Not too long waiting for a new chapter I hope, but considering I updated my other current stories in the past week I am quite proud of myself. Anyway, thank you again for the support readers, and hope you enjoy the chapter.

Yes, I now have a laptop, so updates shouldn't be such a problem anymore. dances But even thought this chapter is longer than most, I do feel it sucks. I'm so frustrated at how it turned out, it sounds sappy and jittery, too cliché for words! I'm sorry if this is a disappointment to any readers.

However, I am relieved I actually got to post this. For some reason the document wouldn't upload onto the site, and when I tried to transfer the chapter and use the family PC, it was all scambled symbols. I was scared in case I would have to write it all over again!

Oh, and please do request to read my one-shot song fics, "Love Games" (Ray/Mariah) "ColourBlind" (Kai/Macha Maresia Eternas OC) "Hallelujah" (Tala/Coral) or my Christmas one "Santa Can you Hear me?" (Lee/Daisy) which I'll send via email!

You know what I own and what I don't, so R and R!

Tormented Souls

Chapter 13: Unlocking a Heart

It was in that instant, that the group of prisoners found themselves in complete darkness.

"What the Hell-" came the annoyed voice of Tyson, before his mouth was covered by a hand, the owner unidentifiable in the pitch black of the supply room.

The group were completely still, fearing any noise they made would give them away. None where really sure what was going on outside in the corridor, but all knew it was better stay quiet and wait till it was safe. Well, all except Tyson, who had to be knocked in the head by Johnny as a hint to shut up.

Meanwhile, outside the room, Kai was looking down at the group, lit by his torch with some form of surprise. There was Tala Ivanov, sprawled on the ground in front of him, for the first in his life looking rather worried as sweat dripped from his forehead. Crimson eyes gazed down at the supposed reason for the distress. It was a young girl, with uncombed green and wine coloured hair, wearing tattered and worn clothing, which almost looked like a sort of dance outfit. Pale rosebud eyes were staring right at him, and yet, didn't seem to acknowledge the other soldiers presence. In fact, her pink orbs were almost glazed over in a sort of misty blanket, vision obscured.

Seeing his fellow Biovolt officer lying on the ground above the female was indeed a rather odd sight to see for the two toned haired teenager. Tala was well known for being someone who never showed any sort of emotional weakness, much like himself. However, his behaviour as he hovered over the young woman was weary, almost protective. It was too peculiar to describe.

"What you doing down here Kai?" the redhead suddenly questioned, as he staggered to his feet, trying to act as natural as possible. However, his gaze continued to flicker between the girl still trying to sit up from the floor, and his supposed comrade.

"I could ask you the same thing. I could also ask why you have company." the Hiwatari heir retorted, watching for telltale signs of nervousness in the other blader.

Looking down as the mysterious girl still gazed straight ahead, Kai decided it was better if he just tried to get some sort of answer out of the other Russian. If he kept enquiring, it would at least give him some clue as to what was going on. He didn't really care whatever reasons Tala had, even if whatever he was doing something against regulation, which it was likely to be. As long as he was in control, it meant there would be no question raised as to why he was down in the cellars, and more importantly, no reason for there to be any snooping in the supply room where the group of prisoners were hiding.

Crimson bored into cerulean, as the red headed officer was still trying to formulate an explanation.

"I was escorting the...prisoner up to the work yard." he stated, voice close to stuttering, while a pair of rosy eyes suddenly turned him, blinking in a bewildered fashion.

"I thought there weren't any prisoners due to the roads being barricaded." Kai replied, eyebrow raised in suspicion. "The last one we were supposed to receive came a few weeks ago, you remember, you were supposed to unload that new prisoner from the truck while I took care of the girl that was causing such a ruckus. But she mysteriously...disappeared."

It had been the talk of the entire base, trying to figure out how the girl that was supposed to be delivered had got away while being tied up. Tala had been reported for it, but blame had fallen on the truck driver when he admitted he hadn't checked that the girl was secure and unable to move in the back of vehicle. He had given his own story, but apparently wasn't very convincing, so had taken the full brunt of the blame. Still, from what he was seeing now, the two toned haired soldier wasn't so sure if the girl had performed her disappearing act without any help.

"Yes, she escaped from the truck before I got there, but I guess she couldn't get out of the compound. I found her hiding in the shipping dock." the other male explained, suddenly deciding to take a grip of the girls' hair, as if to prevent escape. It was rather strange of course he hadn't done that in the first place, but Kai chose not to comment yet. It wasn't he cared about what the icy officer was doing anyway, he was just concerned with getting him to leave so he could take the other young men hiding in the room behind him back to their hideaway with anything they needed. If they took too long, the guards would be back outside when they left, and questions would be asked as to why he had allowed the group of BBA revolutionaries into the base with him.

"So that's what you've been doing all the time you were missing from duty the last few weeks, looking for the prisoner?" he asked in fake curiosity and surprise. He knew he wasn't all that convincing, but at this point he couldn't afford to be. He could make a bigger deal of this by talking with Tala later in private, when he had more time and wasn't within earshot of anyone else.

The redheaded blader merely nodded in response, still wearily looking down at the figure on the ground. Her eyes may have been blank, but they said more than words ever could. It was not a look of fear, but betrayal, almost heartbreak. She tried reaching up to touch Tala's hand, for reasons Kai couldn't understand, only to be swatted away, but surprising not as harshly as expected on the cold Russian youth.

"Hn, why don't you go while the guards are away." the crimson eyed officer shrugged, jilting his head in the direction of the pathway out of the underground, much to surprise of Tala, though it barely showed on his face. "We can talk about this later."

After a moment of standing still, the icy eyed teen seemed to awaken from his deep thoughts once more, nodding before he pulled the bewildered girl to her feet and went along the corridor, tugging her to follow. Nevertheless, Kai couldn't let go of how strange his "friend" was acting, even how as he watched them leave, the hand that was once grabbing the girls hair was now on her arm, but the touch looked so gentle, it was almost hard to tell if there was skin contact at all.

"Hey, is he gone?" came the whisper from behind the door, as it slowly creaked open to reveal the Tyson leaning outside the room, quickly glancing around, though there was no one left in the passageway apart from the allied Russian.

"It's fine, he left. Do you have what you need, we can't stay much longer." Kai hissed insistently, while the other young men finally appeared from the room. Ozuma was last, checking off things on the list, making sure nothing was forgotten.

"We're good, let's go." he confirmed, as Johnny brought the prop chains back out from his back, making sure everyone looked the same as when they came in.

Quietly as possible, they traced their way back up the stairs to the main part of the base, and then outside, just before the guards returned to their posts.

Everyone breathed a short sigh of relief as they made their way back to the entrance to the caverns. It was hard to believe they had pulled off something that could have been a disaster. Still, at least it was good news they had a lot of luck on their side.

"Well, that was one of smoother jobs I think." Tyson grinned for the first time that day, stretching out before they set about opening up the passage to the underground, in order to hide the smuggled supplies. The Biovolt officer was about to turn around and leave the prisoners to their business, when a hand on his shoulder stopped him. He was pulled around to come face to face with golden eyes, serious and fierce.

"Hey, we're going to be working together from now on, so let's get one thing straight." Ray stated, stern gaze unyielding as he looked into fiery crimson orbs. However, what was most surprising was when a small cheeky smile appeared on his face, fangs now in view. "We still don't like you...but we trust you."

And all the new found freedom fighter could do was smirk in return at his new comrades.


It was later in the evening, after the celebrations and cheer had calmed, and most of the revolutionaries chose to go back to bed before another daily grind began. When the sky finally appeared calm and serene after a long period of cloud, the stars finally broke through the misty remains of the winter weather and shone out against the black backdrop. It was as this scene settled in, that Skyla found herself sitting up on the roof of one of the hutches, the guards unable to see her in the darkness, as she gazed out, past the barbed wire fences and into the abyss of no man's land.

As they had overjoyed at the days success, she had learned from Kenny that with a little work, he could get a signal patched through for them to reach some outside for on the BBA, once Zeo and Jessie fixed the broken parts of the transmitter. Despite this hopeful news, the girl couldn't help feeling less joyful that she expected to be. Everything had numbed over, and she couldn't help but be more focused on other things. Try as she might, the dark haired woman couldn't distract herself from the more trivial of her thoughts. She was a leader, she had to be strong! But then why was she thinking about a certain Russian soldier instead of new plans and tactics of escape and victory?

Sadly, she couldn't deny that there was something about the other teen that had her transfixed. Tracing her lips lightly with her fingers, she couldn't shake off the fading memories of what had transpired between them. That wouldn't have necessarily been a bad thing if she was normal adolescent, living a simple life. Thinking of frivolous things would have been the norm; but this wasn't the norm, this was war. She could die at anytime, and yet there she was, dreaming her time away on thinking how handsome and attractive Kai Hiwatari was. As strange as it would seem to most people, to Skyla it was a completely foreign feeling all together. Never in her life had she let anyone get the better of her, let her feel weak or pathetic, seen her when she was needy and vulnerable. And yet the two tone haired male had seen her like that, broken through every barrier until she was defenceless...and oddly enough, she was okay with it.

"I wouldn't advise sleeping up here, your back will be crooked in the morning."

Jumping slightly, the startled girl turned around only to see crimson eyes looking at her with almost invisible hints of amusement. All previous thoughts were now returning to her mind, the ones she had tried to put off as mere infatuations, but now as she gazed back at him, they didn't seem so ridiculous anymore.

"Don't you have duty?" she huffed, not meaning to sound quite so annoyed. Nevertheless, the officer appeared indifferent to her words, only to settle down beside her, looking out at the horizon beyond.

"Don't you have planning to do?" he retorted, immediately smirking at the glare she gave him. Well it was true; one should practise what they preach.

Unfortunately, Skyla was not quite as understanding on the matter.

"Don't answer my question with a question!" she bellowed, though trying not to pout at the truth in his words, still keeping up her uncaring facade. "And yes, but I don't want to, I can't get my head around anything tactical just now." she tried to explain.

"Well I don't want to be advising the guards on how they should be maintaining weapons repair right now either, so don't bother me with what I should be doing." he replied sharply.

A silence fell over them, Kai seemingly content with it while Skyla was on edge. She needed conversation, otherwise she feared she may blurt out the very things she had been thinking before he had joined her; and they were not thoughts she wanted anyone to hear, especially the stoic Russian officer.

"Won't your grandfather get mad if you don't follow orders?" she asked, once again only receiving a look of complete disinterest.

"Probably, but do I look like I care?" he shrugged carelessly. "Besides, considering I've been spending most of my time with people who want to destroy everything the old man wants to create, I think not following the duty roster is the least of my worries."

Another uncomfortable silence blanketed the pair, as Kai now laid back further against the shingles of the roof. Whether he was aware of the pair of deep sapphire eyes looking at him, it couldn't be said. However, the owner of those orbs felt more at ease believing he was unknowing of her stare. It was peculiar, but that very moment, it felt like it had all ceased; the war, time, and even existence of anything else. It was just the two of them. That sense of content washed over the young woman, and it embarrassed her to admit to herself this was probably the happiness she had ever been in her life.

Desperate to once again flee from her wandering mind, she turned back to the now half lidded crimson eyed male next to her, smiling slightly.

"Thanks for all your help so far. We couldn't have done it without you." the girl said politely, blinking when the other rose up to eye level once more, though still focusing his gaze straight out to the wilderness before them.

"You can thank me when you bust out and take me with you." he replied in an obvious tone, though his words baffled his companion; when did he decide he would do this?

"You actually want to come with us?"she asked, sounding as surprised as she looked.

"Didn't I just say that?" the male snapped back once, now showing signs of annoyance with the constant questioning.

Still, it wasn't something they had talked about at all. Skyla had just assumed that when they were free, they would simple go their separate ways. She could go back with her friends, while he went on and took care of whatever he needed to do to live on his own terms once his grandfather was brought down from power. He didn't seem like the sort who wanted attachments, so it was rather shocking to her that he was interested in going back with them.

"You don't hold any loyalty to this place, your country, your family?" she prodded carefully, earning her yet another look of stoic emptiness, which could only be seen as question of if she was a complete idiot.

"If I did, would I be talking you right now?" he asked as he rolled his eyes. It was then he finally decided to look at her once more, still serious, but there was a hidden undertone in his voice. "All this's what he wants for me. I didn't get to make a choice. You may find this hard to believe, but deciding to rebel with your lot is the first decision I've ever made on my own."

It was very surprising, to say the least. The confident and coldness that Skyla had seen to be the essence of Kai Hiwatari was still there, but something else was showing through the cracks of that emotionless mask. Something along the lines of fatigue, loneliness...perhaps even need.

"What's it like...your side of the borders?" he asked suddenly, a little peak of interest heard in his question. Pausing for a moment, the dark haired woman pulled a purple streak of hair from her face and tucked it away, before standing up, balancing on the roof. Holding out a hand, Kai stood up with her, as she tugged him along the ledge slightly, till they could both see a far reaching piece of land into the distance, one that looks calm and peaceful. It looked untouched, free from the destruction made by war, almost as if it was a world apart from where they stood.

"You can just see it, some of the rural areas, right there. Endless open spaces...I guess that's why I hate this so much, I feel like I'm in a cage. Sounds stupid I know but..." the girl whispered as she pointed out the haven, only halting when a hand rested on top of hers.

"Me too." he muttered, the distance between them closing, and warmth enveloping their forms. Just the feeling that they were both on the same page, experiencing the same desire to be away from the enclosure where they suffered, united them in more ways than one.

"You know, it looks...closer now for some reason." she found herself saying, almost wanting to reach out to the landscape before her, thinking she could grasp it in her hand. As she pondered on this, she failed to realise her head was being tilted to the side, until her bright blue orbs locked with fiery red ones. Their faces were so close, merely a breath apart, and closing in...

"That's because you're nearer to getting there." he voiced, tough his words were barely heard as they couple conquered the gap between them, lips brushing and caressing in the softest touch possible.

Thought drifted back to the day this had first occurred, when the action had been an outlet for grief and hopelessness. But now there was no reason for the young female to vent any feeling at all, so why did the kiss feel so right? Even though she still wanted these feelings to take control of her common sense, the fear and uncertainty was too overwhelming. No sooner had the kiss begun, it ended with Skyla forcing herself out of the delicate display of affection, and also leaving the embrace that had somehow happened while they were kissing, the girl not even realising Kai had put his arms around her at all.

"Wait a minute, um..." she stuttered, pulling away abruptly. "I don't know, I mean...what is this? What I mean is...what are we doing? What are we, to each other? Just a route of escape, or..." she fumbled, trying to find the right words as she attempted to pace frantically about, but with so little room on the roof, and too much risk of falling, it was more like shuffling from side to side.

Thankfully, her ramblings were silenced by a finger on her lips, as Kai's determined stare bore right through her.

"I know what I want it to be. But I won't tell you, until you know what you want it to be. Then we can exchange what we think, and see how it goes." he stated simply, removing his finger and turning to walk away. However, he stopped briefly as the young woman called him back.

"Doesn't that seem rather lax to you?" she protested. The two toned hair of the adolescent soldier rippled in the slight breeze, before he replied.

"Like this escape, you can't plan everything perfectly, something will always go wrong." he paused, looking back at the view for a brief moment. "It depends on if you're willing to take a chance on it or not. You'll have to ask yourself...if you're willing to risk it all." he finished, turning away for the last time, as he climbed down from the roof.

Skyla was left standing there, still string at the same spot where Kai was, mind completely confused. The question was looming, and yet her mind was blank.

When it came to escaping, the choice was simple. Why then, was choosing whether or not to risk everything this time, for him...why was it so much harder?


As the last patrols set out for the evening, icy eyes scoured the corridor briefly, before promptly walking down the hall and slipping into his room, locking the door behind him.

Sighing in relief, Tala leaned against the smooth wooden surface, hoping this was the end of any concerns for the day. Unfortunately, even if he wanted to, there was a pressing matter he could not avoid. And it was lying in his large bed, breathing heavily and coughing hysterically.

He walked over to the side of the bed, sitting down on the mattress, and placing his hand against a forehead of sweaty skin. Cursing under his breath, he took hold a washcloth on the nightstand before soaking and ringing it in a basin of water. When he was done, he placed it gently on the figures forehead, hoping the moisture would bring some relief.

If there was one thing the icy Russian couldn't stand, it was being unable to cope with a situation. He hated the thought of him being incompetent, needing someone else to help him in any way. Still, he did recognise that he his recent behaviour was rather out of character anyway, so it was to be expected there would more problems thrown his way; just what he needed!

A sudden tugging on his hand made him turn back to the bed, seeing bleary rosebud eyes opening, looking even more dazed than usual.

"Tala..." she rasped, before turning her attention to the feeling of the soldier drawing symbols on her hand, pressing into her palm. Whatever he had done soothed her, causing her to smile softly as she closed her eyes once more.

The redheaded male still hovered over the resting girl, watching her closely, to an extent of fascination. She had caused everything he believed in to be questioned, and yet the only thing on his mind at that moment was her well being. Ever so carefully, he found himself leaning over, brushing her face lightly, as if curiously with his hand. Before he even realised it, his lips were tingling as they came in contact with her skin. When he moved away, he could still taste the sweat mingling on her forehead, the temperature still at the range of a fever.

"You're not going to die." he said firmly, almost demandingly. "If you do, I'll make sure your regret it." came the wavering voice from the weary youth.

It was then that Tala slumped over next to the withering girl, still kneeling on the ground, his hands still in contact with hers.

Meanwhile, a lone figure peering through the keyhole sighed to himself, before walking off down the corridor to rest.