Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII or any of its characters or locations. Any reference to songs, brands, inventions, names, etc … does not have any credit owed to me. I own nothing except the odd character that I will invent.

Important Note This is a piece where I shall push my writing skills to the limit. Some parts will seem crude, the language will be rough, etc … basically everything will be done to bring the realism to the characters used in this story. Please do not read this if you are easily offended, and take in mind the rating. Please do not send me flames on any aspect of this story since everything will be done in the sake of literature. You have been forewarned.

Give Me Liberty

The dank walls of the cell seem to shrink around him. It was cold, terribly cold. The cement walls were wet with leaks in the pipes and a dripping sound was driving him crazy. Squall Leonhart was irritated at the lack of personal space and privacy. His blue eyes stormed in utter anger as he thought of why and how he had ended up in this Hellhole. I'm sorry baby. I'm a girl with big ambitions … and you, you're just small time. He would take those words to his grave. They hurt more than the bullet wound that followed.

"So man, why you in here?" His cellmate asked from the other side of the room on his own bed. Squall could see a red glow coming from the joint that was lit. Suddenly, it hit him that guards don't dish out marijuana … where had the ugly, Hispanic male with black teeth acquired it?

Squall knew all about his cellmate. The man never seemed to shut up. Rodrigo was his name. He used to work smalltime in some sort of gang down in the south end of Deling. Rodrigo was hired as a driver-boy. Pick up the packages, deliver the packages. Sometimes he picked up hookers to bring to those who needed the quality time. His thinning, greasy hair, his dirty, rotting teeth … all the product of stress and poverty, he claimed. Squall hypothesized that it was more due to the lack of hygiene and pure laziness.

Leonhart stared at the ceiling, lying on his back and decided to ignore the questions of the nosey bastard. He had never been much of a talker and discussing the treason that was set against him made his insides writher in hot, blazing fury.

'That's what happens when you trust someone. When you trust women.' He thought bitterly and couldn't help feeling a pang of pain at the pit of his stomach. He had loved her, or had he? Was it just an illusion that he had created himself? He was foreign to the concept of love … he couldn't tell whether or not he had cared for the two-timing bitch. The goddamn whore. His fists clenched unwillingly.

So like him, to be seduced by a charming girl. Older than him by a few months, strikingly beautiful with her dancing cocoa eyes that always seemed to enchant him and the promises that escaped her red lips. The promises of vengeance, money and power. And the tantalizing sex that left him begging for more. It had been too good to be true.

She had been good at seducing and had gotten him tied up in the game quickly. What had he to lose? A nineteen-year-old, fresh out of school, that worked in cheap Chinese restaurants that used rat meat in their supposed 'General Tao chicken'. He was nothing but a delivery guy. Her pledge of easy money made him smile, her enticing offers of revenge on society got his attention and the assurance of power made him trust her. The sex brought him down to his knees.

She had coaxed him into her cult, into her bed. She had manipulated him with ease. What the Hell had been wrong with him? He acted like a bumbling idiot. Trying not to think about her obviously made her ever more present in his weary mind. He rubbed his unshaven cheeks as he remembered his first night in the Midnight Music Club in the Underground Universe.

A co-worker had told him about the nightclub. "It's so freakin' amazing, there's girls everywhere! You have no trouble getting them in the back of your car." The Asian delivery boy told him ecstatically in his broken English, "And they so good too! You should go, cheap entrance and everything."

He had nodded indifferently. Maybe he would go for a bit and have a drink. What had he to lose? He had just gotten off his evening shift at the restaurant, might as well make a Friday night worthwhile. After changing into his denim jeans and a dark sweater, he slung his coat over one shoulder and headed towards his car. A blue 1995 Honda Civic that he had bought at a used car store. The heating didn't work, the radio picked up signals from Timber stations and if you hit the dashboard long enough, the passenger door would eventually open. For 3 grand it had been his and he had still felt ripped off.

He had driven to the heart of Deling in the commercial district. Specifically, part of a turf called 'Underground Universe'. The place didn't belong to anyone in general. It was just the reunion of the big time and the small time criminals. It was from time to time a battlefield for gang wars. The whole district was a front for some of the most illegal activities in Deling, a city that never slept. It amazed Squall how the police hadn't discovered the true use of 'Underground Universe', a trading post for narcotics, prostitution, stolen merchandise and everything else that was stamped as 'illicit'.

Squall parked at the corner of Benshire St. and Mahogany Avenue. Making sure to lock his car and set the alarm he started walking towards the club. The large neon sign that read 'Midnight Music' was difficult to miss. He pushed his way through the mob that was crowding around to see a fist fight between a Wakasenshi and a Diabolos. The sidewalk was already stained with blood and it wouldn't be long until the fuzz hauled their dirty asses on the spot.

He entered the club leaving the gangs to their switchblades and guns. "Admission fee is 30 bucks, kid. And we'll need some ID, those cops have been getting nosey about who we're letting in." The burly bouncer stated firmly. Squall reluctantly reached for his back pocket and pulled out thirty dollars. He flipped around for his driver's license, flashed it and he was let in.

He examined the two-floored club with an expert's eye. It was dark, only lights that flashed from the ceiling provided sight. The bar was in the far corner of the place; the rest was a devoted dance floor with tables that loitered around. A DJ occupied himself with punk music that blared from the speakers. There were so many people. Some were drinking, some were dancing but everyone was doing something and the co-worker had been right. The women were attractive.

Thinking that downstairs was too crowded from him, he stepped up the stairs to the second floor where poker machines were set up on one wall. There were four pool tables. He noticed that people on this floor were better dressed. The women wore short skirts and dresses that fit tighter around the curves. He walked over to the bar on that floor and ordered a drink and sipped at it slowly, paying attention to the conversations that were going around.

"Listen boys, I have nothing against those who suck at this game but it's getting boring. Make it easier on your egos and hand me my money." It was the first voice that caught his ear and it was coming from a nearby pool table.

"Don't get cocky, sweetheart. You're only getting the money when you sink in that 8-ball." Another voice answered. "If you don't get it in, eight-thousand dollars will be all mine. Until then, keep your ass tight."

"Forget it, Kinneas. It's a lost cause." The jeering voice was the first.

Squall turned around on his stool slightly. They were right behind him. Four guys around a table and one, solitary chick. Not your everyday scenario. Squall shrugged and turned back around. "Hey, this section's VIP." A hand tapped him on the shoulder. It was one of the four guys.

"Then what the hell are you doing here?" Squall shot back, looking indifferently at the poised man before him. A blond, clean-cut hairstyle, he had emerald eyes visible through the dim lighting of the club. He was wearing ironed pants and a white t-shirt. A typical dealer sitting on a pile of narcotic related money.

"Oh …" The girl cooed slightly, "A question deemed of your answering, Cain."

"Who the fuck do you think you are?" Cain snapped at Squall, "No one freaking messes with an Almasy."

Kinneas turned around. He was a good-looking man, mid-twenties, with a long ponytail hanging from his cowboy-hat head, "Well hey, the guy messed with you to your face. People usually mess with the Almasy clan behind its back. Don't punish the guy because he has more balls."

"Fucking insult my family, I'll shoot you with your own gun, asshole!" Cain hissed vehemently at the cowboy.

Squall emptied his glass and got up from his stool. Cain turned to him and smirked in satisfaction, "Yeah, you leave and don't fucking show your face around here again."

"Hey, buddy, I'm just going downstairs. Apparently, this floor's labeled 'Shitkickers Only'." Squall answered curtly and ignored the obscenities that were yelled after him. He descended down the stairs into the crowded mass of people and made his way to the bar once more and ordered another drink.

Floral scent of perfume that was tastefully applied got a hold of his senses. A delicate figure slid onto the stool next to him. It was the girl from upstairs. He got a better look at her. She was wearing a short, tight black dress. Her raven hair fell onto her bare shoulders. Her chocolate brown eyes made her seem even more appealing and her red lips were inviting, "Got something against shitkickers?"

"Yes. They're contagious." He answered, speaking about them like they were some kind of deadly disease.

"That's very brave of you to say that." She smiled and he nearly caught himself smiling back. Her beautiful features seem to make him stupid and he couldn't reply to her comment. He only shrugged.

She began to speak again, "So, do you go by a name?"

"Last time I checked, yeah." He replied, passing his glass from palm to palm nervously. He decided against further introductions with her. That 'Cain' character would most likely come stampeding down the stairs and beat him to a bloody pulp for flirting with his girl.

"Well that's good. Do you remember what it is?" She asked teasingly and he couldn't help the pleased feeling he had that she was paying attention to him.

"I'm sure your boyfriend wouldn't appreciate your knowing of my name." He stumbled out with it and she gave him an odd look.

"Boyfriend? You mean Almasy?" She laughed a laugh that was so musically wonderful. It made him quiver in pleasure, "We aren't together. So what's your name?"

"Squall." He answered immediately and almost prepared himself mentally to give her his phone number as well, "Squall Leonhart."

"I'm Rinoa Heartilly." She introduced herself, "I was wondering if you'd like to make some money?"

"Who isn't willing to make money?" He answered her question with a question of his own, "How much?"

Her head tilted to the side and she smiled, "I like guys who get straight to the point. I was thinking five-hundred grand and some extras."

He nearly spat out his drink all over the counter. At first he blamed the music for being too loud but then he moved his accusations to the alcohol that was beginning to make him delusional, "Sorry … could you say that again? I could have sworn I heard you say .5 of a million."

"I did." She answered, and bit her lower lip and waited his answer.

His eyebrows were raised in a state of confusion, "That's a lot of money." Was the only thing he uttered back to her.

"It's a hefty amount but you'll gain it." She replied casually and then went into a brief explanation, "It's not the most legal things. But … I can promise you power and money at the end of the line." She smiled and bit her lip again.

"Oh gee, I'm really going to have to think about that one." He declared, a twinge of sarcasm coming through, "I'm an honest man, gaining his two-hundred bucks a week …"

"There's no such thing as an honest man, Squall Leonhart. And there are no exceptions to that rule." She countered and then with a malicious smile she added, "So do you want to go for a ride, or not?"

"What kind of ride?" He asked jokingly.

"A car ride." She chuckled. He couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed.

"I guess that's better than nothing." He got up from his seat and followed her back to the exit of the club. The cold air outside seemed to sober him a bit as he continued to trail behind her, "So … what exactly are these little jobs?"

"I never said 'little'." She warned him and strode into a private parking lot. All the cars seemed to be priced over forty thousand dollars and Squall couldn't help feel a little uncomfortable, "And it's a jack of all trades. Robbery, exploitation, murder, drugs … you name it."

"Doesn't sound legal at all." He declared the statement as if it was a sudden realization of his.

"Don't say I didn't warn you." She stopped at a silver Porsche 911 Gt2. His jaw dropped open, "Door's open." She informed and got into the driver's side.

"Is this your car or are we already committing a robbery?" He asked nervously as he got in.

"Do you trust me?" She asked suddenly.

"Well … mildly." He answered and couldn't help his obvious discomfort of her at the wheel. He had never really trusted women and driving.

"We'll have to fix that." She smirked and started the engine.

"Fix that … by means that I'm still alive at the end, right?" He asked her.

"Now why would I want to take away the life of a handsome employee like you?"

"I never agreed to the terms." He answered sharply.

"Squall, I'd suggest shutting up and buckling your seatbelt. By the way, this is a brand new car so if you feel the need to lose your lunch, tell me ahead of time."

"I'm not scared." He affirmed defensively, "I'm uncomfortable at the fact that you're driving." He reached for the seatbelt.

"Get used to it. I tend to be a dominatrix."

"Uh … the definition of 'dominatrix' that I learnt in college was a woman who dominates in a sadomasochist sexual relationship." He spoke in a worried tone that clearly said, 'What have I gotten myself into?'

"You stick to your definition and I'll stick to mine, college-boy." She sighed in annoyance.

"What's your definition?" He asked and she glared at him, "I mean … no sadomasochist sexual practices?"


"Oh … ok, just making sure." He sounded slightly relieved.

"I have strange urges to punch you in the head." She replied casually as though it was perfectly normal.

"Ok, I'll shut up. I just needed to be reassured."

"Good." She shifted in gear and sped out of the parking lot. She ran by a red light and pushed harder on the accelerator, shifting gears as the speed reached new heights, "I can never remember where that goddamn speed bump is. I know it's somewhere around here …" A tiny smile forming at her lips.

"Listen, I don't know if you like your car but I do. Very much so, even. Please don't kill it." Squall stated, "Slow down and watch for the speed bump please."

"Scared yet?"

"Not scared, worried." Squall corrected, "About both the car and your mental health." The comment made her laugh.

"Trust me, I'm sane. There is no speed bump. Oops, I'm supposed to turn here." She swung the steering wheel to the left and the car screeched. She shifted back a few gears until the car gained more speed.

"Where exactly are we going?" Squall tried not to look back at all the cars she had cut off. He had distinctly heard a crash back there and he was determined not to know how many death counts there were on account of Rinoa's bad driving.

"The docks." She informed him, "Well, maybe not, I don't know. Where do you want to go?"

"I don't really care. You're the boss, isn't that right?"

"You learn quick." She remarked and complimented him, "I have a feeling we'll get along just great."

They sped down the nearly empty street, swerving around the occasional car that was in their way. The rest of the trajectory was done in silence, with only the working engine of the car to fill up the quietness. It was barely fifteen minutes where they reached the docks. Rinoa allowed herself in through the gates as though she was private personnel and dove to the pier. She got out of the car, Squall followed suit, "What's there to do here?"

"It's a nice place to talk, that's all." Rinoa smiled slightly at the vast sea before them. She hoisted herself up on a container and sat there, "Anyways … you wanted briefings or something?"

"Yeah … what'll this achieve big picture-wise?"

"Our personal satisfaction. Come on, I'm sure you aren't that content with your shifts at your small time job. Society's a bitch, there's two ways of getting what you need to survive. The lucky way and the desperate way. When it comes down to the facts, neither of them are honest ways … but everyone does what they can." She finished and he stayed silent, watching her eyes that were on the ocean. "It's just … a big heist. A build of criminal empires … my own clan, if you want to go to that extent."

"You want to become a big player?" He asked her, hands in his pockets.

"Eventually." She answered, "First, I just want to get this thing off the ground. Then I might consider being a major crime player. It pays, doesn't it?"

"Sure as hell looks like it." He sat next to her, not too close and not an exaggerated distance. They watched the sea for a moment in absolute silence, "So am I hired?"

"Yeah …" She smiled, "I think you're good."

"Great. Are we going to stick around here for a while more?" Squall asked, jumping off the cargo bin. At this point in time he thought following his co-worker's advice was the best thing that had happened in his life. A beautiful associate and the adventure that crime offered were a change from the dingy restaurant business.

"No, that's alright." She extended her hand as a signal of help. His gentleman signals ticked on and he helped her descend from the cargo container. She thanked him. They stood unusually close for a moment. He didn't seem to be able to move away from her. He had fallen under her charm, his penchant for goddesses had made him fall into a trap.

As the coup de grace, she reached for the back of his neck and pulled him down a few inches. Her lips brushed lightly against his as if she was still contemplating her move. He didn't leave her the chance to think it through as he pressed his lips on hers. He wasn't in control anymore.

Her lips were soft and addictive. He quickly fell deeper and deeper into a trance with her open mouth under his. His hand skidded from her waist, down to her thigh and she broke apart, "Do you do this with all your employers?"

"Only the ones that are a dominatrix." He replied almost playfully and resumed kissing her.

She broke apart again and redirected his hand to her hips, "And you think it's a good idea?"

"I don't know." He responded truthfully, "Is there a rule against it?"

"Well, you know we exist to break the rules." She pointed out. He smirked, "So … do you want to go for a ride?"

"What kind of ride?" He kissed her neck mischievously.

She laughed quietly and replied, "Not a car ride."

The worst mistake of his life was allowing her to pierce his defense. To have let down his guard in front of such a subtle enemy. What had been going through his mind? How could he not have seen the cruelty that she was capable of? No, her beauty had blinded him. Her intentions didn't seem to interest him.He was just like the rest of the stupid fools she lured into her plot, used them and tossed them with the same indifference each time.

"Hey man, listen." Rodrigo broke into Squall's train of thoughts unintentionally, "You don't have to tell me why your in here and if it's because of a loco bitch but listen amigo, I was thinking of getting the hell out of here. I was just wondering if you finding it comfortable here or something? You wanna be free?"

Squall got to a standing position, "You know how?"

"I got connections, little friend, I got connections with the Diabolos of the city an' they gon' come bail me." Rodrigo replied, "I'm sure they need a wheel man, so hey, I was just bein' friendly and askin' you if you'd like to work for the Diabolos?"

Squall's hatred for his companion seem to fade and he uttered three single words, "Give me liberty."

Additional Disclaimer 1: This piece was inspired by GTA III. I do not own that game either for it is the rightful property of Rockstar games. Some ideas will be pulled from that game into this fanfic but this story still remains under my creative control.

Additional Disclaimer 2: Any brands/models of cars that I mention in this fanfic (and there will be quite a few) I do not own. They are the rightful property of Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, etc … I am only using their names to provide a more descriptive insight of the vehicles for the reader's pleasure.

Additional Disclaimer 3: Any brands of products that I mention in this fanfic do not belong to me, whatever they may be. They belong to whomever owns them.