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AUTHOR'S NOTES: Aiya!! Sorry, Yati! ::grins a bit sheepishly:: No, no, no, I didn't mean you. There's this one person that e-mailed me and well...I forgot his/her name and er...I was trying to find that person and ah...er...well...mistake!! I didn't really mean to point you out ^_^. Very, very, sorry. Please forgive me if you will!!

Anyway, this will be your typical chapter from me, not the little one page thingie that I wrote in the last chapter. Hope you like it!! Oh, and sorry for the long delay. Damn FFX....I need to finish it!!

 

Chapter Two ~ Returning to the Past

"Damn, where the hell is he?" a honey blonde woman with piercing green eyes asked.

A young teenager around the age of fourteen was sitting on top of a table and was playing Triple Triad with a pale yellow, stuffed-animal like creature. Not a single bit of her showed that she had a figure, but maybe it was because of her oversized and baggy clothing that she had on.

"Maybe he's still sleeping, Lily," the teen said.

"We're going to meet with Atamos in half an hour and he's still sleeping?" Lily asked incredulously.

A young man next to her had to stifle a laugh, but Lily's sharp ears heard it.

"What in Hyne's name were you two doing last night, Kirean?"

Kirean was a young man about seventeen with midnight black hair that was tied back in a short ponytail and chocolate brown eyes. A gunblade was strapped on his side.

"We didn't do anything wrong!" Kirean tried to explain. "All me and Alex did was go out for a drink and ---"

"And beat the crap out of everybody who was fighting like some Hyne forbidden bouncers at a club," a young boy around ten finished.

"Hey, Sion, you weren't supposed to tell!" Kirean exclaimed.

The young teen playing Triple Triad began to giggle hysterically. Kirean turned to her with a puppy dog look on his face. "Sakura, you too?"

"Hey, is it MY fault that I warned you and Alex to not get drunk, brother?" Sakura asked.

With the exception of Lily, the small group burst out in laughter. Kirean sullenly sat back down in his seat, defeated. "Damn, the whole world is against me..."

Lily was shaking her head. "Hyne, WHY did Atamos have to put me and Kenji in charge of you five?"

The young woman by the door looked at Lily in concern. "Do you want me to get him, Lily?"

"Yeah, sure, Yukie," Lily replied. "Just make sure you two don't goof around and get us even later as is."

Knowing what she had meant, Yukie blushed a faint pink before leaving the room. Kenji chuckled inwardly to himself, standing in a dark corner as he watched Yukie leave. She was the newest member of their little "family", a young but very wealthy heir to a nobel Esthari family. She was also to be guarded by Alex especially due to her origin as a summoner. Sorceresses and summoners were rare to find nowadays, and Atamos made sure that Yukie was well-guarded, specifically from her own family who were out to kill her.

Soon after the Civil War in Esthar, the use of GFs and magic were banned from the country altogether due to the incredible destruction that it had on slowly recuperating city. Those who have used magic or were sorceresses were either exiled from the continent to areas like Dollet Kingdom and Timber or exterminated by the so-called "anti-magic" police. Even the words were forbidden to be mentioned or else death would be the price.

Things have changed so much after these past five years...he thought.

"Hey, Kenji!" Sion shouted.

Kenji's emerald eyes looked down at the boy, eyebrow arched curiously. After Phoenix's "death" five years ago, he had distanced himself away from society. He only spoke when he had to and to those that he was close to. Sion was no exception (he joined the Organization only a year earlier), but somehow the boy would get words out of Kenji.

"Do you have any idea why Atamos is calling us?" Sion asked as he looked around the room. "I mean, I guess it's for a joint mission, but nothing big has been going on nowadays."

"He probably wants us to do something that is not in this time," Kenji replied.

This statement stunned everybody to silence and they all looked at him strangely.

"What do you mean by that, Kenji?" Kirean asked.

He didn't reply, but Lily's eyes narrowed. Although she was long dead, Lily knew that Phoenix and Kenji still had a connection between each other. She also knew that Phoenix was linked with all time zones in Griever's realm. What's going on?

 

Yukie knocked on the door, blowing back a wisp of light blue hair from her eyes. Although she was Esthari, she didn't really look much like one if it wasn't for her odd shade of eyes which were aqua with a tint of amber inside. The amber appeared on her sixteenth birthday a year ago, the day when she was confirmed to be a summoner.

"Hey, Alex, are you awake? We've got to meet Atamos soon, you know," she said to the metal door.

When there was no answer, Yukie knocked on the door again except a bit more loudly. "Alex?"

Again, there was no answer. Yukie knew that there wasn't that much time left.

"Okay, just make sure you're changed because I'm coming in!"

She punched in the unlock code to his room and the metallic door slid open. There was total darkness in the room as she entered, so she flipped the light on. In the small room, movement stirred. Alex had put a pillow over his head and shifted to face the wall, a mop of black peeking underneath. Yukie sighed, resisting to smile at the sight of him.

"You're still asleep?" she asked.

"...Damn Kirean took me out for a drink last night and we turned out to be the bouncers," she heard him say in a muffled voice. "Didn't come back until four this morning."

"We're meeting Atamos in fifteen minutes, you know," Yukie said casually as she made her way to his bed.

Alex turned around, and Yukie could see an amber eye glowing underneath the pillow. The way how Alex's eyes shifted in the dark used to scare her, but now she was pretty much used to it.

"Gimme five more minutes," Alex said.

"Well," Yukie began as she literally sat on top of him. "I'm not going to leave until you get up."

Alex looked at her straight in the eye for a minute, contemplating what to do. He was exhausted, weary, and a bit nauseous from the slight hangover that he had. Looking into her eyes for a moment, though, Alex could tell that she was being serious. He smiled as a very clever idea crossed his mind.

"You're not going to get off of me, are you?" he asked, slowly taking the pillow away.

Yukie leaned forward until their faces were barely touching. Her light blue hair brushed across his face and shoulders in gentle curls.

"Do I look like I'm going to get off?" she asked, smiling a bit deviously.

"Hmm...I guess not..." he slowly replied, "...unless..."

In one quick movement, Alex flipped himself over so that he ended up on top of Yukie. She yelped in surprise at first, but then started laughing for no apparent reason.

"Hey, that's not fair," she said as her laughter began to subside.

"Well, not everything in life is fair, right?" Alex asked, grinning. His eyes had changed back to his original color of sapphire.

"No..." Yukie replied, a bit flustered as Alex was getting closer to her. She tried to act serious at him, but it was very hard to. "Are you going to get ready?"

"After this..." Alex answered as he kissed her.

It was not until a couple of minutes later when Yukie could gasp in for air.

"I'll be ready in five minutes," Alex said, kissing her on the forehead before getting up and leaving the room.

"Mmhm.." she murmured dreamily, watching him go. Her cheeks were a light pink and a small smile crept to her face. The tingling sensation of their kiss still remained.

Agh, Yukie, it's not like he's never done this before! she thought, pulling the covers over herself as her smile got even bigger.

In the next room, Alex chuckled to himself as he pulled a red shirt over his tank that he had worn when he went to bed. He was so exhausted the night, or rather early morning, that he hadn't bothered to change his clothes, except for taking off his shirt because it was so hot in the damn club and the equally warm weather outside wasn't helping him. To save some time, he just wore on what he had on the night before: a red shirt and black pants. A mental twinge snapped into his head; Yukie was telling him to hurry up.

"Okay, okay, I'm ready," he said, rushing out of the room and grabbing his trenchcoat along the way.

Yukie jumped out of his bed, following and smiling at him. "I thought so."

"Couldn't you be any nicer?" he asked sarcastically.

"Nope," she answered and picked up a customized Exeter that was lying on his coffee table. "You're not going to bring your gun?"

"Huh? Oh...uh...yeah."

He wrapped his arm around her waist, taking his gun in the process, and they walked out together.

 

"Took you long enough," Lily muttered as the couple strode into the room.

Alex grinned back at his superior after giving a deathglare to Kirean. "Sorry, sorry. Want me to drive?"

 

"Booya! Five minutes to spare!" Alex proclaimed as he jumped out of the SUV (AN: For those who don't know: Sports Utility Vehicle) with the others who were straining to stand up straight.

"That's the last time he's driving," Kirean muttered, trying to focus his eyes on the tire marks that Alex had made as he swerved into the driveway of the most elegant building in all of Esthar.

"I still feel like I'm spinning," Sakura murmured as she and her guardian Kereberos toppled out of the car.

That was when Sion lost it and ran into the bushes nearby to hurl out his breakfast. Yukie went over to comfort the young boy like an older sister.

"C'mon, let's go," Kenji said as he walked towards the building's entrance.

"How can you walk like nothing happened?" Lily muttered, clutching her head to ease the slight migraine that she was starting to get.

"Try having him fly the Ragnarok," he replied, continuing on his walk without even stopping.

"Hey, I wasn't THAT bad," Alex protested.

 

Atamos peered out the window, chuckling to himself at the look of the motley crew he had assembled. It wouldnt' be long until their existences would cease if they didn't work together and protect time itself.

"We shall see how well you all can solidify your relationships," he murmured to the empty space of his office, his violet eyes glowing in the semi-darkness.

He punched in a number on his phone. The person who answered didn't respond on the speakerphone.

"Sister, be ready when they arrive," he said.

"Yessir!" a young girl's voice replied happily before hanging up.

 

"It's so creepy in here..." Sion murmured as he and the others walked through the dark corridors of the Organization's headquarters.

"This is your first time in here, isn't it?" Kirean asked. He continued when Sion nodded. "Well, better get used to it. Although it looks fairly modern on the outside, the HQ is a mansion that was built around three hundred years ago. It had to have some minor adjustments, but it's still in pretty good shape."

"So the glass windows are just only on the outside?" Sion inquired.

"It's not just that, but even the side exits to this building are different than marked," Alex answered. "That way, if enemies ever pass through the security system, they'll never find this place's true exit."

"Oh.."

They finally reached Atamos' office after passing a couple of odd looking items and other members of the Organization. Lily was about to insert her card key when a voice from the identifier interrupted.

"The door's open," Atamos' voice said.

With a bit of hesitation, the group entered in his office, which, like the mansion, was also dark with a bit of dim light shining through a lamp nearby. Atamos was a tall shadow near the window before he turned around. Alex always thought it odd that their commander still looked the same as he did when he first met him over fifteen years ago at Angel's Orphanage. Nothing about the man changed, not even his youthful face that looked around twenty-eight.

Because of the darkness in the room, Alex's eyes had gradually shifted from his normal color. Kenji's eyes, too, had a soft glow since he did connect with the other realm from time to time. That was what the other realm did to people who travelled through it.

"What's our itinerary this time?" Kenji asked.

"There's been a slight timewave disturbance in the area around Deling," Atamos replied as he walked over toa small device that lay on his desk. He tossed it over to Alex. "I'm sure you know where that came from."

Alex examined the device carefully. "This is Grandpa's signiature engraved on his machine gun, why?"

"That piece came from Deling City, along with the rest of the gun, smashed into pieces like that," Atamos explained.

"But the gun's in..." Alex trailed off, realizing what the older man had meant.

"Exactly. Time's fluctuating again."

"Time's fluctuating?" Kirean repeated. "You mean it's starting to recompress like it did five years ago?"

"That's impossible!" Sakura exclaimed. "The only two people who're able to do that are Auntie Ellone and Ultimecia. Auntie wouldn't do something like that, and Ultimecia's dead..." Her eyes widened, "...isn't she?"

"Yes, Ultimecia is dead, Sakura," Atamos assured. "That I know of. Something else is causing the recompression of time there. And it's not just Deling. There are reports that even the most remote places like the Research Center are experiencing timewave fluctuations. I want you all to find out what's causing this."

"But how?" Lily demanded. "How can we go back into the past when there is no maching like that psycho Odine's anymore?"

"I'm sure Yukie would know," Atamos replied, glancing at the young woman.

Yukie looked down at her hands as she felt everyone's eyes boring into her.

"Do we...have to go there?" she asked softly.

"Yes, but not just yet. If it's necessary, then you will have to go to your home, but I have an alternative," Atamos replied. "I want you all to go to Deling first. You will meet my sister there and she'll transport you back in time. Your most important objective is to regroup the entire group who fought during the Second Sorceress War: your relatives and their friends."

Lily couldn't help but say, "Oh, Hyne."

Unfazed, Atamos continued. "I'll inform you more once you have everyone in your sights. Dismissed."

"Everyone? What does he mean by 'everyone'?" Sion asked as soon as he and the others were walking out of the building.

"Geez, you weren't informed very well in the news, were you?" Kirean muttered.

"What was that?!?" It took most of Yukie's strength to hold back the boy's wrath.

"What Atamos is talking about is all of the SeeD who helped us defeat Ultimecia in the Third Sorceress War five years ago," Sakura answered Sion's question. "They're basically our uncles and aunts, moms and dads when they were still around our age."

"So...we have to find them? That should be easy. Aren't they still at Garden?"

"No...not all," Alex replied quietly. "Since five years have passed here, five years have also passed in the past."

Everybody remained silent, knowing what Alex had meant. By reading the destroyed Gardens' files that were stashed away in hidden rooms under the ruins, the gang got a pretty good idea about the history behind the creation of Garden and SeeD as well as their dismantlement. Nothing in the future had changed so far, so nothing had changed in the past. Only four people from Balamb Garden should have left during the five year time period.

"Before we go to Deling, let's stop by at Timber first," Alex said, breaking the silence.

"Why?" Lily asked.

Alex didn't face her as they got in the car, but she noticed a very haunting and distant look in his eye.

"...I want to visit the family grave before it disappears," he replied.

 

Things seemed to go fairly normally during the train ride to Timber. Kiren and Sion were bickering. Lily tried to mediate their argument but soon gave up and played a game of Triple Triad with Sakura. Kenji, of course, remained in a corner by himself, reading the newly revived Timber Maniacs. Alex stared out the window, watching the scenery flash by. Yukie sat next to him and did the same, but her thoughts were elsewhere. Instinct told her that there was something wrong, but she desparately tried to ignore it. After Atamos had told them that there was the possibility that something else was recompressing time, a shadow fell over her heart. Something was going to happen, and she didn't like the gut feeling one bit.

Why do I have this feeling that something is going to happen to Alex? she wondered to herself before inwardly sighing and resting her head on Alex's shoulder.

As if he had read her mind, Alex held her hand, their fingers intertwining in the grasp, for reassurance.

(AN: This scene will be a copy of the Epilogue in Angels...sort of)

Alex slowly walked over to the grave where the majority of his family lay in peace. His fingers lightly grazed over the words etched in the marble stone, memories from his past returning in mere glimpses as he did so.

"It's been a while," he murmured, placing the bouquet he bought on top of the tombstone. "But I've been pretty busy with missions and all, you know that."

The wind started to pick up as it always had done whenever he came to visit. He paid no mind to it and glanced down towards the ring that was solely binded to the realm where his family lay. It had been a while since Alex lost the ability to contact Griever's realm. It had started when he took up Atamos' offer of becoming an assassin during the Civil War, and he became known as Shion Treist.

"There's something odd going on in Galbadia where Grandpa Laguna used to live," he addressed to the grave. "I'm going to check it out."

"Alex!" Yukie called out. She stood a distance away, towards the home where his family once lived in. "It's time to go!"

"I'll be right there!" Alex replied, smiling back at his blue-haired angel.

Yukie smiled at him, nodding, and turned to leave. He looked back at the newly decorated grave.

"I'll be back next year, hopefully," he murmured softly to himself before turning to leave.

 

"Mistress, I suggest that you get some rest," a middle-aged man addressed to the chair in front of him. "You have been practicing all night."

The chair swiveled around, revealing a young girl around the age of seven. Her flaming red hair spilled across her slim shoulders, and her eyes were decorated with the color of smoke. The girl shook her head at the man.

"I am fine, Gannon," she replied. "My brother Atamos has sent me the team and they'll arrive any minute from now." The doorbell ran and the girl smiled sweetly at Gannon. "They are here. Please finalize the preparations, Gannon. I'll get the door."

Before Gannon could say anything, the girl ran off from his sight. He shook his head at her eagerness and bowed where she once was.

"As you wish, Lady Allundia."

 

After a few seconds, the door swung wide in front of Alex without giving him the chance to knock. Seeing that there was nobody in front of him, he glanced down to find a girl staring up at him. He heard Lily stifle a gasp.

"Mister Treist, isn't it?" the girl asked, her smoky eyes gleaming in delight.

Alex nodded, utterly dumbfounded. The girl looked past him to stare at the others with the typical spunkiness of a little girl.

"Mister Treist's friends: Miss Almasy (Lily), Mister and Miss Wolfe (Sakura and Kirean), Mister Mushihiro (Kenji), Mister Belfor (Sion), and Miss Jeram (Yukie), yes?"

Like Alex, the others too absentmindedly nodded. The girl grinned enthusiastically as she put her hands behind her back.

"My name's Allundia; your commander is my brother," she introduced. She gestured to the man who suddenly appeared behind her. "And this is my guardian, Gannon. Please, come in! We've been expecting you."

How in Hyne's name can a girl younger than me talk like that? Sion wondered to himself.

As the group entered in the 'small' mansion (according to Deling's high society it was considered small), Lily looked at Allundia in confusion.

"Allundia? But I thought---" she began to say.

"I was given a second chance," Allundia replied happily. "At least that's what he told me anyway.

"Holy shi---" Lily was about to say, but thought the better of it.

"Mistress, the preparations have been completed," Gannon said.

"Great! Then we'll get started right away!" Allundia chirped. She was practically skipping down the hall.

"Wait a second, what are YOU supposed to do to get us to our objective?" Kirean asked out of curiousity.

"Oh, I'm transporting all of you to the past," Allundia replied rather casually.

"WHAT?!?" came the cry.

 

Lily eyed the straps around her body suspiciously. She and the others were in a circle and strapped to metal boards with an Onynx bangle in each while Allundia sat in the middle of their circle with a strange looking device on her head.

"How does this thing work?" she asked the girl as they, or rather she and the others, started to spin.

"To go in time, you have to travel in circles," Allundia replied. "The bangles you're wearing funnel my energy through you."

"Is this safe?" Yukie asked.

"Well, I'm ninety-nine point nine percent sure that you're going to be transported safely back in time, but I'm not sure about getting back here. You'd have to find a time portal or something like that to come back here."

"Just great..." Alex muttered.

"I'm getting dizzy..." Sion said.

"Then close your eyes because it's going to spin even faster!" Allundia advised.

"WHAT?!?"

Everyone was feeling the motion sickness as the device spun faster, including Alex. The bangles on them glowed simultaneously with the device on Allundia's head.

"Okay, here we go!" Allundia announced.

"W-waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

But it was too late.


AUTHOR'S NOTES: So, what you think, ya? Kinda dull chapter, but I'll be getting to the action soon enough! Please R&R!!

COMING SOON....Chapter Three ~ A New Threat

"Okay, um, here's the key," Rinoa replied, handing over the key to the blonde woman. "If you need any help with anything, just find me or my husband and we'll try to help you."

"Thank you very much," the blonde replied. She linked her arm with the man next to her. "I'm already falling in love with this place, aren't you, honey?"

The man laughed heartfully, his emerald eyes sparkling. "Yes, it's a lovely place."

"I'll see you girls tomorrow at the bar, right?" Rinoa asked the two girls behind the couple.

The blue-haired one nodded cheerfully. "Of course, Mrs. Leonhart. We won't forget, aren't we Sakura?"

The girl next to her nodded. Rinoa smiled. "Alright, I hope you all like it here in Winhill. And thank you very much for helping Squall out at the weapon shop, Kirean."

Kirean scratched the back of his head. "Aw, it's no problem, Mrs. Leonhart."

The hunched old man next to him whacked him in the knee. As Rinoa left, the "family" quickly went inside and shut the door. Yukie whispered in the old man's ear.

"Okay, Alex, you can breath, now."