The only word that comes to Cloud Strife's mind is gnarled. Crooked, razor teeth and a blade-like grin that cuts straight into his soul and Hades just smiles. Hidden messages abound, and Hades strikes a deal. Kill Hercules. Simple, right? Yes, it's simple and Cloud agrees and Hades just smiles.

Cloud fucking hates that smile.

Days go by. Wait, wait, wait. Sometimes, Cloud gets tired of waiting. He always waits, and waits, and waits. Simply being Cloud Strife is waiting. He waits for light, he waits for Aerith, he waits for Sephiroth. Hades isn't much one for killing time, because he prefers killing people. Smooth talking, fast acting fire, advancing on Cloud, threatening to move into his eye sockets and infiltrate the deepest, darkest recesses of his brain.

Pain and Panic are irritating. They talk and talk and Cloud waits and they talk, and they think that Hercules is going to win. Hades will win, Cloud knows, because he's weak and he won't deny it (to himself, alone). Minions, just like Cloud, but they're far inferior, according to Hades and Hades knows everything there ever was to know. According to Hades, of course.

Shadows crawl on the walls in an Underworld, and they slither on the floors and drip from the rugged ceiling. Pools of black fall at his feet. Shiver, shiver, Cloud, and he watches as Hades appears beside himself. "Fancy a chat, Blondie?"

Hands, hands, with that fucking flame and Cloud shivers despite how scorching the hands are. Deep chuckle, wiped away with a flickering tongue of blaze, and spindly hands with talons that tear Cloud's skin. Hades likes to mindfuck him, likes to play with his head a little, just a little, because Hades is just as dark as Sephiroth, and sometimes Cloud can get away with pretending that those hands are Sephiroth's.

But only sometimes.

You're a strong boy, Cloudy, and he can walk with all the power that he needs while in the company of someone who isn't Hades. Casualty, casualty, Cloud's newest one, the one with the Keyblade stands in awe, staring at the sword and the man who will cut him down in mere seconds.

Hades likes to fuck with his head. Step, smash, on the stone, panting, waiting, waiting for the final strike. Give it, brat, I wanna see another pawn fall. More like a queen, really. But three heads are better than one, and Cloud gets crushed under something that isn't his own guilt, or Hades, for once.

Hades just smiles.

Imagine his embarrassment when he's saved by a man in a skirt. Pity, Cloud, I thought you were stronger than that. Naw, naw, he's just weak, he's like a fucking bird. You like to injure birds? I like hurting everything.

Hercules is weak for a hero. Emotionally, of course, because he can't bear to see Cloud weak and injured and suffering like this. He may not be good, but he's still human. Dazed, dazed, and Aerith is smiling at him, and saying; "Cloud, it's time to wake up."

But Aerith isn't there, and she was never there, and Cloud just wonders if everything has been a dream. But something sticks out, and it's a time when Pain and Panic were being their normal, obnoxious selves. "So, Cloud. What's your blood type?"

Cloud was moody, and Hades just smiled, and he dug his teeth into Cloud's white, neck-flesh, letting smoke lick at the blood. He pulled away, red, red, red, blood dripping from mangled teeth and Cheshire lips.