Disclaimer: I don't own the Final Fantasy characters in this story. I mean, c'mon! I said that in every chapter in Issues! I think that's pretty obvious by now, right?

Author's notes: It took bloody long enough, but I finally got this written. I'm sorry about that, but this was a really hard fight to write. And I still don't like it as a whole than I do with only the really good parts, but oh well. The consequence of writing I suppose. I just hope you all like it.

First and foremost, Yuleen75 has been kind enough to create the first piece of fanart for Shattered Mind. It's a frame of when Trevor charged out onto the stage in chapter 1 and greeted Zidane. It's so accurate to how I imagined Trevor looking that I was extremely surprised when I first saw it. Quite frankly, I think that having fanart alone is awesome, but the fact that it's so bloody good makes it even better. Here's a link:

http:/ galeon. com/ artemisa/ trevor. jpg

Anyone else who enters their own fanart will have it brought to attention like this and talked about so that everyone else can see it. Shattered Mind fanart is awesome.

Next, I've been thinking about writing a book. A real, professional one. The reason I began writing Shattered Mind was so that I could get enough experience to write professionally someday. Now that I think I have a good idea for a fantasy novel, I might take time out to write a bit here and there now and then. I don't know how I'd set up my schedule, what with my classes getting in my way, but I'll make sure to take time out for Shattered Mind. There's no way I'd let it sink after as far as I've gone. I may begin writing it over the summer, but then again, that's still really tentative at this point.

IMPORTANT! In order to become a professional writer, I need to learn how to write better. With that in mind, I ask you, the readers, to leave whatever constructive criticism you can. If you think I need to work on characters more, then tell me. Don't like the way I wrote a certain chunk of the story? Point it out and say what's wrong. I'd appreciate any help you can give me.

Lastly, I felt that I needed to say that I've signed up for a lot of writing classes (stupid English major), so I'm not sure how enthusiastic I'll be for writing Shattered Mind. I'll do what I can, but writing arduous, whole page assignments every other day, among all the bloody reading I have to do, will get really draining, really fast. I'll do what I can though. Wish me luck.

And now, for those of you who didn't just skip the author's notes, or who decided to read the chapter first, then read the notes, here's Chapter 1 of Shattered Mind: Anger! (although I don't know what good that will do you if you belong to the latter group).

Chapter 1- Awaken to a Nightmare.

XXXXXXXX

What…happened?

My consciousness came back to me in a brush of wind. It sounded like I came through a wind tunnel as my vision slowly refocused. The cold rain splashing on my face, mixed with the chill of the cold stone ground, made waking up only easier. My breath came with much labor. After a quick recall, I remembered that I had gotten like this after fighting Beatrix. She had decimated all four of us, Zidane, Freya, Vivi, and myself, without even breaking a sweat. I was lucky to be alive.

Looking around, I saw that there was no more sign of Beatrix, Queen Brahne, or any Alexandrian forces. We had simply been left to die.

Turning my head the other way, I saw that Freya and Zidane were crawling to me, apparently unable to use their legs very well. They must've gotten their legs damaged in the fight just now. I blinked weakly at them, as they appeared blurred, my vision mixed with rain and exhaustion. I strained myself to lift my arm and reach out for them, through they were still a few feet away.

Guys… Are you alright?... Where's Vivi?... I wanted to ask, but the words became stuck in my throat. My mouth could barely even move. In fact, most of my body seemed numb. My only hope for recovery, it seemed, hinged on Zidane getting to my side and giving me a potion. I didn't know how hurt I was, but a potion would at least do something.

As Zidane and Freya neared, I could see their mouths moving rapidly. They seemed to be yelling something frantically, but I couldn't hear a single word. The only sound that I could hear was the constant rain falling from the clouds and smashing into the ground. I looked at them with my eyes open only as slits. I desperately tried to catch a phrase, a single word of what they were saying, but it was futile.

Kaiten… What happened? I tried to ask the Terran soul stuck in my head. Several seconds passed without any response. I could understand not being able to hear Zidane or Freya due to injury to my ears, but I couldn't fathom a single idea why I wouldn't be able to hear Kaiten.

Kaiten!

There was only more silence.

I didn't know why he wasn't saying anything. Normally, Kaiten wouldn't miss a chance to harass me about anything.

I looked back to Freya, who was now only a foot away from me. Her voice melted in with the sound of the rain until I could finally make out some of her words.

"…vor! Trevor! Hang on!" she shouted.

I widened my eyes as Zidane came up behind her and pulled out a vial I had never seen before. It wasn't the light blue vial that the potions always were. This one was a shining silver and seemed to give off a more healing glow. I didn't know of anything in our inventory that could have described it.

Wait… Didn't Zidane find an elixir back in the storage room in the last plaza?

I stretched my hand to reach out for the vial, dragging my hand limply over my chest. I could feel the armor under my shirt covered with dents and scratches. I knew that it might have been getting more damaged than I had realized over my trek through Gaia, but this was more damaged than it should have been. That's when my hand ran over the other half of my chest…

I didn't feel anything wrong at first, what with my body being numb, but before too long, I could understand why Zidane and Freya were so panicked as they rushed to my side.

…There was a gaping hole where my lung should have been.

My hand fell into the hole, fitting inside the warm, bloody opening in my chest. I could feel ribs and bits of organ inside where my lung should have been. My eyes widened as I realized the incredible severity of my situation. My lung was gone, my hand was stuck inside my chest, and I was probably a few seconds away from death.

It was too much. As the feeling came back to my body, I could feel my cold hand inside my chest, as well as the rain falling straight through to the ground, indicating to me that there was an enormous crater in my chest, going all the way through.

My back arched and legs kicked pitifully as the horror rushed onto me, prompting me to let out a gurgled scream, mixed with what I know knew was blood seeping from my mouth. Zidane and Freya leapt onto me, trying desperately to save me in the last remaining seconds of my life.

What the hell happened? What happened after I blacked out?

XXXXXXXX

Freya

From our position, collapsed on the ground in the Burmecian Palace's Central Arena, all four of us were openly exposed to the falling rain.

True as this was, I could hardly feel it. Not only were Zidane and Vivi passed out on the ground, and possibly dying, Trevor had somehow withstood Beatrix's attack and was standing again, ready for another fight. However, the disturbing thing was that he didn't seem like himself. His eyes had shifted to the same blood-red color that they had taken on when he had gone berserk a few days before. I didn't know what he was doing, but I knew that something was wrong.

Very, very wrong.

"It's been a while since I've gotten a real chance to fight," Trevor said as he flashed Beatrix a wicked grin. "Don't hold back on me. I want to enjoy this."

Beatrix, who had been staring in disbelief up until now, blinked away her confusion and addressed Trevor. "How are you standing?" she asked. "No one has ever withstood my Stock Break!"

"I just am," Trevor responded with a cocky smile. He took a short sword in hand and began twirling it by the cross guard.

Beatrix, the professional fighter that she was, quickly regained her composure. She held her sword before herself once again, ready to fight as long as was needed, it seemed.

For the short period that I have known Trevor, I could tell that he was a good person, if not a little careless. At first, he struck me as the kind of guy who wouldn't worry too much about his own problems, but would do whatever he could to help someone else with their problems. But now… he seemed completely different, like the only thing he cared about was combat and having fun at another's expense. He seemed…almost evil.

"Well, let's not waste anymore time standing around," Trevor said with a grin. "Shall we?"

Beatrix didn't even respond. Not verbally at least. She lowered her head and aimed her sword at Trevor's neck. She was apparently fighting defensively now, which at the moment, would have been the smartest thing for anyone to do. Who knew what Trevor was doing or how he was doing it. Beatrix's expression turned colder, showing more ability to concentrate in a moment's notice and deliver a deadly counter attack.

As Beatrix prepared for a longer fight, so did Trevor. He stepped back, holding both his short swords to his sides, leaving no defense for himself. Again, this was so unlike him. Trevor wasn't the most experienced fighter, but he at least understood the need for both offence and defense. Why he would go into such I stance, I couldn't guess. If he was just trying to lower Beatrix's expectations of how he would fight, then he was being extremely foolish.

However, he was up to something. The edges of his swords began glowing a light purple, almost like they were on fire. I understood this to be the kind of magic Trevor used, but I didn't know he could use it like this. Whatever he was doing, I had never seen anything like it before.

"I haven't been able to fight like this in waaay too long," Trevor said. "Do me a favor and don't die too quickly, ok?"

"Your arrogance is astounding," Beatrix retorted. She must have been tired of waiting for Trevor to attack because she ducked low into a crouch and launched herself at him. She kept her charge going by pumping her feet underneath herself as fast as she could apparently run.

Trevor didn't recoil from this. His smirk only grew, and for the first moment, I didn't know why. A second later, the flames building up on the edge of his swords flowed down into the tip of the weapon. They gathered into one collected sphere of energy, forming a large ball on each sword. Trevor began laughing, even as Beatrix came closer.

Beatrix's eyes widened as she ran the last few feet towards her target. Whatever Trevor's new attack was, had would have to use it soon.

"Too easy!" Beatrix announced as she prepared to stab Trevor through the gut.

However, her advance was soon halted. Trevor pulled back on his swords, sending them high over his head. He then thrust them back down into the ground, hard. The gathered energy expanded and was sent off into the ground, sending up a cloud of gravel and dust. Beatrix, seeing this at the last second, jumped to the side, avoiding the obvious smokescreen and any potential attack she could have received while in it.

Trevor pulled back his short sword, still holding a sphere of energy on one blade. "That one's called Explosion," he explained. "It's more effective when activated inside an opponent, although it's also much messier." Why he was describing things to his enemy like this, I didn't know. He seemed completely twisted now.

"You're…not like before, are you?" Beatrix asked, almost with a hint of hesitation. She quickly regained her composure, standing straight, with one hand on her sword, still pointed at Trevor. "Before, you were scared and hesitant. What did you do?"

Trevor just rolled his head back at her question, acting like he was insane. "I was possessed by an evil ghost," he explained, clearly being as apathetic as possible. "He's telling me to do very bad things." Trevor followed this up with a loud burst of laughter.

Beatrix scowled. She must have been too used to receiving fear on the battlefield. Trevor's acts of petty mockery were driving her on edge. "Killing you will bring me the greatest pleasure," she remarked. "I will remove you from this world."

"Do you even have depth perception?" Trevor asked, not staying on topic. "That mask over your eyes must make distance a real challenge. Ooh! That's why you missed me with that last attack, wasn't it? I guess you swung too early!"

"Shut UP!" Beatrix yelled, getting into another run. Her sword crackled with energy as she brought it closer to her chest, powering up another spell. The hilt of her sword became enshrouded in blue light, showing off her strongest magical attack.

Trevor just stood his ground, still smiling. If he didn't know what was coming next, he didn't show it, although considering what happened to Vivi, there was no way he couldn't have know. Instead, he just held out the short sword that still had energy waiting at the tip, pointing it at Beatrix.

As Trevor stood by, the Alexandrian General had finished gathering up the energy for her attack. She presented her sword and thrust it vertically at Trevor, launching her Shock spell at him.

Whatever the attack could have done to Trevor was quickly negated. The attack moved too quickly to be seen, but it didn't hit him, but instead hit his outstretched short sword. The energy in both attacks hit, causing a huge blast, nearly engulfing Trevor. The explosion didn't hit him, but he was knocked backwards. After being flung a few feet, Trevor quickly picked himself up, staying somewhat on guard at all times. Evidently, his newest attack, Explosion as he called it, could be used defensively as well as offensively.

"Boy, I didn't see that coming," he said. He swiped at a bit of mud clinging to his side, trying to get it off. "It really has been a while since I've fought like this."

However, Beatrix wasn't listening to a thing Trevor had to say. She was already leaping into another attack, ready to push Trevor back into submission, or kill him. She swung her saber down into his defenses, cutting only a section of his shirt. Trevor barely stepped back in time, avoiding losing an arm. He spun out of Beatrix's range, though she caught up to him before he could put up an effective defense. They crossed blades, hanging their lethal edges only inches away from each other's faces.

"What the hell kind of magic do you use?" Beatrix asked, staying her blade by Trevor's. "I've seen dark things in my days, but there's something different about what you use."

Trevor, like so many times before, didn't answer Beatrix's question before smiling. He simply pressed harder against her, managing to keep her at bay with his swords crossed in front of himself. "Bitch, you haven't seen dark yet."

With one final push, Trevor somehow overpowered Beatrix, sending her backwards by only a foot. Apparently, that was enough. He brought his swords over his head, powering them up together at the same time. Energy crackled between the parallel blades like lightning.

"I call this one Fin!" Trevor announced, swinging his swords down. They hit the ground together, releasing the energy out in front of himself. Immediately, the gathered energy formed into a large fang, rising out of the ground. It sped out of the blades as soon as it was unleashed, giving Beatrix only a fraction of a second to react.

Fortunately for her, Beatrix was able to recover in time and jumped to the side, dodging the assault. Trevor's attack went speeding into a pile of rubble on the far side of the courtyard, slicing through the section of rubble it hit like butter before stopping briefly and exploding.

Beatrix turned to face Trevor, her expression marred with anger and astonishment.

"Is there any attack you have that doesn't result in an explosion?"

"Well, I suppose I could just cut you with a blade," Trevor smirked.

Ignoring any other kind of remark she could have made, Beatrix dash forward again, intent on slashing Trevor to ribbons. Her blade swung low, coming up in a diagonal arc. Trevor easily caught this between the blade and hilt of his short sword. Beatrix then spun around, bringing the attack in the same way from the other side. Again, Trevor blocked.

Beatrix went into a quick series of slashes and cuts, aiming for Trevor's chest and throat. Each time she swung, Trevor blocked her. It seemed like his defense was impeccable. No matter what she tried, Beatrix couldn't land a hit on the dual-wielding student.

As the two of them were fighting, I suddenly realized that Zidane and Vivi were around as well, injured as they laid on the ground, blood collecting around them. Trevor had Beatrix distracted, so I had to keep the other two members of our party from dying. I tried to stand, but found that my legs wouldn't move. They must have been damaged when I hit the wall after the second Climmhazard attack from Beatrix. I pulled myself forward with my arms and slowly crawled to Zidane.

The front of his shirt was stained in blood. His face was contorted, twisted in pain. At the very least, his chest was pulsing quickly, indicating that he was alive, if only barely. I reached down to the pouch at his side and pulled out two potions. Uncorking one, I poured it into Zidane's mouth. I couldn't tell if he was conscious or not, but he drank it all the same. The potion quickly worked and Zidane's breathing slowed down, becoming less erratic and panicked. He was still unconscious, but he wasn't bleeding anymore at the moment and seemed like he would make it.

Meanwhile, Trevor and Beatrix were still going at it like never before. Beatrix threw one more swing at Trevor, only to have it blocked and trapped between Trevor's twin blades. She closed the distance between herself and Trevor, glaring at him hatefully.

"I don't know who you are or how you became so much stronger so quickly, but I am going to kill you!" Beatrix threatened.

"Oh are you?" Trevor responded, giving Beatrix a cocky grin.

"Yes," Beatrix said, before pulling her sword back. The sudden friction of the blades made for a perfect conduit for an attack. In a sudden burst of light and heat, Beatrix released a Climmhazard right in Trevor's face, knocking him backwards and sending him to his knees. Trevor recovered just in time to see Beatrix aiming her saber straight at his chest.

With one strong push, Beatrix managed to send her blade right into Trevor, piercing his right lung. The longhaired fighter could only kneel, stunned in what had happened to him.

"Now fall like all the others," Beatrix commanded, pulling her sword out. She flicked the blade once before sheathing it and turned away.

Trevor was pulled onto his hands and knees when Beatrix pulled her sword out of his chest. Blood seeped through his shirt and slowly pooled onto the pavement on the ground. Trevor began breathing quickly, suddenly going into shock. He clenched his hand, tightly shaking them as the blood seemed to enter and fill his lungs. I would have tried to help him then, but I knew that if I moved, Beatrix would turn on the rest of us and make sure we were dead. Our best bet was to lie still and help Trevor as soon as General Beatrix was gone.

However, Trevor didn't seem to feel the same way. As Beatrix neared the exit, Trevor, against all odds, stood up once more.

"You're just going to run like that, huh?" he taunted. Beatrix stopped in mid-step. She turned around to face him, eyes wide in disbelief.

"How-"

"You really don't know what you're dealing with, do you?" Trevor said in an aggravated tone. Holding his swords in one hand and the wound on his chest in the other, he easily made his way over to Zidane. He knelt down, opening a pouch on Zidane's hip and pulling out a pair of potion vials.

As he closed the pouch, Trevor glanced over to me, not moving his head. He gave me a wink. I assumed it meant that he knew the rest of us were alive and that I was just pretending to be dead for the moment. Why he was prolonging this fight and putting the rest of us at risk of death, I didn't know. Zidane and Vivi were still unconscious and I was in no state to fight. Whatever Trevor was doing, he had better have a good reason for it. If Zidane or Vivi died because he took too long to heal them, I would never forgive him.

Drinking the two potions simultaneously, the blood stopped dripping from Trevor's chest. The wound closed on his chest and he threw the two vials across the ground, letting them smash on the ground a few feet away.

Preparing for battle again, Trevor tossed one short sword in the air and caught it in his free hand. His swords were both lit with the same light and energy as they were before. Soon, another pair of spheres had gathered at their tips.

"Ready for round two?" he smirked.

The enraged general just looked at Trevor with a fierceness I had only heard about before. She lowered her head and stared with a deadly glare, making her look more like a feral beast than a human.

Instead of charging straight for Trevor, Beatrix quickly regained her composure. She pressed her hand to her chest and gathered energy into it. Trevor didn't do anything to stop the assault he had to know was coming. This was General Beatrix after all.

As Beatrix finished her preparation, she took a step forward. She held her saber back for a moment before swinging her hand down, launching the attack. A thick beam of blue light came from her hands, formed of chain-link energy. The attack spun forward, heading straight for her opponent.

Trevor, however, just smiled. As soon as Beatrix launched Holy, he brought his swords up and clapped them together, forcing the energy out of them. The two spheres came together and spiraled alongside each other like a tornado, aiming towards Beatrix. The attack never made it to Beatrix, but then again, I don't believe that it was ever intended to. Instead, they ran head on into the oncoming ribbon-like Holy and negated it, resulting in an enormous explosion as the two spells blew each other up.

Despite the tense moment currently between, Beatrix didn't do a thing to slow down. She used her momentum from the last attack to charge forward at Trevor again. Despite my travels throughout Gaia, I had never seen attacks as powerful as the ones these two were using. I desperately hoped that Trevor knew what he was doing. I could tell before that he wasn't as experienced as Zidane and myself in combat, but now I wasn't sure what he was. I stayed back and hoped desperately that he didn't get hurt.

As Beatrix closed the distance between herself and Trevor, she raised her sword above her head. With a quick slash, she brought the blade down. Several ribbons of light emerged from the tip of her blade. I remembered this attack. Beatrix had called it Stock Break before. She wasn't as close to Trevor as the last time she had used it—and who could blame her—but it was still close enough to do some serious damage when it hit.

Instead of smiling this time, Trevor just brought his swords to his sides, crossing his arms over his chest to do so. The next attack headed right for him, but rather than move, he just swung one of his short swords at the oncoming ribbon. As he swung, a small, crescent shaped disk, probably the size of the blade itself, was emitted from the blade and flew right into the beam that was headed towards him. Trevor's attack cut into Beatrix's, dissipating it upon contact. The Alexandrian general didn't let this stop her though, as she launched more and more of the light at the longhaired fighter.

With each new beam, Trevor swung again, throwing another attack at Beatrix. Their attacks came so quickly and so heavily that it was almost like watching the stars themselves fighting each other.

Finally, as the last of Beatrix's assault was destroyed, Trevor held his swords at his sides, standing triumphantly, but calmly.

"This has gone on long enough," he said. "Thanks for the practice, but I really need to end this before too long."

Beatrix just glared at Trevor in twisted rage. "You dare to talk to me like that you-"

She was cut off as Trevor bent down for a moment, only to launch forward at Beatrix with amazing agility. He came in low, swinging a sword at Beatrix's legs and following up with a strike to her shoulder. Beatrix managed to block the attack to her legs and deflected the swing at her shoulders with her sword's hilt, but with Trevor so close and armed with shorter weapons, she was at a clear disadvantage.

Trevor knew this to and kept himself too close for Beatrix to counterattack. He pressed forward, constantly attacking a joint or a limb on Beatrix's body. The experienced general knew what he was doing though and was able to block or parry every of Trevor's attacks cleanly.

It didn't look like there was any end in sight. Trevor would press forward and Beatrix would deflect. It just went back and forth as the two fighters went at it. It was almost mesmerizing.

I was sure Trevor would win if he kept this up, but I was wrong. If I hadn't seen this next part, I wouldn't have believed it.

As Trevor swung his blades at Beatrix, she apparently got used to it. She managed to predict where Trevor was going to make another swing at her legs and blocked it early, throwing him off balance. As Trevor struggled to regain himself quickly, Beatrix took the opportunity and plunged her sword into Trevor's stomach. It sank deep, but was pushed farther as she knocked Trevor back and vaulted over him, using her weight to push the blade even further into his gut. When she landed, Beatrix made it a point to get away.

Trevor would have none of this however. While on his back, he pulled a short sword back and swung it at Beatrix, releasing another crescent disk at her. Beatrix, with her back to Trevor, didn't see the attack in time and was hit in the back, resulting in a small explosion. The energy sliced into her back, charring away at the flesh and leaving her with a bloodied mess. She fell to the ground and landed on her back to the air.

Trevor, seeming to not notice the wound in his stomach, stood up and walked over to his fallen foe. She wasn't dead by any means, as her subtle thrashing gave away, but she was injured, something I could only dream about before now.

"Well," Trevor said with a chuckle as he came to stand over Beatrix's form. "That certainly took longer than I thought." He kicked her sword away, ensuring his victory.

Beatrix flipped over so she was lying on her back. She looked up at Trevor in a contorted gaze of anger. She grit her teeth, signaling her refusal to surrender. She raised her hand while it was glowing white. It was a healing spell. If she was to cast that, Trevor probably wouldn't be able to fight her down again.

That's why he stopped her.

Trevor slapped her hand away with the flat of his blade, halting the spell's effect. Beatrix tried to raise herself up to grab at Trevor's sword, or throat, I couldn't tell which, but he just kicked her back down and stood on her shoulder to keep her down.

"Sorry about this," he said. "But I don't like to be bested. It's not good for my reputation."

"Then get over yourself!" Beatrix retorted quickly. She raised her hand again and sent out a bolt of light as a Holy spell ran through the air.

Sadly for her, she missed. Trevor was too quick and managed to dodge just in time. He countered by sending a short sword into her hand, cutting her palm deeply. Bloody seeped out and Beatrix clutched it in pain.

"Still dangerous, aren't you?" he asked calmly, despite almost having his head taken off by the spell. "I like that. I'll make sure you get the credit you deserve from this fight."

Trevor smirked as he raised his short sword back, ready to strike. Beatrix only looked on, but didn't flinch. She only held herself calmly as she waited for Trevor to strike.

"Goodbye, dear General," Trevor said in one last taunt.

As Trevor swung, a spray of blood came out and seemed to cover everything around, like a small fountain. However, it wasn't Beatrix's blood.

"That's enough of that."

As the new voice came over the sound of rain, a new blast echoed through the arena. A huge beam of light came in the form of a new Holy spell and shot straight through Trevor's chest, halting his attack. The stunned warrior dropped his swords as his mouth hung open. As he looked down, he saw that an enormous hole had destroyed his lung and taken out most of the right side of his chest. He drew a hand across himself, as if in disbelief, before finally collapsing to the ground at the feet of his newest assailant. Trevor's eyes fluttered briefly before shutting closed at last.

The new attacker revealed himself to Beatrix, offering a hand down to help her up. His white hair dripped from the rain and reached the middle of his back, looking more like feathers than real hair. He was oddly dressed, mostly in white, but with a purple chest piece and shoulder armor. His stomach was exposed, as was the small of his back, revealing his pale skin. He wore an open sheet at his waist, which made it look almost like a skirt. Finally, there were his boots, which came up to his knees in a dark black color with metal fittings at the sole and top of his feet. I didn't know who this man was, but I could tell he was extremely dangerous.

"You look like you needed some help General," he offered. "Are you sure you're not losing your touch?"

"I'll be fine Kuja," Beatrix said, picking herself up without his help. The wound on her back was still open, but Beatrix cast a healing spell on herself and it managed to patch itself together.

"Her Highness will want us to leave for Cleyra immediately," she said. "Let's go."

Beatrix gave one last look at Trevor's fallen, mangled form before picking up her sword and leaving the arena.

This new person however, Kuja as Beatrix called him, stayed behind for a moment, looking the rest of us over. A large dragon flew in from the open ceiling in the arena, landing on the other side of the courtyard. The man didn't pay it any mind, too absorbed in examining us for some reason.

"Now what do we have here?" he said to himself. "Another filthy rat," I laid as still as I could as he looked down at me. "A rather interesting fighter in this one," he said as he passed Trevor's heavily bleeding corpse. "And… Hmm…" he paused as he looked down as Zidane. "This boy could become a problem."

Kuja gazed at Zidane for another minute before pulling the hair back on his head. Raindrops fluttered from his hair, only to be replaced by more from the sky. He turned away, heading towards the dragon. I lifted my head to see what he was doing, but doing so proved to be a chore. Even though I had taken a potion before all this, it was still really hard to move.

I watched as Kuja mounted the dragon, sitting just behind the monster's neck. The dragon quickly spread its wings and leapt into the air, taking flight immediately. I covered my face with my hand as the rain splashed over me from the dragon's flight. The two faded away into the light above, leaving the rest of us alone to recover. Abnormal as the behavior was, I wasn't going to complain on such a chance to survive.

Using what little strength I had left, I picked myself up by Zidane's side. Weakly reaching out to him, I took hold of his face and shook him. It didn't take long for him to rouse fortunately. I was glad that I had given him a potion before. Still, mine seemed to be wearing off, so I felt really weak. I wasn't hurt, but I was growing sleepy; something I couldn't do until everyone else was safe from death. Right now though, my main concerns were reviving Trevor and Vivi. Neither of them looked good.

"Zidane, wake up!" I nearly shouted. My hand slipped and pulled half of Zidane's face into a puddle. Fortunately, this seemed to do it as he opened his eyes soon afterwards. He blinked a few times before letting out a pained groan. Zidane flipped himself onto his side and faced me.

"Freya? …What happened?" he asked.

If the shock he had endured at Beatrix's hand wasn't so severe, I would have slapped him.

"We fell in battle…" I said as I felt my head lower in sleepiness again. "Trevor fought her alone though and got mortally wounded."

Zidane's eyes widened at hearing this. "What?" The thief looked around wildly for a moment before finding the fallen student just a few feet away. He hadn't moved from his position and his chest was still bleeding heavily.

Zidane didn't ask any questions about how it had happened or even why Trevor had or was able to fight Beatrix alone. Instead, he felt inside one of the pouches at his hip and pulled out the elixir we had found earlier. Zidane was obviously not feeling completely healed since he only crawled over to Trevor's side.

"Trevor!" Zidane cried out desperately. "Wake up! Don't die on us!"

I thought it a sad sight to see one friend trying to hard to save a friend who was as good as dead, but I sympathized with Zidane. I began pulling myself along on my hands to Trevor's side as well. "Trevor! Hang on!" I cried out as well.

Our yelling must have done something for him because seconds later, Trevor took a huge breath of air in. He spent a few seconds staring straight up, letting the rain pat his hair against his face, before turning his head to the side. What struck me as odd was that he didn't look like his knew what we were so worried about. How could he not remember going against Beatrix and getting his chest blown apart?

"Trevor!" Zidane called out again, but Trevor didn't seem to respond.

"Trevor!" I tried again. "Trevor, hang on!"

His gaze went from me to Zidane to the elixir in Zidane's hand. Weakly, he brought his hand up and tried to reach out for the mixture, but could only drag it along his chest. I tried to tell him to stop before his got his hand stuck inside his chest, but before I could, he gave one last push of energy, passing his hand over the wound. His left hand fell into his chest, but he seemed dumbly unaware of it. It was only a moment later that he looked down and realized what was going on. Trevor's eyes widened in shock, terror and pain. His breathing became shorter and more panicked and he began kicking at the ground, trying to get a foothold he would never get. He could only thrash pitifully in the puddle made of rainwater and his blood. He had seconds to live, at most.

"No!" Zidane yelled. He jumped on top of Zidane to get him to stop thrashing and carefully yanked his hand free of his chest. Using his legs to pin his arms and his weight to keep Trevor's body from moving around too much, Zidane popped open the elixir and forced the bottle into Trevor's mouth. It seemed a little crude at first, but Trevor had to take every drop. Forcing the bottle into his mouth like that was the best way to ensure his survival.

After a few seconds, Trevor was still kicking his legs in a panicked motion, but he was apparently drinking the elixir, which was all the mattered at the moment. He was so weak that all he could do was take quick, scared breaths inwards. It worked inasmuch as making him take the medicine mattered.

As Trevor's last few seconds of life seemed at hand, the elixir finally began to work. Despite his struggle, he had taken the entire vial and was beginning to calm down. His thrashing declined and I cold hear a sickening sticky sound coming from his chest. The organ, muscle and skin where the wound had been were healing. Bits and pieces formed at the edge of the wound and patched themselves from the outside in. In a matter of seconds, his wound had closed and all he was left with was a torn open shirt and ruined armor.

With his chest healed, Trevor was able to calm down a little. He brought a shivering hand up to the vial in his mouth and pulled it out.

"Zi…Zidane…" he tried to say weakly.

"What is it Trevor?" he responded, leaning in closer.

"…If you're not careful…and you pin me down like that… the fangirls will start squealing…" he chuckled pitifully. It was safe to say he was back to normal.

Zidane raised an eyebrow and recoiled. He pulled himself off of his friend and pulled out another pair of potions.

"Trevor, you're the fastest right now, so you need to give these to Vivi," Zidane explained.

Trevor's eyes widened as he realized the situation was still dire. Sitting up quickly, Trevor took the potions without a word and turned around, seeing Vivi on the other side of the courtyard. He picked himself up and started right into an awkward run. I assumed that he was still getting used to his new lung. Still, he managed to make it to Vivi well enough and picked the little mage up in his arms. He opened the vials one after the other and brought them to Vivi's mouth, allowing him to drink.

I had my doubts about Vivi being able to live after being in that condition for so long, but I heard a distinct coughing sound after a few seconds. Vivi had drunk the first vial and was working on the second one when Zidane and myself began making our ways over to them. Weakly, I grabbed my spear, which had been knocked out of my hand during the fight and had landed among the rubble where I had landed. If we used too many potions now, we'd be in trouble later if we really needed them. I still had one trick I knew which could save us now.

With Vivi revived, Trevor picked him up and carried him over to the rest of us. He kneeled down as Zidane and I pulled ourselves up and sat around him, letting Vivi down to stand on his own in the process.

"Are you guys going to be okay?" Trevor asked.

"We'll be fine." I said. "Just stay near me." I hoisted my spear up. I knew our best chance at fully recovering depended on this working, so I focused my energy as much as I could. A calming sensation seemed to spring forth from the spear itself as I gathered the healing magic within it.

"Reis's Wind," I called forth.

As the spell took effect, a pair of translucent green dragons sprung forth from the ground. As they passed us on their way up, the ground seemed to bring new life with it, and with that new life came a healing effect. A thin layer of green light settled over the area and onto ourselves, healing us with its touch. Already, I was beginning to feel at ease. My weariness was leaving me and I felt almost completely healed. Looking around, the same thing appeared to be happening to the others.

"Does that take care of everyone?" I asked. After getting a round of nods, I stood up. Zidane and Trevor followed suit. However, my legs seemed to buckle when I put my weight upon them.

"Can you stand Freya?" Zidane asked.

I just brushed him off with a wave. "It is nothing," I told him. I leaned on my spear for support.

"So, what do we do now?" Zidane asked. "The King of Burmecia is still alive."

"We'll need to find him," I responded. "And when we do, we'll need to build an effective resistance against Brahne's next attack."

"To Cleyra then?" Trevor asked.

I was taken back by his knowledge of where to go. Zidane and I knew where he was by listening in to Brahne's conversation with Beatrix and Kuja before the fight had started, but I didn't know why Trevor did.

"Yes, but how did you know that?" I answered and asked at the same time.

"Uh…" Trevor said at first. I took it that he was just tired. "I, uh… I learned about the history between Burmecia and Cleyra a while back in a history class," he explained. "Considering the situation, I think Cleyra would give the King of Burmecia clearance into their city, despite their touchy pasts."

As soon as he answered, Trevor gave an upward gaze to himself, along with a scowl. It was almost like he was angry at himself for not being prepared to answer the question in a timely matter. It didn't matter though, so I paid it no mind.

"Uh, um…" Vivi began.

"What is it Vivi?" I asked.

"Do you think well learn more about those mages if we go to Cleyra?" he asked.

"Yeah," Zidane said. "I think we'll learn a lot about them as long as we follow Brahne and that Kuja guy."

"Okay, I'm going with you," Vivi said confidently. It seemed Trevor's influence upon him really was having a continuous effect. I made a note to repay Trevor for it when this was all finished.

"Oh," Vivi began again. "What about the princess?" he asked.

"Dagger?" Zidane asked. "I'd never forget about her! She might not be here in Burmecia, but I know we'll find her soon."

"Confident, aren't you?" Trevor asked.

"It's what helps me sleep at night," Zidane joked back.

With our party healed again and our destination set, Zidane took point and started out of the arena first. "Well, let's move out!" he called out to the rest of us.

Vivi and I followed closely. I leaned on my spear as I walked, still having a bit of a shake in my legs. Vivi didn't seem to have much trouble, short of a small limp. Zidane was walking along without any apparent trouble at all. But Trevor…

Trevor had fallen behind. As we reached the exit to the arena, I turned around to see that he had only made it about halfway.

"Trevor, are you alright?" I called back.

He didn't answer. Instead, he just fell to the ground, gripping both sides of his head in agony. It didn't take a master engineer to see that something was wrong.

"Trevor!" I called, dropping my spear as I ran to his side. Zidane and Vivi stopped walking and turned around to see what was wrong, then ran back as well.

Trevor was practically clawing at the sides of his head, digging his fingernails into his temples. His face was twisted in horrified pain.

"My head…" he practically whimpered. "It's killing me."

Whatever was happening to Trevor had happened before. I recalled him complaining about his head hurting severely when he broke off from the rest of us after leaving Lindblum.

What was going wrong with him?

As the possibilities filled my mind, I remembered that Trevor had a lot of water fall into his lung as it was healing. I had hoped that the elixir would have negated the extra water, but apparently, it was just a foolish hope. I didn't know one thing, but my experience as a military fighter told me one thing.

Trevor was dying again.

XXXXXXXX

I know, I'm a bastard for taking so long to update, only to leave you with another cliffhanger. Sorry. XP At least the chapter was nice and long, right?

I'll do what I can to make the next update happen much faster, but with so many writing assignments (usually 4 a week), it'll be tricky. Still, long, enthusiastic reviews always make me want to write more, so by doing that, you'll help speed things up. I'll start writing the next chapter now, ok? I don't leave people hanging on these stories for so long because I like to. Blame my stupid major for having so much reading and writing involved.

Oh, and I've finally figured out how to get the polls working on the site, so if the National Primaries have you worked up, jump over to my profile page. At the top of the page is a link to this month's poll. Go ahead and relieve your voting stress by voting for something you care about and that you don't have to wait another few months to do anything about.

I wanted to point out one thing though. Some people might have thought that Kaiten was too powerful in this fight, as I know it seemed as I was writing it. I just wanted to point out that he did become a first lieutenant in the top special forces group on Terra by the time he was 20, so that has to count for something.

And speaking of Kaiten, I hope everyone enjoyed his Chi spells. The ones displayed in the chapter here are not all of them. Just be patient.

SPOILER WARNING! IF YOU DO NOT LIKE SPOILERS, TURN AWAY NOW!. Not only does Kaiten have an array of attacks, but Trevor gets to learn some and develops some on his own. You'll just have to wait and see what they are, ok?