Hell, It's been a long time coming, hasn't it? It's almost hard to believe that so much time has passed since I started this angsty, twisted variation of your average FFX-2 fic. It seems like yesterday...I was just updating the second chapter and watching out for new reviews. Heh, honestly, back then that was all that I cared for. I wanted recognition for the time and dedication I'd put into my work, I wanted everyone to acknowledge my story...fuck, I just wanted to be acknowledged. Don't misunderstand me. 71 reviews for 26 chapters isn't bad! Looking back, I'm eternally grateful to all the readers and reviewers who gave me their input, regardless of whether it was positive or negative. I owe all of you an apology. I took a gamble going in the direction with this fic that I did. I was introducing a new theme to an amazing game series that broke the rules, said "fuck censorship", "fuck this way", I'm doing it MY WAY or this isn't going down. The road was new to me, undoubtedly. I'd never even considered writing such a dark telling of the story that Yuna and Tidus made together. It was...weird.
And...over time... it became shameful. I began to look on this with disdain, criticizing the fanfic for its plot holes, story gaps and sometimes just poor writing in general. I felt I'd merely abolished the game with Annihilations' conception and unofficial publication. My inexperienced self hurtled into the second installment of this tale with no well-conceived ideas to base or improve the plot line around. Hence a lotta complications and details in the fic that were contradictory. My introduction chapter is incorrect on certain subjects due to that VERY blind sprint that I took. Other places in the story you'll find errors of almost every type are made at least once. I was no master of literature back then, but I was capable of comprehending aspects about myself I never even realized before. At first, that brought me down...but now I'm back up and pumped with resolve that's fresh and strong and ideas that are everything I consider worthy as a writer.
( Below I've listed some small alterations that I applied to the original basis of the fic, before everything got skewered up. I will attempt, as I resume updating, to correct any conflictions in the storyline...as well as to remedy one detail in particular. I sincerely hope that, whoever is still out there reading this, will approve of the developments I will make and the direction I will take my writing in general. )
Chapter - Introduction:I'd like to begin by immediately turning my attention to one error that is blatantly obvious ( to ME blatantly obvious...AND taunting ) and must be addressed before I procrastinate it out of my schedule entirely. At the end of this informative list of SOME of the new concepts for character design and introduction, I included a brief description of Bargaine ( Tidus' Fiend in a blade ) that was overlooked when I made further modifications to the story. Bargaine was originally intended to be a fiend summoned to hunt down Iiden, but progression with the story became fluid to me...in a sense, and I kind of just wrote a chapter with a few ideas and made up the rest as I went. While quicker, such writing practices aren't recommended...unless you're skilled at putting shit together as you go. ( I'm sure as hell not! )
Chapter - ?: Sorry, but this is an error I've caught myself making from time to time. You're all familiar with Collust and Iiden if you've followed the story this far in. Well, the conception of Iiden was a purely accidental occurence during the time because my primary focus was working through Collusts' character. The process began late into the night and didn't end until early the next morning. At SOME point, the notes I was making for the sake of keeping his details got, again, skewered up when I guess I just became too tired. I reviewed the information and found I'd accidentally turned Collusts' natural hair color white. This completely threw my perception of the character out of proportion with everything else, so I knew the changes had to go. The more I sat back and thought of it, though, the more my mind worked and before I knew it...I'd written the outline info for another character. Lol. Anyway, the error I've caught myself making with Iiden involves the confusion of hair color. I've typed Iiden's as being red instead of white at least ONCE in this story. I'll be looking to make sure I don't do that again.
SHADOW Details - There are just two more new additions to the story I'm going to address before we continue. For anyone wondering when I'll shut up, I will not go into detail. I will be incorporating two fiends into the story that, while from the FF multiverse, are actually not native to the FFX-2 title itself. X-2 has a considerable shortage of monsters that...hell, are just in general cool to look at. I created Bargaine out of a personal urge to manifest him in some form due to personal reasons I won't disclose here. Well, that's all for the time. If anyone is knowledgeable of any mistakes that I did not address, and find them bad enough to need to BE addressed, please inform me. Thank you all, and without further ado, here is the next chapter...
The world rushed back to him. Alexander's hazy vision cleared to witness the descending of his opponent's blade. A promise of death, on he held no desire to greet with wide arms as he had done before. To fall now would mark a defeat at the hands of one he would never fall before. He refused to.
Although Kane's consciousness retained a certain amount of quietude despite the dire predicament, something within him reacted with desperation. From his spiritual resovior, a surge of chaotic energies flooded throughout his entirety. It empowered him, rejuvenated him...inspired him.
With a ferocious cry, the injured Captain shot his left arm upwards, concentrating his might to generate a protective aura as he caught the falling blade in his grasp. His gaze fixed upon Collust's startled expression, smirking insanely.
"Did ya think I was out of it, pansy?" Kane inquired.
Collust breathed out, releasing the air he held in surprise. He struggled to pull the blade free, but found it would not budge. The weapon was locked within his opponent's indomitable grip.
"Why won't you just die?" He roared through gritted teeth.
Alexander chuckled darkly. "Cause, dumbass, I'm already dead." His ferocious might flarred forth, encompassing him in a feral, aural flame. The multiple wounds that ailed him closed, the power accelerating his bodily functions with an unnatural regeneration that fully restored the lost tissue. "And ya can't kill what can't die twice."
Final Fantasy X-2: Annihilation
Chapter 26 - Sanctuary
"And thus I clothe my naked villainy with old, odd ends, stolen forth from holy writ, and seem a saint...when most I play the devil."
- V, V for Vendetta
The following thrust delivered by the monstrous arm, which Kane used to grip Collusts' descending blade just a moment before it's connection, exerted enough raw and physical force that it shot his combatant off into the distance as though he were a speck of sand. The crimson-haired Captain couldn't resist. He hurtled backwards at an unbelievable velocity, shock evident in his wide eyes.
The speed at which Collust soared through the Zanarkand airspace was overwhelming. Not even the wind at his back could oppose the force behind the thrust of Alexanders' arm. He attempted to reach out with his aura, focusing it into an extendable appendage of his body that he directed towards a nearby column. It's shape morphed, assuming the likeness of a human hand that curled around the width of the structure before its psuedo-fingers buried themselves into it.
There was a brief jerk and Collust was hopeful that his plan would succeed; it was made apparent, however, when the column crumbled and his aura slid through vacant space, that the said plan would not. Consequently, the initial jerk forced the adjustment of his angle against the wind that sent him sprawling out of control, casting the man twisting and turning in a wild flail of helplessness. His body collided against thick architects and structures with the intensity of a wrecking ball, literally knocking through the designs that were conceived by the ancient, Zanarkand artists.
"Agh," the warrior gasped in a mix of breathlessness and disgorged blood that erupted from his mouth, feeling himself smack through another wall. His spine took the blunt of impact as the decrepit material collapsed around him. Collust conceded to weathering the pain as the world spun and twisted uncontrollably around him, his perception of time and place obscured by the dust and debris exploding from the force of his collisions.
Every individual impact, however, worked to slow the momentum fueling Collusts' flight.
In moments, though it felt like an eternity, the Captain slid to a halt in a clearing of dirt within the graveyard that Zanarkand had become. His body was covered in grotesque looking cuts and bruises that had been formed on almost his entire body. Blood trickled from multiple points of injury distributed in a widespread fashion over Collusts' corporeal form, generally oozing from large, nasty tears formed on his battered flesh. He trembled as the full magnitude of the injury afflicted upon him seized his mind with pressing urgency, and he struggled to push himself on his side.
The wounded warrior immediately tried to focus his vision, searching the vicinity for potential shelter. He knew, even in his disoriented state of mind, that there would be no time to recollect himself. Alexander wouldn't be far behind.
Collust could sense Kane's asphyxiating battle aura undulating with wild pulsations, feeling more and more like an encumbering weight on his mental and physical fortitude as the distance between them lessened. He cradled a severely mangled right arm in a crippled fashion against his beaten rip cage, dragging himself towards an opening between two slates of stone that was just wide enough to bury himself in.
He felt his opponent was almost upon him. With a restrained cry of effort and partial desperation, the Captain finally flung his critically wounded body into the darkness of the space, lying still as he shut his eyes and concentrated on the quelling of his energy until it was closed off and undetectable.
No two to four seconds later, the ground quivered under shock-waves generated by Kane as he plummeted from the sky. The earth splintered underneath him. The abominable being who better resembled a devil towered idly in the center of the clearing encircled by columns of fractured stone. His fierce, cold and lifeless eyes conveyed the attentive state of his mentality, which had been amplified by the activation of his most sinister of all instincts: the urge to kill.
The brute's scarred and grotesque visage was firm with the concentration of a murderer on the hunt for his prey. His shredded hikama danced wildly in the wind, its tattered ends fluttering against his bulky physique. The questionable longsword - a supposed Slayer obscured in mystery, had been sheathed once again in the scabbard tied securely at his hip.
The blood red aura that encompassed Alexander flared more viciously than it had ever before. It was, as always, symbolic of his legacy of slaughters as much as it was of his unhinged personality. It portrayed his soul for the animalistic brutality that defined it.
His intensely bi-polar personality always shifted between two stages: either between the grinning, adrenaline-junkie killer or the serious, calculating and insouciant hunter. The former was a state of mentality induced by excitement and anticipation that Alexander, literally, could not help but indulge in. It carried a certain degree of high that Kane just found to be intoxicating. The latter was, if anything, the face of the true barbarian. One shown only to those who have merited the gift of facing a beast who didn't care any longer about enjoying the fight or savoring the bloodshed. This was the face that had defeated the transformed Tidus and hammered Collust through a miles' worth of fractured pillars and collapsed ruins; it was this face that always rebounded back from the abyss of death to kill another day.
"Where are ya?" Kane called out to the vicinity as he took a thunderous step forward. He worked his arms out from the sleeves of his destroyed hikama, taking it between his fingers before laying it against the splintered structure. He stood upon it as a platform in the center of the circle, displaying his tightly toned abs that looked to have been stretched over with the dead skin of a 10 year torture victim. The unbelievable amount of scars and the pallidness of his complexion bestowed the monster with an equally monstrous appearance...to say the least. "Ain't no way in hell dat lil' shove's got ya pushin' up daisies. I know yer hidin' out der' somewhere."
He watched the environment intently for any flicker of life.
A whirlwind swept over the landscape, carrying a cloud of dust that deposited dirt over the trail of blood Collust left behind. Alexander's eyes roamed over the spot just moments after. They lingered there momentarily, before he turned and glanced back to the massive hole in a neighboring stone wall that towered beside him.
He clicked his tongue, "Tch. Bastard musta' sailed right der through dat hole and on elsewhere," he surmised as he shook his head. His eyes narrowed into hard slits of murderous desire and determination as he assessed the most likely direction Collust crashed in. "I didn' toss da lil' shoopuff fucker all dat hard, right? Maybe more den' I'd first intended but, eh, s'his own fault for comin' at me like he did."
Alexander chuckled, his deep voice booming in his massive chest. "Ya hear me, pussy boy?" he screamed out to the air. "Whatever happened to da shit you were spoutin' before? Eh? I heard ya sayin' I was weak, dat I was sum' kind of iniquity that defiled yer' lil' boy band organizatin'." He laughed madly. "I luv' dis' shit right here'! Yer nothin' but a fuckin' pansy! Talkin' da talk when you ain't never gunna' have it in ya to back dem' words in a fight."
Alexander's voice carried on across the vast distance in a series of resounding echoes that soon faded into silence. Shortly after, Kane propelled himself into the air to continue his search. The neigh bone-crushing intensity of his new aural ferocity alleviated its pressure on Collusts' body as he became further and further away. The said Captain waited until his nemesis was several miles from his position before straining to sit himself upright.
A series of popping sounds tore down his back as the Captain was hit with deep-rooted aches and pains. He breathed shakily, smiling in a sense of tragic admittance to himself that the one objective he NEEDED to accomplish for SHADOW, for Oblivion...he was no longer capable of doing. He'd overestimated Kane's capacity and exposed himself like a rookie, setting himself up to suffer the most extensive injuries he'd ever had.
"Heh," Collust tensed his eyes as another jolt of pain lanced through him. "Damn it all," he groaned quietly, tilting his head to the side and resting his cheek against the cold stone behind him. "You're lucky, you bastard. I didn't even get to utilize my true power, but me and my slayer will prove our superiority...next time. I will kill you."
During the time he was at the mercy of the winds, the red-haired Captain was incapable of maintaining his grip on the hilt of his Slayer between the spinning and the smashing through everything. He hadn't even felt it fly from his hand. The pain had been overriding his entire system. Sure, Collust could merely summon it to his person on command, but that was only when his mind was fresh enough to locate its signature, establish a connection and materialize it in his possession without losing synchronization.
Safe to say...as he was now...that wasn't possible.
"D-damn you, Alexander..." Collust breathed to the darkness one last time, before he felt sleep begin to pull him under. With the promise of revenge burning at the front of his mind, he welcomed it, losing himself in the momentary reprieve it would bring. He knew that victory would be his; it was inevitable that Kane would die at his hands. That belief strengthened his confidence...and he rested, dreaming of the day that vengeance would be his.
Yuna sat soundlessly on the soft cushion of a mattress that had been laid on the stone floor in an old holding cell. The Bevelle Underground was the only remaining location capable of being a suitable base for the activities of SALVATION, allowing the faction to prepare their operations in a secluded and secure environment. There, within the vast expanse of winding passages, they could function beneath the watchful eyes of SHADOW.
They couldn't afford another repeat of Mt. Gagazet.
Yuna let her eyes rest on Tidus. He was sleeping peacefully on a small cot across from her, snuggled warmly inside a blanket with his back to the damp wall. She focused on his pale face, on the tranquility in his expression that made him seem so at ease, as if not a care haunted his dreams. She tried to ignore the cuffs around his wrists and ankles that Baralai and Iiden insisted they shackle him with.
Tidus was a Captain of SHADOW and had to be regarded as one while in their custody. Until he was recovered enough to be able to hold a conversation with, he would be placed under strict guard with magic-absorbent restraints binding his movements. It took a great deal of arguing on Yuna's part to convince the two that she be allowed to stay in his cell. It took 20 guards positioned outside the door to give Baralai peace of mind.
The thin, dark veins that ran up Tidus' neck and spider-webbed across his cheeks were not as enlarged and did not press against his skin as noticeably as they'd done before; it was something she noticed while her memory flashed with images from the Gagazet incident.
The mere recollection of the tragic and nightmarish ordeal was a painful process to say the least. She remembered everything so vividly that it might as well have been reoccuring in front of her. Like a horror film it terrorized her, repeating every detail, every scene and every moment so it all was forever burned into her very soul.
The unexpected appearance of Alexander Kane, the destruction he unleashed upon SALVATION and its recruits, the sacrifice of the Ronsos and all the other occurrences leading up to the instant Tidus fell were things the ex-Summoner could not forget, even though she wished she could.
Yuna let the memories fast-forward to the events preceeding their arrival at Bevelle. Her realization addressing the absence of her close friend, Gippal, lead to the immediate deployment of a search-and-rescue team that consisted of Iiden, herself, Kimarhi, and every SALVATION soldier who was capable of joining them. The search was conducted until nightfall, when environmental conditions became too severe and dangerous for them to press on further. Though Yuna argued against stopping, at first, she eventually gave in but asserted that another party be sent out again at dawn.
Kimarhi promised that the Ronsos would do so personally. Their acute sense of smell and knowledge of the terrain would assist them in tracking down Gippal...or whatever was left of him to find.
She bit her bottom lip, playing with her fingers as her worries ran rampant in her mind. The death of Nooj was too fresh in the minds of SALVATION's recruits and too new a wound on the hearts of those who'd befriended him. While the confirmation of Gippal's death would be heartbreaking, it would cause an even greater misfortune with the soldiers in how harshly it affected their morale. Roughly half of the militia were young, inexperienced men whose combat history didn't extend past fighting low-level fiends. They enlisted with the best of intentions, believing they could make a difference in the war, but were ignorant of the bloodshed they were signing up to join in.
How would the murders of two of their four leaders reflect on their overall progress in the war?
Yuna couldn't help the tears that blurred her vision as she dwelled on the subject. She and Baralai agreed that a conference should be scheduled to address the recent happenings at Gagazet with her providing her own retelling of them. It was her obligation as the head figure of SALVATION to address her people personally in order to better ensure that they do not start to question their faith in her.
It was the greatness of the deeds that Yuna had accomplished that gave her people the belief in the cause they fought for. They had faith that Yuna, the woman who permanently defeated Sin and Vegnagun, would bring the Eternal Calm once more. Now that faith was faltering in the hearts of some. A handful doubted her capabilities as a leader...and she didn't blame them.
The ex-Summoner sobbed, burying her face in her hands. "I'm a failure," she whimpered to herself. "I've never been anything else. I don't deserve to lead SALVATION! I'm not strong enough on my own..."
"That's why you have your friends."
Iiden's voice captured Yuna's attention. She lifted her head, immediatey wiping away any traces of her tears and the sadness that had caused them. She rubbed her eyes, laughing half-heartedly.
"I didn't hear you come in," the woman commented with a weak smile that she gave the man standing to her left. She saw the reinforced steel door being shut by the guards behind him.
Iiden acknowledged the effort to mislead him into believing she was better than she actually was. Anyone could recognize the attempt for what it was and anyone with sense wouldn't be fooled by it. "This isn't a burden for you to bear alone, Yuna," he spoke in a firm tone of voice as he approached her. "The task of dealing with SHADOW doesn't fall on the shoulders of any one individual, regardless of rank or public perception. Oblivion is a threat to us all...and as such, it rests upon every person in Spira to do what they can."
The former member of SHADOW sat down beside her on the edge of the mattress, careful to not invade her personal space. He knew some part of Yuna was still suspicious of him and every action he made, even if she didn't admit it. "Of course," he continued, "not every person CAN carry that weight...and they shouldn't be expected to. It's human nature to feel fear. It's human nature to succumb to it. That's why people like us, people who've learned to defy our nature and transcend its limitations, who've learned to defy fear, must bare the greater part of that universal burden."
Iiden brushed a bang of his snow-colored hair from in front of his eyes, fixing his gaze on the slumbering figure of Tidus who laid silently in the corner. "What I'm saying is, although you may have to carry more than others, you are not expected to carry it all. Trust in your friends, in Baralai...and in me...to share that weight." He turned his eyes to her. "You're not alone."
Yuna listened closely to every word the man beside her voiced, having swore to herself to be more attentive towards the things he had to say after they left Gagazet. Iiden had conveyed nothing but kindness and sincerity since their meeting and had gone repetitively out of his way to assist her in any way, shape or form he could. His history had left a foul imprint on her soul, and that she would not deny, but the time spent in his company, however brief, was long enough to almost erase that imprint entirely.
The man wanted to establish himself as an ally to her and the cause they represented. He desired redemption, so he could leave the sins of the past behind and let old demons die.
She respected his conviction with all that she was.
"I know," Yuna stated as she look into his eyes. A real, genuine smile replaced the shell of a one that had played on her expression. "I know. I'm sorry, I always seem to fall apart around you and every time...you try to talk me through it." She looked away before continuing," I'm also aware that my behavior towards you has been...hostile, at best. I want to apologize for that. At Gagazet, I acted harshly...and after everything that's happened, I want you to know that now...I believe in who you are."
Iiden carefully took in every word and registered the sincerity in her voice behind each one. His gray hues softened affectionately with the meaning she sought to express, absolutely moved by the confession she was giving him and he bowed his head towards her appreciatively when she finished. He breathed a breath of air that felt like it was the freshest he'd had in a long time, even in the wet, moldy cell.
"Thank you," he returned. "I've said it time and again, but I don't think I'll ever say it enough." Iiden shifted before lifting himself from the mattress and standing upright with his back to the former Summoner. He stepped up to the edge of the cot Tidus rested on, watching him intently. "He, however, is the most indebted to you. Every breath that Tidus takes is a breath he couldn't have without you. His actions demand a high price to pay and any other would be put to death the moment they were in SALVATION'S grasp. You're all that is keeping him alive for now."
Yuna frowned at the choice of words the man had selected to phrase his sentences. "Don't make him seem to be something as terrible as Oblivion," she muttered. "Spira has seen much worse and they've forgiven greater transgressions."
"Greater than slaughtering the people of Luca?"
That irked the ex-Summoner terribly, causing her demeanor to shift from showing her appreciation towards him to showing her indignation towards his statements. Her eyes narrowed dangerously as she glared daggers into his back. What was he getting at?
"Tidus committed a grave wrong, I'm completely aware," Yuna snapped. "He killed several at Luca, Shinra, and made an attempt on Baralai's life, but stop and look at what good he has done!" She rose to her feet. "Tidus is the one responsible for the defeat of Sin and Yu Yevon. Without him and the sacrifice he made, I would never have escaped the tragic cycle and seen outside of it. He fought to defend the people of Spira AFTER they turned against him and sentenced him to execution, battled against Gallant for the sake of our future AND saved countless more lives than he has taken away," she paused, panting heavily in her anger. "Oblivion's turned Tidus into what he has become. You know this!"
Iiden hung his head and Yuna wondered what thoughts were going through his mind. Just when she'd come to have faith in him, was he telling her, in some vague way, that Tidus was beyond redemption? That she should just abandon all hope?
"Oblivion has turned him into everything he is not," the ex-SHADOW member corrected. He turned to face the overburdened leader behind him, locking their separate gazes with the others own. His expression was hard and unreadable. "There is a transcendent link that ties their existences to one another, a link originally established by Gallant and then exploited by Oblivion. This connection enables whatever corruptions Oblivion chooses to utilize to manifest in Tidus' character, allowing him to shape Tidus' appearance in his own image but only moderately influence his personality ." Iiden turned to the side, stepping out of Yuna's view of the man being addressed as he indicated towards him with a finger. "This man is not what Oblivion made him, but almost everything Oblivion didn't want him to be. Understand? Tidus is not an unfortunate victim of someone else's mind-control, but a victim of his own design, something in which Oblivion only played a part. He showed the way and littered the path with temptations...but it was Tidus who chose to follow it."
Yuna stepped up to the white-haired man, her eyes blazing with rage as she ensnared him in her deadly glare. "What are you getting at?" she yelled. "Is this what you're really here to do? To make Tidus into some unspeakable evil and convince me of it, too? I bet Baralai put you up to this! Well guess what? I'm not buying it. I know WHO Tidus is, just as I know everything he's not- because despite what you say, there are things he hasn't become. There are worse things he can STILL become! Just as easily, I know he can make himself into everything that he never will be again. You did it...and so can he."
Iiden weathered the blunt of the indignant woman's wrath as she stood up to the meaning that his worfds expressed, denying the infallible certainty in his voice that he'd purposely placed there to test the strength of her heart.
He smirked, chuckling as she fumed in front of him. "So he can," he agreed happily with the nod of his head.
Yuna opened her mouth as though to shout something further before the change in Iiden's demeanor registered inside her brain, her features softening as her eyes ran confusedly over his face. "W-what...?" she breathed while leaving her mouth hanging open in a very unladylike fashion.
"I'm sorry, I know it was cruel of me to rile you up like this," Iiden began apologetically, "but understand that I just wanted to determine whether or not you'd be able to withstand the criticism and ridicule that will fall on you. The knowledge of the massacre at Luca is widespread, but the incident was contained by SALVATION officials and information concerning the identity of the culprit has been undisclosed, thanks to Baralai's efforts...or so he'd bragged, anyway." He folded his arms across his chest. "What I'm saying is...that save for a handful, Tidus' identity as the murderer has been kept silent. Baralai secured any and all footage that was taken by security cameras showing Tidus in action, but there are other things making this complicated...and...well," he tilted his head to the side as he thought. "I'll just let Baralai explain it to you as he'd explained it to me. The reason that actually brought me here was to get you."
Yuna's blatant vehemence quelled bit by bit as she listened to the explanation that her recently-proven comrade provided for her, even though he'd come very close to becoming her enemy again with the stunt he pulled. She simply dismissed it, feeling that it was carried out with the right intentions and that it, in the end, was for her own benefit. She had to be ready to face things like that if she wanted to protect Tidus and serve in her role as the leader of SALVATION. Iiden was just trying to prepare her for that and so she did not blame him.
"Alright, I got it. We'll get to Baralai right away," she asserted as she looked to Tidus. The ex-Summoner lowered herself to her hands and knees, placing a soft, tender kiss on his forehead, before pulling back and whispering, "Sorry. I have to go somewhere, but I'll be back soon...hopefully in time to be the first thing you see when you open your eyes." She smiled. "I love you."
With that, Yuna stood and approached the cell door, which was opened by the guards standing on the other side. Three accompanied her and Iiden through the dark corridors as they followed the path that was dimly lit by the scattered torches along the wall. The entire way, Yuna's thoughts never ceased to dwell on the man waiting back there for her. For once, since the whole incident with him began, she felt certain that she could bring Tidus back from the evil place he'd gone. She was certain that now...he could be saved.
And she would be the one who saved him.
A/N: Well, that's a wrap for this chapter. I hope those who are still around to read this find the new chapter to be up to the standards of the ones before it. It's been a while and I'm just now getting back into the groove. Bare with me, and hell...we JUST MIGHT get to see this fic through to its end. Thanks for dropping in and leave a review if you're feeling friendly! ( Or hateful. It's irrelevant. Flames are just another form of constructive criticism so let it RAIN DOWN ON MEH! ) Or...not. Later.