AN: Welcome everyone and thank you for checking out my next story. I will be honost. I had a lot of fun writing this series. For those of you who wanted more out of "Better Late Than Never", i have left a potential sequel open though i do not wish to pursue it now. If i do i may get bored with the storyline and thus the quality will fall. In the meantime please enjoy this. As you enjoy reading this bare in mind i enjoy reviews. :-) I hope you will find the time to let me know what you think. This story is an AU.

I do not own FF8 or the chars.

The room smelled like death. Or at least that's what the young man perceived the smell to be. But he couldn't be sure, having never experienced it first hand before, though he already had more than enough.

Ten years of his life were squandered away within the confines of his cell. For ten years, his world was bound by nothing more than four dank and dreary cement walls that offered no comfort of home. For ten years, his only companion was the sole TV that they allowed him to keep his sanity in check. For ten years he had no idea who 'they' were.

Perhaps the most tragic truth of all was the fact this particular prisoner was only twenty.

Maybe all boys were abducted from their lives with their families and processed in a similar manner. Maybe all boys were drugged daily to suppress their emotions. Maybe all boys were beaten on a consistent basis and forced to adopt military training as the only education that mattered. Perhaps all boys would never again get a glimpse at sunlight, merely a dimming light bulb to provide them illumination. Sadly, this boy did not know the answer. This was the only home he knew.

They were less than animals. Pond scum, whose life was granted by some mysterious force so long as they continue to entertain them. They were often thrust into battle forced to fight the other with the prospect of freedom lingering in their minds and thoughts only to be denied every time.

Those who failed were beaten. Those who won were beaten. There was no hope. No possibility of a better future. There was only the next fight, only the next torture session, only the next day to spend alone in their cell.

A figure huddled against itself upon the cold steel bed he was issued His arms were wrapped around his knees causing the paper-like clothing he wore to shuffle underneath. His ice-blue eyes, slightly obstructed by his chestnut brown hair, cast an emotionless glare at the blaring TV in front of him.

A scar was etched across his face and acted as a constant reminder of the purgatory he found himself within. The subjects were denied the right to imagine a Heaven and the blessing that suicide would allow as only then could they enter hell. Hell required him to feel. That basic human characteristic was denied to him thanks to the drugs that were regularly injected within him.

A slot in the door opened and the same gruel they were fed was thrust into the room. The boy who was trapped inside a man's body slowly made his way to eat the same filth he was always treated with. The vile food served as the only source of emotion they were allotted with a drug dose to follow and take effect only afterwards.

But today was different. No, sadly the food remained the same but a new twist to the routine he had set himself into had been set into place. Upon completion of his meal, the vents leaked gas as they always did. His figure slumped towards the floor and collapsed and while the room opened, two figures wearing doctors clothing entered the room.

The needle was pulled out from underneath their lab coats and thrust into his arm. Today the difference was one Squall would have never noticed. The doctor who gave him his injection had changed.

Instead of being carefully placed back upon his bed till he regained consciousness, his figure was dragged from the room and into the dark empty hallway by the strangers who led him back into a makeshift office.

The brunettes' clothing was roughly stripped from his body as he was dressed within new attire. His body was shoved into a stiff leather suitcase with little concern for the shape it took so long as it fit. With a nod, an unspoken agreement reached the two.

The youngest of the pair left the room with the suitcase in tow as the elder awaited the punishment that was sure to befall her. She sat at her desk and finished a letter that she had stared earlier while tears streaked down her face and joined her hands at the table. Sacrifices needed to be made. She was to be one of them.

Just as she finished her note, she reached under her desk and pulled out an oblong tablet she had been saving for some days now. No one had noticed its disappearance from the drug locker nearly a week ago. As she poured herself a glass of water, a lone figure dressed in a suit entered the room and was quickly followed by four armed guards clad in blue Galbadian armor.

"Doctor. It seems we have a little problem here now don't we?" The man's sick, suave, and sadistic voice asked.

"You'll never find him." She had to act strong in order to stall for more time Even the slightest delay could mean the difference between success and failure.

"You think you are so much better than us. You intend to use him for the same purpose we were." This man had no need to worry. There were plenty more where that specimen had come from.

"We will offer him a choice. That's more than you ever would." If only she could enrage him. She needed to throw him off his logical train of thought.

"He is already ours. He depends on us. We are all he and his kind know." Something was wrong. Resistance members did not converse.

"He is a person. We can help him remember that. Now you will see the very person you helped create will be the same to kill you. Ironic, isn't it?"

"I grow tired of these games. Guards!"

In a surprise twist, the soldiers did not aim their weapons at her, but instead slung them back over their shoulder. In its place stun guns were un-holstered from their sides. That could mean only one thing. Interrogation was at hand.

The elderly doctor ducked underneath the table and popped in the pill she had kept within the palm of her hand. This death was by far preferable to the alternative. Her demise was quick and painless. Those who found her scattered remains would have never guessed.

It was dark. The smell he was accustomed to for so long was now gone. His eyes quickly darted around in confusion as he could feel himself moving yet he knew he stood still. Had he finally died? It seemed God did answer prayers and it only took 9 years.

The container he was in fell to its side as he felt the pressure from what was now his top lesson. Slowly the package opened as light burst in and burned the sensation back into him. His eyelids were quickly shut closed to guard him from the feeling most took for granted as he was dragged out of his temporary transportation.

The world spun around him in a haze. The flurry of voices screeched into his ears as his mind was overloaded with sensations his body could not yet handle. The feel of new clothing upon his skin burned him as if the inside was coated with a slow acting acid.

But with a thud that echoed across, the light was reduced and the sounds muffled. A click signaled the room had been filled with artificial light as a lamp burned brightly overhead.

"Don't move." She removed a gun-like device from a bag she carried with her, except the barrel was replaced with an injection device. She detached a small vial from the area that would be the holster and loaded it within, granting him the chemical he despised though he could not live without it.

The struggle of emotions he fought before quickly vanished as a familiar numbness returned. His head darted forth as the confusion his mind fought with was now replaced with a blank slate of emotions.

In front of him stood a tall leggy blonde who wore a peach colored outfit that was outlined by her lab coat. Her glasses rested upon her nose as she watched with great interest as the item in front of her quickly rose to his feet and stood at attention.

"At ease soldier. We are not in Deling anymore." Her comments failed to create a reaction and allowed her to continue.

"As you can see, you are no longer at the institute anymore. My colleagues and I have gone to great lengths to rescue you. You are, in essence, free." The man stood quietly with not even the slightest inch of his body moving.

The specimen found himself face to face with one of his captors who watched him with great fascination. Her blond hair was worn up as a lone strand fell between the rims of the glasses.

"Item 0857 I presume?" He merely stood at attention with a look on his face that revealed nothing. His eyes were focused straight ahead at the nothingness present.

"You have your freedom 0857. On the table you will find sunglasses, leather gloves and the injector for the drug. You have enough to last a month at most. I suggest you ease yourself off of it. There is however, another alternative."

Still no response. It was as if he was lifeless inside.

"Revenge" Then a spark was ignited from within. The slightest signs that he existed quickly flashed through him as his body twitched before returning to his previous stoic stance.

"I see you have made your choice. Follow me 0857." The reports said he wasn't able to react unless ordered.

She guided him past the table towards a section in the floor that was forcibly removed. She climbed in unconcerned if the person followed. If he chooses to run none of this would matter. He would easily die within a week.

0857 grabbed the items on the table and quickly pocketed them. Whether he stayed or not, they would be needed to survive. Anything could be an asset at this point. His only choice was obvious. Revenge was a great motivator.

With the young blond leading the way, he found himself passing through various tunnels and passageways until they reached a set of double doors that appeared to be their destination.

"You will be watched. Suspicious movements will result in termination." She knew her threat carried little weight with this man. Far more had been done to him than she could possibly imagine.

She opened the door in front of them and entered the room as additional light burst through. The sunglasses had already proved their worth.

Inside he found a young woman with raven black hair sitting behind a table studying the maps that lay before her. Curious hazelnut eyes shot up at the guests who intruded upon her strategy session while a half-smile curled up upon her lips.

"I take it this is 0857?" His mind immediately transcribed the facts he could derive about her persona. Early twenties, cocky. Grew up in a rich environment. Often confident though has a constant need to prove herself. Most likely a common target for enemy organizations.

"Yes. He expressed an interest in seeking revenge." Ironically enough, he barely expressed anything.

"Good. You will be a valuable asset 0857. We could use someone of your skills here." She waited for a response forgetting who or what it was she was talking to.

"React 0857"


"Good. My name is Rinoa by the way. State yours."


"That's your identification. What's your name?"


A sudden realization dawned upon her. "You don't remember do you? Your name from before you were taken. You don't remember anything?" He was a man who did not know his past. A stranger to his own life.


"I see. Don't move 0857. I need to check something." Rinoa stood up from behind her desk and approached the man who stood before her. 0857 sensed 7 rifles point in his direction. No matter, he already had a guaranteed exit plan should the need arise.

Rinoa violated his personal space as she stood less than a few feet away from him. She reached over with slender milky white arms and removed the glasses that masked his face to reveal the emotionless eyes beneath. That was all she needed to see as a smile grew upon her face.

"Let's call you Squall, because of your stormy blue eyes. Quistis here will show you to your room. You'll find a change of clothing there. I'm sorry but until you can be trusted 100, you will have someone accompany you everywhere."

She awaited him to say anything or even do anything having momentarily forgotten her command earlier.

"React 0857."

"Whatever." The unexpected phrase shocked her and forced her eyes to bulge as the single word reverberated within her mind. Her rosy lips pursed together to mouth the word slowly as Rinoa quickly forgot the others in the room.

"Ahem." The young blond snapped her leader back into reality.

"Quistis please show him to his quarters." With a curt nod the two exited the room.

A voice spoke up from the background from a man who stood there the entire time. "Is it the one?"

"It is. I'll handle him personally." She replied having retaken her seat.

"Can he be used? We may have to prepare for termination. He knows too much to simply let go." He sounded cold and calculating. The resistance must stand above everything else.

"Get out! I need to be alone for a bit." Rinoa did not sound as if she was willing to repeat herself.

The person behind her complied and left with the guards that were present. Protection here wasn't needed any longer. None of them knew just how useless their presence truly was.

'Squall, it's you. It's really you. I never lost hope. I finally found you Squall.' Tears slowly escaped the prisons of her eyes as buried feelings reemerged once more. 'Dear Hyne, what did they do to you? Don't worry, I'm here now.'

Whatever. A phrase that once meant 'I love you' between two children ten years ago.

I hope you guys enjoyed this first chapter. I bet you have a lot of questions floating about in your minds. Well send me a review. I love reading your comments questions and general reviews. Until i post the next chapter, and i hope i have proved myself to be a pretty consistent updater, take care. :-)