I apologize, once again, for the long awaited update. First I got Writer's Block because it's a fight scene and they're the bane of my writing and then I got mixed up in some scholarship stuff that took me a while to do so I'm sorry and I'll try and make this chapter count.

Don't worry though…it should…

Twenty-Five: And Now It's Good-Bye

"Dragons live forever but not so little boys; painted wings and giant springs make way for other toys. One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more, and Puff, that mighty dragon, ceased his fearless roar." – 'Puff the Magic Dragon'

Part of Rixintine's neck and up half his left cheek were pitch black and smoldering, pieces flaking off every now and then.

"Fine Raz…" He whispered hoarsely, getting to his feet, "If you want to play that way…that stupid staff can only do so much…"

He criss-crossed his human arms in front of his chest. A column of fire erupted in one hand a torrent of snow in the other, finally forming into two, slim, curved swords, not unlike scimitars. One was wreathed in flames and the other in icey looking mist.

"Meet my blades, Razputin!" Rix growled, taking a stance.

"What is this? Devil May Cry?" Raz scoffed, also crouching into a fighting posture, "Want me order some pizza?"

"Why bother! I'm just going to feast on your mental blood when I've finished with you!" Rixintine bared his fangs in an animalistic way and spun first the fire and then the ice scimitar in quick circles.

"That's just gross." Raz grimaced and then shook himself, "You!" He pointed at Rix, a determined expression on his face as he tried to make himself sound as confident as possible, "You are my own creation! I command you to stop!"

Rix hooted with laughter, never breaking his stance, "Dramatic finger pointing won't get you anywhere, Razputin!" And he launched himself once more at the young Psychonaut.

Raz flung up his staff just in time to catch Rixintine's blades but the clang of them colliding jarred his arms and made his foot slip. Rix twisted the fire scimitar under the staff and jabbed at Raz with it but Raz jumped out of the way and brought Triskellion down in a wide arc. It bounced off the ice scimitar, sparks flying into the air, and, even as Rixintine made for the gap in his defenses, Razputin summoned a ball of psychic energy inside him and unleashed it with a wordless shout of defiance. Fire erupted away from his form and Rix, to close to avoid it, got it full in the face and was sent flying.

Raz gasped as the power seeped out of him; that had taken more energy than he'd thought. He looked up to see Rixintine's conditioned and groaned inwardly. His alter ego was hurt but not as badly as Raz had hoped. The bottom of Rix's shirt had been burned away, leaving horrible shiny burns on his chest, and one of the Nightmare arms had been set aflame and had fallen off to burn to ash on the floor but that was it. Raz definitely felt he'd gotten the worst of it even though it was his attack.

"Come on, Raz," Rix jeered, getting to his feet once more, "I know you can do better than that."

"Oh yeah," Raz grinned in spite of himself, "Then why am I the only one who's armed?" Rix blinked at him and then looked down at his clenched fists. Neither of his blades was there, "Try…over there." Raz pointed up at the ceiling, unable to keep the grin off of his face. Rix's sneer dropped into a look of horror and disgust. There was no way he'd reach those in time, Oh, hey, and Rixintine," The alter ego turned his attention back to Raz, "Nightmare power isn't power enough. You don't know the true strength of the Aquato family!"

Raz raced across the floor, ducked low, and smashed Triskellion into Rixintine's legs before the alternate ego had a chance to react. Rix screamed in agony as the Psitanium bit into his mental flesh and he skidded away, snarling horrible insults at Raz. But the young Psychonaut did not relent; dropping the staff to his side, Raz conjured a ball of fire with pyrokinesis and hurled it at Rixintine. Rix dodged and found himself wedged once more against a pillar and at Razputin's mercy.

But Raz had forgotten about the abomination the Rixintine had become.

The Nightmare arms on Rix's back arced overhead and grabbed Raz, yanking him into the air. With a cry of shock, Raz's fingers loosened and Triskellion clattered to the floor.

"How does it feel to be at the mercy of your own nightmares, Razputin!?" Rix snarled. The Nightmare hands dug their pointed tips into Raz and he cried out in pain, "I could rip your stupid mental self into a bazillion pieces right here and now and there'd be nothing you could do to stop me!" Raz squirmed in Rixintine's grip, yelling wordlessly as the fingers dug deeper into his flesh, "Or how about I suffocate you?" The Nightmare limbs pinned Raz's arms to his sides and one of them clamped it's chilling, scaly hand over his mouth and nose, cutting off his air supply, "Ahahahahaha! Even mental entities need to breathe, Razzie! And your stupid Dreamfluff will just exhaust itself trying to heal you! Aha…ahaaa…ahahahahahaaaaahahahahaha!"

Anger and hatred boiled inside Raz so strongly he felt as though his insides were on fire. His head swam with the lack of oxygen but still he focused on the rage frothing inside of him, letting it grow until he thought it would rip him apart.

He'd had enough of the pain.

He'd had enough of watching people he cared about get hurt.

He'd had enough trauma to last a life time and the scars to prove it.

And he'd had enough of Rixintine.

Behind his tinted goggles, emerald eyes narrowed into thin slits.

Go freaking DIE!

Flames leapt into being at Rix's feet, shooting upwards until he was surrounded in a wall of flickering red-orange. Raz was dropped to the floor and gasped, head spinning as air rushed back into his lungs. His hand slipped across the ice and found Triskellion.

The fire danced, reflecting off his goggles as he stood and clenched his gloved hands around the Psitanium staff, ignoring the throbbing pain of his wounds. He could hear Rixintine screaming in agony but waited. There would be a moment, the perfect moment for him to strike, when Rix stumbled from the fire and was too distracted to notice.

The flames roared higher and Rix's screams were drowned out.

This was it.

The climax.

"GOT YOU RAZ!" Torture spun up Razputin's right leg and he collapsed, icey pain spreading across his limb. He flipped himself over and scooted away, the dying fire at his back as it collapsed in a hiss of melted ice.

There stood Rixintine, charred and severely burned in some places but still whole. And now he had his scimitars back. Raz swore and flicked his gaze down briefly to look at the damage to his leg. It wasn't as bad as he thought; Rixintine had stabbed him with the ice blade and the result was an instant of agony and then complete numbness. He could hardly feel his leg anymore.

Grunting with the effort, Razputin pushed himself upright with Triskellion and faced Rixintine again. He had to end this and now before things got even worse. Rixintine chuckled, the horns parting his hair gleaming, and crossed his weapons in front of his chest in a defensive posture.

Fine. Raz thought to himself, finding a center of balance where he didn't need to rely on his injured leg, A good defense is a good offense, right? Fine.

Raz spun Triskellion and swung it through the air as hard as he could. It whooshed through the air, whistling with dark glee as it clanged against Rix's scimitars. The force of the swing sent the two swords spinning out of the alter ego's grip once more. Raz used the force of the spin to bring himself into a roundhouse kick that caught Rixintine in the stomach and sent him skidding across the floor. Razputin conveniently forgot about his injury and crashed into the ice as well. But he was only down for a few moments before the Dreamfluff activated, healed his wound, and had him looming over Rixintine, Triskellion pointed at the alter ego's heart.

"D-don't kill me Raz!" Rixintine whimpered as soon as he realized the predicament he was in, "Come on! I d-didn't—I was t-trying to help!" Tears bubbled into his one good eye, "I just…w-wanted to help you, Raz!"

For a millionth of a second Raz hesitated and then he scowled and raised the Psitanium staff above his head. But he'd dropped his guard in anticipation of victory and left himself wide open. Rixintine grinned and one of the Nightmare arms shot forward and snatched the staff, ignoring the agony that seared from the Psitanium as it eradicated his fingers. He yanked Triskellion from Raz's hold and threw it across the icey floor.

"Got you, Razputin!" Rix snickered and tackled Raz off his feet. Raz fell to the floor with a grunt of pain and kicked out. Rix lost his balance and Raz managed to grab the alter ego's shirt front and throw him aside. Both of them leapt up and glared at one another, daring the other to make a move. Out of the corner of his eye, Raz noticed his weapon glittering innocently and reached out with his mind.

Triskellion wobbled silently into the air and started spinning. Rixintine made a feral growling noise and Raz sent the staff flying towards him. By the time Rixintine heard the whirring sound of the staff coming for him it was too late. Rix let out a horrid, hair-raising howl as Triskellion literally took his legs off. Raz made to catch the weapon in his hand as it flew towards him but the ice under his boots exploded upwards and sent him skidding across the floor. Triskellion was encased in a column of ice.

"That…was…low!" Rixintine snarled, clawing his way towards Raz with his shaking hands. The Nightmare arms on his back clawed uselessly at the air, "Low, Raz, low!"

"Not any lower than you!" Razputin retorted sharply, scooting backwards and away form his alter ego until his back hit a pillar, "Give it up, Rix, it's over! You can't fight anymore! Just fade away!"

"Think…I…can't…fight!?" Rixintine pulled himself closer, "Never, Raz…NEVER!"

"You are my own creation!" Raz shouted again and Rix gave a shaky laugh, "I c-command you to stop!"

"Make me!" Rixintine launched himself the last couple of feet and his fingers closed around Razputin's throat, cutting off the young Psychonaut's air supply once more.

Oh, this is just stupid! Raz thought, tugging uselessly at Rix's arms. The limbs on his alternate ego's back rose up and pinned him back against the pillar, Fighting against my stupid MPD when I should be out training PSI-Cadets or saving the world again! I just…don't have anything left…

Rix's grip tightened on his neck and Raz's vision spun. When it settled again his gaze caught Triskellion frozen in the ice. That staff was his only chance. As his mind fogged, he concentrated on the two powers that could get him out of his own mind. The heat flowed out of him and was absorbed by the Psitanium. The psychic powered rock grew superheated with the pyrokinesis and the ice was blasted apart, sending dangerous shards through the air. Rixintine whipped his head around but Triskellion was no longer there.

It was hurtling through the air behind Rix, aimed right for the middle of his back.

There was a sickening noise and Rixintine's hands slipped away form Raz's neck. Raz coughed as air whooshed back into his lungs for the second time. His green eyes rose and he gazed at Rixintine. Rix was on his stomach, gasping, a shocked expression playing across his face.

"Ra…R…Raz…" The alternate ego moaned, tears welling into his eyes, "I…I….d-didn't…think…you…could…a-a-actually…" He sagged against the floor, strength failing him.

Raz stood up slowly and walked over, cautious. But the Nightmare arms were lifeless and Rixintine didn't appear to be moving.

"Rix…" Razputin crouched down, pushing his goggles to the top of his hat, "I just…don't get it. Why did you do all that stuff? You must've known I'd get back at you for it."

"I w-wanted…to see you h-ha…h…happy…" Rix gasped, tears streaming from his closed eyes, frame shaking as he cried. The Psitanium staff in his back sparkled and smoked, "I w…wa…wa…was…trying…s-so…hard." He sniffed, "M…m…my own…m-mental…state…broken…be…because of…y-your…heart….ache…" Smoke started billowing from the wound in Rxintine's back and with it came a roar of static white noise. Raz slapped his hands over his ears and winced. He flicked his gaze to Rix as the thick gray smoke started covering everything. His alternate ego's opened his eyes and looked at Raz, smiling weakly. Then his lips moved and, even though Raz couldn't hear him, he knew what Rixintine was saying,

"Forgive me, Razputin."

The choking smoke covered everything and Raz coughed, inhaling a lungful of the stuff. He stumbled to his feet, eyes watering and burning, and ran in the general direction of the door. The floor shook and rumbled and tossed him to the ground. He tried to get up again but the whole room felt as though it was tilting crazily. Raz started crawling on all fours, trying to find the door through the smoke. A huge chunk of ice smashed into the floor just in front of him and he fell back with a cry of alarm.

The castle was collapsing. He had to get out.

Raz bolted through the smoke, throwing up a psychic shield whenever he was in danger of being crushed by falling ice, and eventually found the far wall. He pressed his gloved hands on it, coughing and eyes weeping, and followed it until his fingers found the outline of the door. He was lucky that nothing had fallen in front of it and bared his path.

Raz grabbed the handle, opened the door, and ducked inside. Then he paused for a brief second and looked back over his shoulder but all he could see was the thick, dark smoke that obscured everything. He took a deep, ragged breath, and shouted past the static noise,


And he slammed the door shut.

One or two more chapters to go. This isn't the end, not yet. There are still some loose ends to tie up.

Thank you so much for reading, please leave a review, and have a nice day.