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Connected by mysterious means. A stranger with a full heart and lovable goofiness, thought so by everyone but the fairy spirit who spoke with harsh words in his mind. No more than a passing resemblance, and yet...and yet there was a tie between the two, a tie that went beyond being mere opposites, beyond the string that tied them together across time.

quote_l I dreamt
  I was a moron... quote_r

Squall
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Squall finds himself in a dream. It's an uncomfortable sort of dream, lucid to the point of feeling real. He dreams of being trapped inside the head of a man with more faults than he has fingers for. Squall hears the man's thoughts, watches as he struggles to approach the woman he has a crush on—fails, because of the sudden cramping of his leg. Squall realises he's become a prisoner of the mind of a coward and a goof.

He and select others have been brought into the minds of three individuals: Laguna, Kiros and Ward, all Galbadian soldiers—the enemy—and yet swiftly becoming something more familiar to those whose minds they find themselves in.

Laguna calls the invaders faeries, and welcomes their presence, for in battle he and his comrades find their powers doubled, if not tripled. Neither Laguna, Kiros and Ward nor Squall and his two comrades know what exactly is going on, but those whose minds are occupied are glad of the abilities it brings, and those who occupy said minds are intrigued more than they are frightened.

Squall doesn't want to think about what it all means. But the connection drawn between he and Laguna becomes stronger at the Galbadian prison. Seifer and a prison guard have tortured him with electrical shocks, and he dangles unconscious, pinned to the wall. Hands on his face and feet awaken him: strange orange beasts, slaves working for the prison, are calling out not his name, but another's: "Laguna!" Squall knows they could only be referring to himself. Could they know Laguna, know why he travels into their heads at random, without his inclination or control?

More and more Squall and the others discover about Laguna and his comrades. Laguna, despite his cowardly face, is a hero through and through. He looks out for the lesser people, including a moomba with whom he shares work duty with in Esthar. Squall and the others look on as Laguna somehow saves a captured, child-aged Ellone and becomes the leader of a rebel faction planning on overthrowing the current Esthar ruler.

Soon after, Squall and Laguna come face-to-face in the present time.

Laguna is older and president of Esthar, but hasn't otherwise changed much. Squall begrudgingly respects him, perhaps secretly amazed at how a buffoon could come to find himself in such a position of power. There's no doubt that they two are leaders, though of different sorts.

across time

But despite how different they appear as leaders, their respective journeys into the role of a leader stemmed from the same unwilling and unexpected transformation. Two tales intertwined, two very different personalities engaged as leaders in the plot, with an apparent tie between them: a thread that connected them across time.

But their shared leader moniker was only the in-story term for a much larger concept they shared: heroism. Despite their differences in disposition and methods, Squall and Laguna each were heroes. Squall, even with his penchant for the shadows of lonerism, found himself a model character to those in Balamb Garden and beyond. Laguna was likewise not the sort one would typically define as heroic—leg cramps aside, his outward personality spoke more of goofiness than a solid crutch to rely upon; he was even less likely the type to look up to. Even so, his comrades took his easygoing and hilarious outer core in stride, seeing the true heart and strength within.

The importance of juxtaposing their characters across time and place extends the comparison of these two heroes with their very different personalities. Just as contrast can be defined between Squall and Laguna, and between different times and different places, similarities can be drawn which helps bring a sense of unity within these elements of discontinuity. The parallels across place and time support the collateral natures of father and son.

The personality contrasts between the two combined with their shared experience of coming into a position of leadership show how different a path can be drawn when even of the same foundations. Both succeeded in their transformation and gained both notoriety and respect from allies and enemies. Yet their stories, like their personalities, could not have been more different. The same outcome, but strikingly different paths lead by strikingly different characters.

Most ironically of all, the opposites were connected in a bodily way: through blood. Laguna knew, though Squall didn't guess. In this battle of nature versus nurture, it seems that nurture won out, given their polar personalities. But both held the hidden spark of heroism in his heart, unresolved for most of each of their lives for different reasons—Laguna because of his slight inferiority complex and Squall because of his fear of human contact—but when nurtured by the right experiences, the spark flared and consumed all barriers, including the barrier of will.

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epilogue
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