Standard Issue Disclaimer To Save My Ass From The Ridiculous Impossibility ofLawsuits: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII or any of the characters, locations, concepts, and so on and so forth from whichthat are used within thisstory. They belong to Square-Enix. Original characters andentities represented within this storybelong to me.

Ronin: A Final Fantasy Crime Drama...or something.

Prologue: Big Pimpin'

While Deling City had recently been renamed Galbadia City, and had shifted its namesake as swiftly as the nation's internal politics, which themselves flowed as freely as desert sands, the metropolis had always gone by one common name ever since electricity had been adopted: The Shining Night. Such a name defined a city that gleamed and glowed and was vastly more busy and active during the nighttime hours than it was during the daylight. There were often jokes about how Galbadians were actually vampires, as much as they seemed to shun the light.

Thus it was that as the sun was setting, most people in Galbadia City were still at home or even asleep, and the streets were quieter than they would be in the next few hours. This applied an unusual irony to the term "in broad daylight." It was during this time that the seedier elements sometimes emerged and operated in the shining sunlight, in a bizarre inverse to how things operated in just about every other civilized part of the world, even in the rest of Galbadia.

The man standing in the parking lot of one of the hotels on the edge of Galbadia City loved that sunlight. After all, nothing did better to showcase his gleaming, gold-inlaid teeth and the multitude of diamonds that stretched across his wrists, fingers, and neck quite like the sun. The man, who on the street was referred to as "Whitey D-Bomb Playa Killa" (shortened to "Whitey D") was dressed as appropriate for his occupation, covered in fur coats, expensive jewelry, and a richly made purple silken suit. His head was topped with a wide-brimmed pink hat with a two-foot-long feather atop his head, and he walked with an odd, wide, confident strut, the strut of a pimp.

"Alright, my bitches," he said with a gleaming smile to the two scantily clad, painted women before him. "Ya'll know the drill. Time for the usual cut from ya'll's clients, understand?" the two prostitutes sighed as they reached into their purses to pay their pimp, and Whitey D waited patiently for the two "ladies of the day" (as they were known around this city) to give him his rightful cut. After all, Whitey D was respected, exceptionally so, and he had plans to cut out the prostitution business from the local dominant crime family, the Anarak Syndicate. Just three weeks ago, these two prostitutes had worked for the local area boss Enrico Fornes, but now paid him their cut.

He hefted the gil - an excellent take for this week - in his hands, and counted the money. The two women started to move away, but he barked a quick command.

"Hey, hey, hey! No walkin' off until I check my check, understand? If I find out either of you ho's is hustlin' me-"

His warning came to an end as all three present found their attention being drawn to a vehicle rolling into the parking lot. For an instant, they all feared it was the police - which would mean a significant part of their income would go to bribes - but those fears were soon unfounded, as the vehicle was a nondescript blue four-door sedan. However, they kept watching it as it drove across the lot and came to a stop before the trio. The door clicked and opened up, and out stepped the driver.

"Now who is this?" Whitey D asked indignantly. "This is a private meeting between me and my bitches, player. Get on out of here now."

The driver glanced between the prostitues and the pimp. He was clad in a black leather jacket and blue jeans, with a blue shirt of some kind underneath. Closely shaved blonde hair was covered a black watchcap on his head. A rough blonde goatee marked his chin, and steely-blue eyes were set into his face. He fixed his eyes on Whitey D, frowned, and nodded.

"You're Whitey D," he said calmly, the statement not a question. The pimp, however, took it as such.

"And what if I am?" he demanded. "Would that make you understand the importance of this transaction taking place with my bitches, and why it needs to be so very private?"

"Not really," he answered with a shrug, and then smiled. "I honestly couldn't give a shit. I'm just here to deliver a gift from my boss." He turned and reached into his car.

"A gift? Now who would be givin' Whitey D a present? Its not my birthday."

"Nope," answered the man as he turned back, snapped up his right hand, and smashed a tire iron into the side of Whitey D's forehead, sending his pimp hat flying and his pimp ass to the pavement. A flowering bloom of blood erupted from the pimp's forehead as he hit the ground, his entire upper cranium shattered by the impact. The man stepped over to the pimp's body and slammed the tire iron down hard a second time into the middle of his chest, a sickening snap-crunch audible as the iron crushed ribs and organs like water balloons and wet cardboard.

The two prostitutes stared on in abject shock as the man straightened up, pausing only to wipe the tire iron with the fur coat of the now distinctly deceased pimp, and he looked up at the women.

"Enrico Fornes said to tell you two to show up back at the club," he grunted. "No retaliation for working with this trash, as long as you're punctual." With that, the man turned, tossed his tire iron back into the car, and plopped back down in the driver's seat. The door slammed shut with a dull impact, and the car rolled forward, turned, and exited the lot, leaving the two women to stare at the brutally but efficiently beaten corpse of their former pimp.

"Enrico," he called over the cell phone a few minutes later as he drove back across town. "Consider your turf secured."

"Great, great," came the response from his boss, his satisfaction apparent in his voice. "Good work. Very good work. Head back to the club, I'll see what else I can get you to do for me, eh?"

"Right," he grunted in reply, and closed the cell phone, before tossing it carelessly into the seat beside him. He shook his head, asking himself again why he'd chosen to work for slime like the Anarak Syndicate, the biggest crime family in Galbadia. Two years ago, he'd been at the top of the world, one of the most powerful men on the planet, and here he was, whacking upstart pimps for organized crime bosses.

How the mighty had fallen.

He glanced at himself in the mirror, and scratched a spot above the bridge of his nose, an action that had become habit lately. He spared a second glance at the mirror, and at the scar running from his right eye up his forehead, and killed the line of self-deprecating thoughts.

"At this rate," he muttered to himself, "I'll be as bad as Squall . . . ."

A/N: This is something I've been toying with for a while, ever since I played too much Grand Theft Auto. A little bit of a crime drama, set in FFVIII's world, with our resident favorite antihero/villian/crazy guy as the main hero of the story. Ronin won't be an epic, like other fics I've written, or at least not the same kind of epic. This isn't the epic of grand battles and struggles against titanic forces of encoroaching evil, but the grittier story of a man making his way on the streets, slugging it out in back alleys and the gutter as opposed to massive battlefields or far off mystical cities of the gods.

I'm not sure where this is headed, but I have a rough idea and a basic plotline carved out.

Until the first chapter...