Irvine found Squall in the training centre, surrounded by dead grats and shredded foliage. He was sitting on a rock, head down, gloved fingers clenched hard around the hilt of his gunblade as if to let go would be a surrender.
Irvine slid quietly into his place at Squall's side, lowering himself down to a log without a single word. He stretched his long legs out in front of him, and waited.
Irvine listened to the distant rustling of grats and the thumping footsteps of the pacing t-rex in the next zone for a long time before Squall cleared his throat.
"All right, man?" Irvine said, softly.
Squall's hands relaxed, reclenched, relaxed. He adjusted his grip, index finger curling around the gunblade's trigger, thumbed the safety off.
"Want to kill some stuff?" Irvine asked.
Squall nodded, and got to his feet.
Irvine watched him, saw the muscles bunching in Squall's back, the tight fix of his neck and shoulders. He waited.
"Can't go back," said Squall, after several long, dense moments. "Can't be the way I was before."
"I guess no-one can," said Irvine. "We should know. We've travelled through time and back, but you can't unwind yourself. Only way is onwards."
Squall sniffed, cleared his throat again and said, gruffly, "Onwards."
Irvine stood, drawing himself slowly to his full height, and put himself in position, to Squall's left and a step behind.
"The thing is," Squall said, "I don't really know how else to be."
"You'll find out," said Irvine. "Guess we all will."
Squall squared his shoulders and moved forwards into battle, and Irvine followed.
He glanced back over his shoulder as they left the area to see everything shift behind them; foliage reformed, grats shimmering back into life. Same area, same scene, same monsters.
Next time, Irvine thought, we'll be stronger.