examine it as Heartless kept appearing around him.

All he could do was run.

Why so many? Leon wondered as he dodged an outstretched claw and jumped onto part of the crumbled Bailey, making it that little bit harder for the Heartless to follow him. I thought most of them were destroyed when Hollow Bastion returned to being Radiant Garden. Could Irvine have been blocking some that were still trapped in the system? That's if he was the cause of the recent glitches. We are going to have a long talk, Irvine. A really long talk.

A short time later but what felt like an eternity to Leon, he and his unconscious burden stood outside Cid's door, Leon panting from all the running and dodging he'd done. He sweated in unpleasant places but it would have to wait until he'd seen to Irvine's comfort. And told the others what had happened.

How am I going to explain you to everyone? he thought as he kicked the door, unable to open it on his own.

Hearing Cid's grumble that he was coming and a not so kind remark about what he'd do if there was damage to his door. As the door opened, Leon smiled sheepishly at Cid's dark expression that turned curious as blue eyes landed on Irvine.

Oh yes, I'm definitely going to have to start at the beginning again and this time leave nothing out.