So I can't apologize enough for how long this took me to update. There is no excuse for waiting over a year to update a story, and sadly, this isn't the first time I've done this. I know I lose a lot of interest in a story when it lays dormant so long, but believe me when I say that I will finish this story. I promise you that.

I will say that the main reason I waited so long to write this chapter was due to the ending that I originally planned. When I started this story I had an ending in mind…that was over five years ago. I was a teenager then, so clearly I'm a different person now. The ending I once came up with I don't really like anymore. I thought long and hard if I wanted to change it or not. I couldn't write this chapter until I decided the ending of the story because believe it or not, we are on the final stretch here. I came up with a couple different endings, but I wrote the entire story heading towards the original ending. So, even if I don't like it as much, I've decided I'm going to stick to it. I started this story with something in mind and even if I changed over the years, I want this story to remain the same. So for better or worse, the ending will be what I came up with five years ago. Of course, this means nothing to you. Maybe I'll give my alternate endings once the actual story ends.

And just before I start the story I wanna sum up some quick events, because I know it's been really long. In the last chapter Rinoa killed the five main mobs bosses in the city. There was a fear that with the bosses gone the crime would let loose on the city. Also, McGregor (Balambian mob boss) made a deal with Seifer and Squall at some point.

Also…things get a little lemony this chapter. Now, onto the story.


April 1st

Squall's POV

I walked down the street as casually as I could with Rinoa hanging off my arm as she pretended to be the typical girlfriend…it was annoying as hell.

"Hey peanut brittle, can we get ice cream!" She gleamed at me.

"No." I grumbled.

She pouted, "But why not?"

"A second on the lips, forever on the hips."

"The better not have been serious," She deadpanned.

"You don't have to be so over the top."

"No one wants to look at the lovey-dovey couple. You wanted to come along to meeting Kristi, so this is what you get."

"Whatever."

Rinoa demanded to see Kristi to convince her to wait for Zell and I would be damned if I let her go alone. I know the city was in war right now and I wasn't entirely sure what would happen when all the mob bosses died. I had a pretty good idea, but I was expecting the worst. I didn't want anyone out alone, and that included Rinoa.

I looked around to see everyone moving hastily, like they didn't want to be outside their homes anymore than they should be. Couldn't exactly blame them, shit was not a good place to be now. To be fair, this was one of the main streets of the city, so there were cops everywhere. The city didn't want its commerce to crumble so they made sure a couple streets and plazas were completely safe. People still had to venture out knowing the risks, but they would do it to keep busy. It was a protest in a small way, that no matter how bad life got, they refused to sit in their houses afraid. That's when fear wins, that's when evil takes over the world. But God forbid someone not getting their fucking cappuccino in the morning or a new pair of shoes for their night out. As dumb as it was, it became a new cool statement to party at night. You weren't 'cool' if you weren't brave enough to go to the club past curfew. People would always be people, and that meant people would always be fucking idiots.

At least the air was warmer today—nothing worth writing fucking home about. At the very least I could wear a lighter jacket and didn't have to be bundled under tons of clothes. The winter has been fucking crazy cold this season and I was more than over it. Some days it was in the sixties and other days it was down in the teens. Today it reached upper fifties so I'll fucking take it.

"So what you tell her?" I asked Rinoa.

She leaned her head against my shoulder playing the part. "Just said I wanted to explain some things and she agreed to meet me. I didn't tell her you were coming so don't scare her away."

"I don't know what you mean."

"Uh huh." I could feel her eye roll.

"I'm very affable."

"Right." She remarked. "There she is. Be laughable."

"I said affable."

"Oh whatever." She walked away heading towards Kristi.

A sly smile spread on my face, "You don't know what that means do you."

She maturely flipped me off over the shoulder before turning it into a wave for Kristi who was sitting at an outside table of a little café with a cup of tea in front of her. She was wearing jeans, tennis shoes, and a light fleece with sun glasses on. I watched as they hugged excitedly like girls tend to do. I walked up slowly and overheard them compliment their clothes or purse or hair style. I was already finding myself zoning out slightly before Kristi looked at me.

"Oh hi Squall, didn't know you were coming."

"I invited myself," I told her matter-of-factly. "Because I'm affable and fun to be around." I turned towards Rinoa, "Do you need more context clues."

"Fuck off."

Kristi laughed briefly, "I see you two haven't changed."

"We wanted to know how you were holding up," Rinoa told her as all three of us sat down.

"I'm great." She smiled.

"That's what everyone says after they go through a breakup."

"Oh me and Zell haven't broken up."

I met Rinoa's eyes quickly before intelligently figuring out what she meant. "Umm…"

"Zell told us," Rinoa covered me, "He said he ended it."

"He didn't mean it."

"Oh okay," I said as I raised my hand to pretend to scratch my nose and mouth to Rinoa 'she's fucking nuts'. Only to receive a glare from Rinoa.

"I'm not crazy."

"Of course you aren't," I told her as I figured out a plan of action to get away from the crazy ex.

"No really," she gave me a dead stare, "Clearly he's trying to keep me out of danger as he stops Blaine."

I closed my eyes in aggravation and covered my mouth with a heavy hand. "I'm sorry." I spoke through my hand, "Can you repeat that."

She said back looking surprised, "Did you really think I didn't know?"

"Know what?"

"You're the Saints." She looked back and forth between me and Rinoa.

"I'm going to rip that tattoo off his face." I growled.

"He didn't tell me," she quickly said. She looked at Rinoa since she didn't seem nearly as upset as me. "I just…know. Seven young people living in an apartment? All very mysterious, tons of money, always have different injuries and bruises. Zell leaving at random moments when he's with me. It wasn't hard to put it together."

I looked at Rinoa, "How many other people do you think know?"

She shrugged, "Guess we aren't as inconspicuous as you thought."

I sighed frustrated, "Okay well, this is a waste of time then and Zell needs to stop freaking out."

"Aw is he upset?" Kristi inquired.

"Your boyfriend is – how do I put this – killing hundreds of people?"

Kristi gasped, "Really?" What did she think he did if he was a part of the Saints? Hug people into submission.

"Upset is a fine word to describe him," Rinoa glared at me.

"This is fucking a waste of time," I stood up from the table, "Look you can't see him while this is going on, but I'll let him know you understand. Stay safe."

I walked away ignoring the calls from Rinoa after me. I heard her say something to Kristi then she appeared to my side.

"Great way to handle that." She glared at me.

"You did what you set out to do, didn't you?"

"Fair point." She sighed, "Can't believe she knew the whole time. Poor Zell."

"We'll tell him after."

"I agree. He's too good right now to say anything."

I looked at her questionably. "I thought you would disagree."

"No," She looked at me innocently, "It makes complete sense."

"This is the part where I see how you have become crueler."

She rolled her eyes, "Fuck off. It's the right decision."

"I agree, but we're still going to have a talk about how you've been acting."

"A fucking performance review?" She clicked her tongue, "You gotta be kidding."

"Everyone is just worried."

"Well I'm worried about the deal you made with McGreggor." Her eyes whipped to me, "How about we talk about that?"

"Fine."

"Oh no fight?"

"No fight, we can talk, you deserve to know. But not here. We'll go back to where I'm staying."

"Well Squall, you really are affable," She winked.

I opened the door for her to step into my shitty hotel room I was currently sharing with Seifer. It was exactly what one might expect a shitty hotel room to look like. One room, one bathroom, two beds next to each other, and an out dated TV on a decent sized dresser at the foot of the beds. We kept it neat, in case we ever had to leave in a rush or someone walked in when we weren't there. We weren't dumb enough to leave guns lying around or anything stupid like that. The only thing on the floor was a bunch of newspapers.

Rinoa picked one up, "You filled out the entire crossword."

"Yeah."

"No Squall," She turned to me, "Every one…you filled out every one." She motioned with her hands to the dozens of papers on the ground. The hotel didn't have a maid to clean, and even if it did, we wouldn't let her in anyways.

"Yeah…" I looked at her strangely, "I get bored when Seifer watches his fucking annoying shows."

"How smart are you?"

"Whatever." I crossed my arms. "Let's talk about how cruel you've become."

"Am I really that cruel?" She asked fairly. "I'm getting results."

I leaned against the wall, "You realize people are worried because they care."

She dropped the newspaper and gave me a cross look, "Sounds like an intervention."

"No, because you aren't crazy. You aren't delusional. You realize you're acting differently. You just make the claim there is nothing wrong with it. It's clear that after losing to Blaine you are going extra hard to never lose again. You never want to make a mistake again so you're being cold and calculating."

"Like you?"

"Yes, like me," I admitted openly, "But that's who I am, that's who I have always been. Do I look like I'm a happy guy? Do I really look like a person that someone wants to act like? I'm a warrior Rinoa, you know that, I know that, everyone knows that. Ever since I was a child I've been fighting my own war. Against scum, against evil, and that may sound very philosophical but it all adds up to me really just wanting revenge for what happened to me so many years ago. I don't know how to live any other way, I don't know what it means to be happy and not worry about something. I always was trying to accomplish something and that's why I've become like this. That's why I am who I am today, and it may not be pretty, it may not be a good thing, but right now it is what we need."

"That's what I'm doing." She wasn't shouting. She was remaining pretty calm. She was simply speaking her mind. "That's why I am like this. This is war right now, you can't have my old perky Rinoa self who only cared about clothes or boys or whatever fucking pointless trivialities I thought about before you opened up my mind. I'm good now Squall. Really good."

"Yes you are, but it is after all this. After Blaine, will this end, or is this the new you. I don't know if the new you is even bad. I haven't been around you enough, and maybe Selphie and Quistis are freaking out because they've never been this close to the blood before. They've never seen what it's like. I don't know Rinoa. That's why I'm not telling you to change, that's why I'm not saying what you are is bad. I just want you to realize there is a difference, we have noticed the difference, and to keep in mind…how it affects others…because…well there is nothing you have to hide from us…you know that. And…um and…you need to be aware of us. We're still all a family together and you can't…well you can't uh…scare Selphie and Quistis so much…they love you…and…and…"

The entire time I was speaking Rinoa was walking up to me and now she was standing only inches away from me. Her mischievous eyes were staring into mine as I was trying to maintain my line of thought. Her right hand was on my chest with her fingers delicately playing with the zipper of my jacket. Her left hand was resting on my hip bone.

"You know, during all that speech," her voice was hushed, "I could only think about what you would feel like inside me."

"I'm trying to have a serious conversation." I set up my defenses on instinct.

"You want me." She moved closer so our noses brushed up against one another as her lips were only a movement away from mine. "You can never have me, there is always something in the way, but right now…Squall…we're alone. There is no one that will interrupt us. You can have me here Squall. Right now if you want to and I know you do."

Her lips were so close to mine I felt every breath on mine. I was taking in her scent and feeling her warmth. Her hand was stationary on my hip but still teased in secretive ways. Her other hand moved up to my face and she ran a seductive finger across my jaw line. Her eyes were still connected with mine sending a clear but deep message.

"Squall, what you really need to know though," She was whispering. Her eyes closed for a moment before looking back into mine. "Is that I want you right now."

That was enough for me. I moved forward to close the rest of the gap to give her a deep kiss. My hand grabbed the back of her head as I kept kissing her. Her hands slid up to my jacket and pulled on it like I was going to back away soon…I wasn't. My other hand slid to her lower back. We kept kissing as she pressed into me against the wall. Then she pulled her head back and gave me a devilish smile. I tried to bring her close again to keep kissing but she resisted. I loosened my grip on her getting a somewhat confusing message now.

She noticed and smirked, "Gonna let me go that easily?"

I took her challenge. I wrapped my arms around her waist, lifted her up, spun her around, and sat her down on the dresser that had the TV on it. I grabbed her faced with both my hands and kissed her roughly. Her hands grabbed my arms and I felt her legs snake around my waist. Her hands moved to my hands and she pulled them off her face. She moved her head away to look at my face and gave me another devilish smile.

"What?" I spoke heatedly.

"Nothing," She responded teasingly as she moved one of her fingers across my lips. "Just playing."

I let out a small chuckle as I grabbed her hands and pinned them against the wall so I could keep kissing her. She was breathing heavier this time when I was kissing her so I know she liked it. She tried to move her arms but I had them pinned firmly. She smiled as I kissed her. That meant she was just testing how rough I would be…and she was into it.

We kissed like that for a bit but then I moved my hands down to her legs. She put her hands around my neck while I ran mine up and down her legs. Her hands moved to my coat again and this time she pulled it down. In doing so my arms were pinned for a moment. She pushed me back and moved off the counter. She shoved me onto the bed and was going to climb on top of me. As hot as that was, there was no way I was letting her have the control. I rolled off it and took my coat off the rest of the way. I grabbed her by the belt and dragged her over to me. I spun around and put her against the wall again. I grabbed her jaw roughly to look at me and she gave a taunting smile. Then I started kissing her once more, with my hand still on her chin holding her there.

It didn't last long because she was lifting my shirt up and I raised my arms so it could be removed. Now I was shirtless and she still had all her clothes on. That wasn't okay.

I swiftly removed her coat and pulled off her shirt as well. Her bra was black and nothing lacy or anything like that, but it was nice, and girls don't just wear nice bras for no reason. They do it when they plan on something happen. Rinoa definitely was planning this from the beginning.

I shoved her back against the wall and grabbed her hair in my fist. I yanked her head back so I could kiss her neck. I started at the jaw line and worked my way down. I bit her collar bone gently and then kept placing slow kisses. I moved down to her chest and kissed right up until the bra stopped me. Her hands were around my head pressing me to her chest and I could hear her heavy breathing.

I moved back up with a smirk and could see the moment of disappointment on her face. I kissed her but she pulled away.

"Put your coat back on…" She said it as if embarrassed to ask but she somehow also managed to make it sexy.

I was never one to argue a woman's wants.

"Course love." I said in my native Balamb accent because I know what that does to her. I didn't miss her eyes lust over for a moment when I said it and I knew I was speaking in this accent from now on.

I scooped my bomber jacket off the ground and slid it back on. Her hands found my stomach and ran up my chest with her eyes following them all the way. Her eyes met mine and I could see all her devilish vixen ways were crumbling as she just wanted me now.

Again…I was never one to argue a woman's wants.

I picked her up around the waist and turned around to throw her on my bed…well actually…this was Seifer's bed, but I wasn't going to point that out.

I kept kissing her neck as I moved my hands underneath her to reach the bra clasp. She arched her back allowing me to and I unhooked it. I pulled it off and moved my hands on top of her breasts while I went back to kissing her lips. I could tell she was crumbling even more as I kissed her. This time I pulled away teasingly and she quickly grabbed my face to pull me back to her. I grabbed her hands with mine and pinned them above her head again. I kissed her neck and moved downwards…slowly. Very slowly. I bit her skin now and again gently. I moved to her exposed chest and paused a moment knowing she was waiting and making her wait longer. Then I finally kissed her where she wanted me to and I could hear her release a soft breath. But I didn't stay there long and moved down more. I released her hands and moved mine to her chest. I kissed her stomach and her hands moved to grab my hair. I kept moving until her pants blocked me. I kissed right at her pants line and pulled them down slightly to kiss just a little further.

I felt her leg twitch slightly and I smirked in victory. She was definitely mine. I undid her belt and pulled off her pants and underwear all in one; leaving her completely naked on the bed. I grabbed her legs and dragged her over to me. I kissed down her one leg starting from the ankle all the way to the inner thigh. I felt her legs shake slightly from the building of anticipation inside her. I kissed her hipline and then down her other leg to her mid thigh. I moved back up and I could feel her wanting me.

I kissed her hips and moved closer to where she wanted me to go, but then I moved back up to her face and I watched as she let out a breath. She looked upset but also craving more—craving me. I kissed her lips and she mumbled something but I didn't hear. I pulled away to let her speak.

"I want you now." She whispered into my ear.

Skip the foreplay? Oh fuck yeah. Not like I needed it.

I undid my pants and slid them off. I positioned myself on top of her. I used a hand to slowly guide myself in. She inhaled sharply as I did and when I was fully in she breathed heavier. I didn't move and let her adjust to me. Then I slowly began moving in her. Her hands were on my back as she kept breathing heavy, and soon my breath was heavy as well. I kept the pace slow but consistent. I kept kissing her neck and soon she matched my rhythm with her hips.

She moaned softly in my ear and that was her asking to go faster. I didn't go much faster but just quickened the pace a bit. She moaned a little louder and her nails pressed into my back. I kept the motion constant and then I started to really feel it. I was holding myself up slightly but my arms were getting tired so I put more body pressure on her. My face was dug into her neck as I kept moving.

I moved a little faster, and then faster, but nothing porn-star fast. I wasn't going to jackrabbit her.

I was playing off her moans, off her breath, her nails in my back, the hips moving into me. I could tell when she wanted it to be fast or slow and long and I would mix it up a little bit but mainly I was always constant. And then I felt the rise, in me and her. Her moans were getting louder and longer. Her nails were clawing my back now and one hand moved up to grab my hair roughly. I moved faster into her. She was starting to lose it, moaning loudly and then I started hearing my name. She kept saying not to stop and I knew she was seconds away. So was I in fact.

She dug her nails into my back harder than before and she squeezed my head into her shoulder. She bit my neck—hard. Her back arched pushing her hips into me as she was climaxing. I was going to stop soon to give her a rest, but I was only seconds away and my body wasn't listening to me anymore. It felt too good so I kept going and I knew she knew why. After another second or two I finished and felt my body collapse on her.

I rolled off her and laid there. She rolled over and put her head on my chest. We just laid there and breathed heavily together. Both sweaty in the afterglow.

She was the first to break the silence.

"I hate missionary."

I let out an abrupt laugh. "Really? I didn't notice."

She laughed as well, "Worst position there is."

"Didn't hear you complain."

She let out a small laugh and then tapped her finger on my chin, "I'll be right back."

I watched her get up from the bed and head towards the bathroom.

"You even going to pretend you aren't staring at my butt?" She called out without looking at me.

"Nope." I watched her naked body disappear around the corner.

I laid there with a smile on my face. I thought I would be worried or anxious or over thinking everything right now. But in reality…I just felt happy.

Once Rinoa came back I went in the bathroom to clean up a little myself. Once I was done I crawled back into the bed.

"Can I take the coat off?" I asked her amused.

She gave me a shy smile, "Not yet."

"Didn't know you had fantasies about me in my jacket."

"Oh shut it." She put her head back on my chest. "Do you still think I'm too cruel? Because I'm pretty sure you find me more attractive now."

I let out a soft chuckle, "This and that are different. I always figured you liked it rough."

"Oh you did huh?" She looked up at me.

"And don't think I didn't notice how you seduced me."

"Excuse me," She sat up and narrowed her eyes.

"Oh please." I pushed her back down on my chest. "We were talking about something you didn't want to and you put sex on the table. And your legs are shaved. I've lived with you, and I know enough about women to know they don't shave their legs unless they are wearing a bikini or trying to get some."

"Yeah well you didn't refuse."

"Yeah, yeah. I'm a typical guy apparently."

"Anything but typical." She replied. "But now it is your turn to talk."

"Oh?"

"I have questions that need answering."

"Go on then," I put an arm behind my head and closed my eyes.

"I want to know how you plan on dealing with all the loose crime now. I want to know what the deal between you and McGregor. And I want to know how you got your scar."

"Threw that in at the end there I see."

"Yup, but doesn't mean I don't want to know it."

"Fine," I told her I would reveal the truth, I wasn't lying. "The first one is pretty easy. I had a friend back in Balamb—Nida. I didn't exactly hang with a good crowd. This friend was in the Balambian mob and we went separate ways when I came to Galbadia. The Balambian mob has always been looking to move in on Galbadia territory. I gave them an opportunity I suppose."

"You traded one Balambian mob boss for another?" Rinoa inquired aggressively.

"No." I shook my head even if she couldn't see it. "The actual Balambian mob isn't nearly as bad and they have more rules. They don't deal with drugs and they don't hurt women or children. I'm not saying they're good guys, but they are better than what we had. They aren't trying to take over Galbadia or anything of that nature. They want some docks to control shipping rates. It's practically white-collar crime. But again, they aren't good guys and I gave them fair warning what would happen if we caught any of them. And I'm not foolish enough to think just killing the mob bosses will end the mob. Crime will never stop and there will always be mob bosses. But there is no doubt houses are fighting right now for power and there will be some division. That makes them weaker, more vulnerable, and easy pickings."

"Also makes them more wild." Rinoa added.

"True. That's where my friend comes in. They already are getting control and will prevent any major gang wars. At least out in the open. The city is basically a war zone already. But this will keep the city safe from the chaos."

"So apparently you make lots of deal with mob bosses."

"This is the second time only. And I know these guys who came over from Balamb. A lot of them are good guys. Besides, aren't we technically the bad guys too? It is a matter of perspective. Again, I'm not saying these guys are saints, but they are better than what we had, and they will keep order. I know them and the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Which was every other mob."

"You knew McGreggor pretty well apparently." Rinoa didn't quite snap at me but there was definitely a tone in her voice.

I let out a deep sigh, "Well that story and my scar story are actually one in the same. It's a long story, but I'll keep it brief as I can." I took a moment to think of where to begin. "You know it was just me and Seifer at first. We were on the force together and got sick of all the bullshit politics. I can't tell you how many times we watched people get off their crimes because their lawyer was better or some shit like that. If someone is guilty, and it can be proven, then nothing else should get in the way. It's fucking-"

"Squall," Rinoa cut in, "You don't have to preach me to."

"Right, sorry." I gather my thoughts again. "Anyways. So Seifer and I were just starting out. We killed random thugs on the street and whatnot. Basic stuff. We happened to get this one group of guys working for the Red Devils. They told us about this drug shipment and we being arrogant, young, angry guys figured he could stop it. We went in shooting and killed at least a half a dozen guys before they got us. It was dumb, we didn't plan, and we didn't have the proper intelligence. But we were cocky back then and definitely dumb."

"So they took you to see the boss I'm guessing?"

"Yeah." I relived the moment in my head. "Wasn't exactly a peaceful ride getting there. Typical things happened. Got the shit kicked out of us in the cars and then dragged to the basement. They told us what they were going to do to us and how they were going to in every possible detail. Then the boss Caleb Thomson came down and gave us a good stern talking to. He then took a knife and ran the blade between my eyes. That's what the Red Devils did to those that wronged them. Some people weren't killed. They were just scarred so everyone would know what they did. They were definitely planning to kill us though, but our bodies would be a message for no one to mess with them."

"I always wondered how you got them." Rinoa commented.

"They are reminders for not getting ahead of ourselves and for messing up. I've learned to live with it."

"So how'd you get out?" Rinoa asked to move the story along. She knew I didn't want to keep talking about my scar.

I let out a quick laugh, "They tied us to wooden chairs. The fucking dumbasses. They left the room to discuss something and didn't leave anyone with us. Seifer and I could get on our feat barely but it was enough. We both jumped backwards so we'd fall directly on the chair, and we tried to aim for one leg specifically. The leg snapped off, our legs were free, and then we could slam them against walls, and we kept jumping and landing on our backs."

"No one heard you?"

"Sound proof room," I answered. "We got free, swung the door open, and came charging out. Their faces were priceless. Those first couple people we had to fight bare-handed so it was bloody, but we got their weapons. Then we proceeded throughout the house and killed everyone we saw that we thought belonged to the Red Devils. Eventually we came to Caleb Thomson. I gave him one of my usual speeches then blew his brains out. Seifer naturally continued shooting his dead face until it was almost completely ripped off. We were looking bloodied and beaten but we weren't done. We set the house on fire, destroy evidence and whatnot."

"Been there," She joked.

"Yeah exactly."

"So what aboutMcGregor?"

"I'm getting there," I groaned.

"Alright, alright. Go on."

"So the building was burning, and we walked outside to come face-to-face with a group of armed men pointing their guns at us. Behind them was McGregor. We walked up to us, saw us all bloodied and beaten, and could put it together. He knew we were the guys going around killing criminals. We weren't big yet for the public to know us but if you were a criminal you did. He said he should kill us, but luckily for us he hated Caleb. He said we gave him a great opportunity to advance his own territory. He realized that we could be useful to him or a big threat. So he made us a deal for our lives. He would let us go and we could carry on with whatever he wanted to do, but he could not go after him. Essentially, he hired us as contractors to take out his business rivals. We didn't really have much choice so we agreed figuring it wouldn't really matter. But…then he took our pictures, took our fingerprints, and the next couple weeks would sent us letters, messages, phone calls, even texts saying he could kill us whenever he wanted.

"So we decided to get even further off the radar. He didn't know where we were anymore but he still had our names and faces. We were afraid he'd give us up but he never did. So Seifer and I stayed out of his way and continued to do our own thing. I always wanted to get him but there was no scenario where we get out alive. Even now, I'm sure there is a contingency plan for some thug to find me and Seifer to kill us. But, we are even harder to find now so I doubt they will, and after the new Balambian Mob takes over – because many of McGregor's men will be smart and join the new family – they will call off the hit if there is one. So we're safe."

"That was the deal?" She looked up at me with earnest eyes.

"Yes," I told her with a smile, "I wasn't actually working with McGregor. He was blacking mailing us more or less, and I finally was able to react."

"That makes me feel better." She pressed her head into my chest more. "Well I got you your revenge, don't worry."

"I know you did." I told her running my hand in her hair.

"So what's the plan for Blaine then? Keep doing what we're doing? You know he's doing another video tonight?"

"I do. Seifer and I have something lined up tonight. We timed it up with Zell and Irvine as well. We're going to start sending more messages to counter his own. Get the public with us. Then hopefully Blaine sends another message with less encryption. Quistis said that would work."

"Yeah," Rinoa nodded in my chest. "She said if he sends a spontaneous message it won't have as much encryption and she should be able to hack it. Find a location and then if we rush there fast enough we could get him. But that is waiting for him to send a message, and even if he does, it could be as protected as all of them."

"I know." It was tough, there was no right answer. "Everything is a gamble. But you took our mob bosses and that's a huge step. I think we just threw the ball into Blaine's court and now we have to wait to see what he'll do."

"And how do we stop him when we catch him?"

"Irvine shoots him in the face or we send Zell to kick his ass. I don't wanna take any more risks. He's clearly better."

"He has weaknesses." Rinoa retorted.

"Yes, I know. The ground grappling. Still, I think we should just let Zell kick his ass for us. That's a guarantee."

"True. And what if he has a bomb or a dead man's trigger or something?"

"Fuck it." I answered coldly.

"Really?" She lifted her head to look at me.

"Blaine needs to be stopped, and he is causing havoc every day. If people die when he dies, I bet it will save more lives in the end."

"That's fucking heavy though."

"Yeah," I breathed deeply. "It needs to be done, but hopefully that won't happen. And we don't even know if his dead man triggers go to anything."

"Also true." Rinoa sighed, "There is too much we don't know."

"So for now, just rest."

It was a good rest and break from the world. Every day we were getting dirtier and dirtier. Losing ourselves. Rinoa was the main example but I know everyone was starting to feel the harsh reality. We were trying our best and it didn't feel like it was even doing anything. Sure we were in overdrive taking out more crime, but against Blaine there haven't been any changes. But I wasn't expecting that. I wasn't expecting Blaine to suddenly panic or change his entire plan of action because we changed ours. I know once we get the people on our side – or at least get them a backbone where they stand up against Blaine – things will be different. Blaine has slipped up twice and both times we almost got him. That means he's human. He makes mistakes, and we just haven't capitalized on them yet, but we will.

We just need the chance.

After a couple hours or laying in silence – pretty sure she fell asleep as girls always tend to nap constantly – I needed to start preparing for the night. She understood and got dressed. With a simple kiss goodbye she was on her way.

It was strange. A kiss goodbye meant more than the sex we just had. You can have sex and it won't mean anything. You can be messing around and having fun with sex. But very, very rarely does anyone actually give a goodbye kiss for no reason other than actually sending a message of compassion.

I walked away from the door and fell backwards onto my bed spread-eagle. I let out an exhale of air. There was a lot of bad shit in the world right now, but I currently felt happy. I don't feel happy…ever. That's what one girl can do to you I suppose.

"Alright too much mushy stuff." I reached under my pillow and pulled out a handgun. I sat up and slid out the clip. "I'm killing people soon. Get in the game."

It was useless. I just kept thinking of Rinoa's naked body under mine. Her hips moving into me, her hands on my back, her moans in my ear, and the heat she gave me. I sat there thinking about all this for I don't know how long, but what broke me out of it was Seifer walking into the room.

"It smells like fucking sex in here." He sniffed and made a disgusted face.

I gave him a blank stare.

"You might as well be smiling from ear to ear," He shook his head, "Fucking about time. Couldn't you open a window or something at least." He plopped down on his bed.

My gaze drifted to his bed and his eyes followed mine until his head was almost completely backwards. The gears turned in his head and his head snapped back at me. "Are you fucking serious! Even when you're having sex with a girl you still think of me?"

"What!" I exclaimed.

"You're such a fucking pervert. I don't know if I can room with you."

"Blow me."

"Not literally though, right, because that would be crazy. Like having sex on my bed!" Seifer shouted.

"Oh get new sheets."

"I bought these sheets." Seifer grabbed a handful of them and lifted them up to me. "The hotel ones were disgusting. So you owe me new sheets."

"Whatever." I gave up and laid back on my bed.

There was a moment of silence.

"So…butt stuff?"

"Fuck off Seifer."


Rinoa's POV.

When I got back to the hotel no one else was there. I took a shower to clean up and then I just laid in my bed. I couldn't help but think about Squall, and I couldn't help but think about how far I've come. Not to say Squall was some accomplishment or something of the sort, but just how I practically idolized him as this almost super hero along with the rest of the group. Then I joined, and I was this little girl who didn't know anything. Now I was a killing machine and more confident than I have ever been. I was helping to save the city. Me. I was. Other people are huddled up at home scared and wishing for this to end. I was the person trying to end it. I was hunting the person everyone was afraid of. That's because of what Squall turned me into. I was a fighter, a survivor; I was a person capable of extraordinary measures. I don't care if this is hubris talking, this is how I felt, and it felt great.

Also…getting laid for the first time in a long while does a lot for one's mental health.

After a while Selphie came back and looked really relieved as well. Seriously…sex helps. There's even science behind it. Science!

We talked like normal girls, saying what happened, and trying to get all the details from one another. She practically squealed when she heard about me and Squall. She was also a lot better at being a typical girl than me because she was able to get out every little detail of what happened.

"Ew missionary is the worst," She groaned.

"Right!" I exclaimed.

"At least he didn't jack rabbit hump you." She made a puking face, "Like why do guys think we wanna be pounded at super speed?"

"Selphie!" I laughed

She shrugged, "Just saying. Pretty sure it's fucking porn, ruined it for all us girls."

I couldn't control my laughter as it was overtaking me, "What do you mean?" I managed to get out.

"I'm just saying…porn stars always do weird as shit and they get pounded a million miles an hour, so guys watch all that weird shit and think that's what girls want." She gave me a cheeky grin after as I tried to manage my fit of giggles.

The door opened and Quistis walked in. She instantly smiled seeing us act like typical teenagers laughing on a bed, "So what's going on?"

"Rinoa boned Squall!" Selphie exclaimed.

"Selphie!" I haven't blushed in a long time, but even shouting that out made a little color drift to my cheeks.

"Oh she's embarrassed," Quistis smiled.

"Guys!" I cried out. "It wasn't-"

"Wasn't what?" Selphie cut me off, "Him railing you?"

"Him plowing you?" Quistis added.

"Not you too Quistis!"

"Did he churn your butter?"

"I don't even wanna know what that mean," I groaned as I dove my head into the pillows.

I felt Selphie fall down with me and wrap an arm around me. Then Quistis did the same on my other side. They were essentially wrapping me in a group hug, but we were just lying face down on the bed.

"You aren't gone, Rinoa," I heard Quistis whisper. "Sorry, we overreacted."

"It's okay." I mumbled through the pillows. "Tensions were high."

"You're still our little Rinny," Selphie spoke softly as well.

I wrapped both my arms around them. We held each other like this for I don't know how long. It certainly wasn't hours, but I wasn't keeping track of time. It felt nice lying with them like this.

Quistis was the first to sit up and break the silence. "So Seifer said something about the guys having something planned tonight? You hear anything about that?"

I turned around so I was lying on my back, "Squall mentioned something."

"So did Irvine." Selphie sat up like Quistis. "Also said Zell was losing his mind. How did the meeting with Kristi go?"

I let out a snort, "She already knew."

"What?"

"Yeah, there was no point in the fake breakup, the second it happened she understood Zell was going deep to fight Blaine. Apparently she's known we were the Saints for a while."

"Well…were dumb." Selphie clicked her tongue.

"Yup," I let out a brief chuckle, "wonder how many other people know and we just think we're oh so smart."

"To be fair, she is a lot closer to us than anyone else." Quistis said.

"Did you tell Zell?" Selphie inquired.

I let out a sigh, "Squall and I decided we should wait. At least a little bit. I know-"

"Rinoa!"

"It makes sense." Selphie cut in, "It's cruel, and I think it's wrong, but you don't have to explain it. Irvine told me Zell is doing incredible work, better than ever before. Telling him about Kristi is only going to make him softer, and right now, that isn't a good thing. And whether he knows it or not, Kristi is waiting for him."

"But Zell is killing himself on the inside." Quistis argued.

"Then let's fucking catch Blaine so he can find out the truth." I shot back.

"Well Seifer told me to be ready. They are trying to get Blaine to trip up, I doubt he will tonight, but they are attacking him hard apparently. Seifer wouldn't say more."

"You should start setting up then," I told her, "Blaine is going to send his fucked up message soon, I'm sure the guys will have some rebuttal afterwards."

"What if Blaine decides to send a second message?" Selphie asked. "Like if he sends one, then the guys counter and Blaine doesn't want them to have the last word, so he does another one. Uses the same channels and whatnot. Could you decrypt it the second time?"

"Yes." Quistis answered immediately. "He uses a new IP every time, he reroutes it a bunch, but the original IP is always there, I just have to find it. By the time I find it usually, it's too late. I'm sure he doesn't stick around there either. But…if he sends another message on the same IP, using the same router and everything, I would already know where he is."

"Really?" I grew excited.

"I never attack any of his software, at least not yet. I always just sort of…watch it. I can get in, but it's too late so I don't do anything, I don't want to let him know I'm in it. He's smart so he probably assumes I am, but I've never left a footprint. He has no evidence of me ever being there, which means, he might think I never have hacked him. Maybe he will send another message tonight. All the setup for his videos will take a long time, and there is no way he can set up a new one in time. Not with as much security anyways. If he does do that, I can go at it strong and probably figure out where he is anyways. But that's all assuming he'll be risky enough to do that, and he has never done anything risky. I don't think he'll bite."

"Can't you set a trap for him somehow?" Selphie asked.

"There's a Honey Pot I suppose," Quistis crossed her arms thinking, "That's essentially putting a lot of fake information into one area so a hacker thinks that's where he wants to go. But when he gets in there, he's trapped. But that's when someone is digging for info, Blaine isn't doing that."

"What if he was trying to access something?" I pressed. "Like, a certain website, or stream, or something like that. Can you get to that site first and set up a Honey Pot there. So if he goes in and tries to take over that stream, you'll lead him to the wrong area, then trap him."

Quistis thought hard, I could see the lines on her forehead growing cross. "Yes…yes I think I could. But that's very specific. There's almost no way of knowing what he would try to access before he does it."

"There might be." I smiled mysteriously. "I gotta call Squall."

I had a very long phone call with Squall explaining what I thought was a good plan. He plotted a few holes in it before patching it back up, and then gave his consent. He said it would easily work with the guys' plans tonight. If Blaine didn't take the bait, then we didn't waste our time, we were still sending a message. It was just an extra step if Blaine did send a second message tonight. And the way everyone was talking, this might be the night we could get Blaine.

If…if…only just if though.

The time seemed to fly by as we prepared. Selphie left a while ago to get what she needed. Quistis was sitting at her computer setting everything up, and gave me a confident smile when she finished. This way, if Blaine sends another message on the same server with the same protection, Quistis will easily find him. If he sends a second message, there is no way of having the same amount of security, and Quistis is positive she will be able to find him anyways. There is still no way of knowing if Blaine will even do that though. That really depends on how strong a message the guys' can send and after talking to Squall it didn't sound like they were doing anything crazy. So who knows if this would work.

Eventually the time came for the news, and right on cue it started up with Brenda Bree's stoic face staring into the camera.

"As it has become our weekly ritual, we let a madman spread his message. We do not try and hide him message, because we want the world to see what a heinous man this truly is. The world needs to see what a monster Blaine is, and that he needs to be stopped. As he always do; we will show as much as it can before it becomes too graphic. We would like to remind you that this will undoubtedly be deeply disturbing on almost every level, and viewer discretion is advised."

The camera switched to show Blaine's face with an eerie smile plastered on it.

"Well hello world." He tilted his head the madman he was. "I'm disheartened to tell you that tonight is not nearly as deep or philosophical as my other lectures. I am not here to tell you about my deep insight into the universe, or my understanding on social structures of every man, woman, and child. I am not going to go on this long, long rant about the broken systems and illusions of the world that people follow blindly. How some things are described as morally wrong in some respects but are acceptable in other areas. This is more social constructs than actual ethics I suppose. But then again, those two often go hand in hand."

He backed up from the camera and sat on a stool. There was nothing behind him but empty space. That meant he was most likely in a warehouse like he usually was, but seeing how there are hundreds in Deling, that doesn't really mean anything.

"Killing is wrong, yes?" Blaine crossed one leg over the other pretending to be professional. "I kill people, and everyone hates me. The Saints kill people, and everyone loves them. Isn't that just so interesting? I get it, I know, it's different. There are different circumstances behind all this killing, and that can make it justifiable. But admitting that is admitting there are proper times when one can kill, is that not true? Some people of course say there is never a right time to kill, no matter what. Well, those people are boring, but at least they stand firm behind a conviction. What about soldiers fighting to defend your freedom? They are allowed to kill because they are protecting their country, right? What about when someone breaks into your house? You can grab a knife and kill them right? That's fine, but what if they leave your house? Can you chase them down the straight and kill them? No! That's illegal, that's murder. But…is it? That person was just threatening you, and the difference between their death is literally a measurement of distance. Now is that not strange?

"We put so much into when it's right to kill or wrong to kill that we can use a ruler to determine if someone was justifiably killed or if someone was murdered wrongly. Don't we get mad when an animal kills a person? Isn't that just their nature? We're all animals and we all must kill to survive. You kill someone else so you won't be killed in turn. Even socially, you may ruin someone else's business so yours will survive. That's another type of killing, not nearly as bad mind you, but everything is killing in retrospect. Then again, the entire point of this is saying killing isn't bad. We give reasons to when killing is wrong and when it is right, but I'm here to argue. It's always right! Every-single-thing kills in this world. Bugs, animals, fish, and especially people. Yet, we are pretentious enough to pretend like killing isn't natural? But it is."

Blaine stood up and skipped up to the camera—displaying the madman card more and more. He turned it until it showed two people kneeling on the ground. They were facing each other but with bags over their heads. One was looking around constantly trying to gain a sense of his surroundings and the other one sat completely still. I wondered if he was knocked out to be that still. Their legs were shackled to the ground with tight bindings, and it looked like they wouldn't be able to move their legs at all. Their hands were bound behind their back and since they weren't making sounds I assumed they were gagged.

Blaine waltzed over to them and removed both the bags. They were indeed gagged. They were both adult males. One with pasty white skin, and the other had darker skin. The pasty guy was the one who nervously looked around and had tears streaming down his face already. The other guy sat there with his eyes closed, almost peacefully.

Blaine removed the gags and immediately the pasty one started begging and saying "oh God" over and over. The other guy didn't utter a single noise. The man stopped begging when Blaine slapped him across the face. He undid both their hand bindings. The pasty guy's hands twitched nervously in his lap, and moved all around his body. The other guy gently placed them on his legs.

"This is Brian," Blaine pointed to the pasty man, "And this is Lee." Blaine motioned to the other one.

"Now!" Blaine exclaimed standing between the two of them. "You are stuck to the floor, you cannot move, you cannot run. You can only fight. I will put one sharpened pole between you two. Kill the other person and you can go free. That's it. And we'll let the people decide if killing was acceptable in this circumstance. Whatever it takes to survive right? Oh…and if you refuse to I'll set you both on fire and let your skin melt off until you die."

He's a sick bastard.

Blaine held the makeshift weapon between them. It wasn't even two feet long and looked like a normal metal pole but sharpened at one end. Brian eyes darted between the pole, Blaine, and Lee. His nervous eyes fixated on that pole and he opened and closed his fists. He was going into survival mode.

"Annnnnd…go!" Blaine dropped the pole between them.

Brian leaned forward as far as his body would let him and slammed his hands on the pole. It clanged against the ground for a moment before Brian yanked it back towards him and held it up to strike. But he hesitated when he saw the person he was supposed to kill. Lee was still, he never opened his eyes, and he didn't make a single move. He kept his hands on his legs kneeling there peacefully.

"It's okay." Lee spoke calmly, "I understand the need to survive. But I will not play this game, but it is okay. I will hold no ill-will against you. Go on. Do what you must."

I couldn't believe it. Lee was giving up his life for a stranger, for someone he didn't know or care about. His life! He would was going to let Brian survive. I couldn't imagine sitting there peacefully like that. I know that I would've fought tooth and nail for that pole and killed whoever was across from me. That sounds cold blooded but I would survive. Lee…Lee was giving up his life. He was at peace. I could see it on his face. He was resisting against Blaine, he was refusing to play the twisted game. This was heroic.

"Kill him." Blaine commanded Brian after he didn't make a move for a minute. "Kill him!" Blaine screamed in his ear. He got right in his face, unafraid of his victim possibly using the pole on him. I know Blaine was prepared for it if Brian tried it, but Brian would never have the balls.

"I will pour gasoline all over you!" Blaine hissed menacingly in his ear. "When your skin starts burning and charring. The smell will make you puke. Your hair will go first. It will only take a second, then your scalp will star to burn and some of your skin will melt. Your eyes will melt and dribble down your face. Your lips will peel off. Your body will be filled with so much pain you'll want to pass out, but your body will keep you alive in an automatic defense to fight off the fire. You won't be able to do anything. You'll cough on smoke from your own skin and you will choke on your tongue as it swells with heat before bursting. You will experience more pain than you could ever imagine."

Brian didn't move. His hands were turning into white claws from gripping the pole so tightly. Lee still didn't make the slightest movement.

"Do it!" Blaine screamed in his ear, making Brian cry and shake. "Kill him! Kill him! Do it now! Kill him! You will burn! You will be set on fire! Kill him! You are going to die! You will not survive! Kill him! Do you want to live! Kill him now!"

Brian screamed as he raised the pole above his head, and then he slammed it on the ground between him and Lee. The clang of the metal hitting the floor rung out loudly in the silence.

"Go to hell," Brian uttered towards Blaine.

Blaine shrugged, "Well didn't expect that, I have to admit. Oh well, now you both get set on fire, just as I promised."

Brian started sobbing loudly as Blaine walked away to grab the gasoline.

"You are a good person." Lee spoke calming words to Brian. "Whatever bad you have done in the world, whatever wrongs you have committed. You have made up for them right now, because inherently, you are a good person. You can die in peace."

"I don't want to die." Brian cried.

"We all die," Lee held out his hands palm up and Brian placed his shaking hands on Lee's.

They held hands as Blaine started pouring the gasoline on them, whistling like a mad man as he did. Before it went any further it cut back to the newsroom. Brenda Bree stared strongly into the camera before speaking.

"Follow Lee and Brian's example. Be brave. Do not give into the whims of a madman. Lee and Brian may have died, but their deaths send a powerful message. Stand up to Blaine! He is a madman that needs to be stopped."

She paused for a moment, gaining some of her composure, before continuing. "We have a breaking statement that the Southern Wharf is on fire. That is no exaggeration. A majority of the Southern Wharf is in flames. We are not sure who is behind this, but we have a team moving to the location now. They are just setting up and then they will broadcast live. We will report every detail we know as soon as we learn them. As I am learning now, the buildings burning are mostly old or empty warehouses. We believe this is a planned attack and not an accident, but it is too soon to say. Now, we will go to Cherie on the scene."

The screen split in half to show Brenda in the news room and another woman—Cherie. She was a petite woman with perfectly straight dark hair and red lipstick on. There were roaring flames behind her reaching far into the sky.

"Can you tell us what's happening?" Brenda inquired.

"This entire dock is in flames!" Cherie reported loudly over the roaring fires. She was pretty close considering how big the fire was. "As you can see this is getting out of control very quickly. The firemen are assembling as quickly as possible to put out the flames."

The camera turned to show firemen pulling up and getting ready to attack the flames. The screen cut to a camera in the sky giving an above view of the flames. There were a dozen warehouses on fire. They were all in a line and the flames connected making one enormous fire.

"While the wind coming off the sea is pushing the flames into the city, I have been told that there is no need to worry about the fire spreading that war. There is a large street that has no fuel for the fire. It is acting as a barricade to stop the fire from spreading too far and is containing it to the Southern Wharf."

"So this must be a planned event?" Brenda asked her.

"We believe so." Cherie answered. "I was able to briefly speak with someone from the fire department. They were clear that this was not an official statement and a pending investigation would reveal the truth, but from their experience, it appears that this fire is on purpose. Well planned, but why? We don't know."

"Cherie," Brenda grew excited, "There is someone behind you."

Cherie turned around and the camera moved to get a better angle behind her. There was a person in a cloak walking towards the camera.

Squall would be my guess.

Cherie didn't move as the cloaked figured walked right up to her. The camera was about to zoom in on his face when it suddenly aimed downward. Clearly Seifer was snuck up behind the camera man and forced it down. The camera readjusted until it looked at Cherie again with Squall standing next to her. He was taller so the camera stayed on Cherie's face and Squall's chest, but it did not reach up to his head.

The split screen ended as Squall's figure filled the entire screen now. The studio new the proper angle and currently no one cared about Brenda in the news room, it was all about the Saint standing next to the reporter.

There was silence as no one moved or said anything. Eventually Brenda was smart enough to speak. "Cherie, let him speak."

Cherie nervously moved the microphone up to Squall and out of the view of the camera. The camera slowly panned up which meant Seifer was allowing it to. Squall had his head tilted down so only his jaw was visible. In the background the flames roared into the night sky. He looked menacing and that's exactly what he was going for.

"Everything you know is wrong," Squall spoke with a deep voice modulator. "Stand up for yourself, because we will not save you. We are not here to protect you. We are here to stop the madman. So we will not protect you, but we will fight with you. Rise, and fight for your city before I burn it down to rid itself from the evil within." He paused for a moment before saying one last thing, "And to the madman: you have one less hiding spot."

The camera suddenly collapsed to the ground and when it was picked back up it focused on the back of the two figures walking away.

Cherie started speaking but the audio cut out. I'm sure everyone watching thought it was an accident, but I knew why. The camera cut back to the news room. There was Brenda sitting completely still with another cloaked figure sitting right next to her. It was Irvine. His face was down of course, but I knew it was him.

There was movement as a man tried to run up to Irvine, but Zell came out of nowhere. He grabbed the man and threw him away.

"Let them speak!" Brenda shouted. "Please, let them speak." She turned towards Irvine, "We will listen."

"We are only ruthless to those that deserve it," He spoke with his own voice modulator hooked up. "No one can deny the madman deserves punishment for his sins, and we will carry that out. But we cannot do that when the city is hiding, and we cannot punish him when the city is split. It is no longer acceptable to hide and pretend this isn't happening. It is no longer the time to stand on the sidelines. It is time for action. It is time to stand up against those who are sinful. You are either with us, or against us."

The camera was suddenly covered by a face being extraordinary close and I knew it was Zell. He put his mouth right up to the camera and spoke in harsh whisper.

"There is a war going on for your mind!" He then breathed heavy on the camera causing it to fog up for a moment.

A second later and they were both gone. I knew Zell was leading Irvine out of the building. They had some exit strategy in the works. Ditch the cloaks and maybe wear business clothes. Zell could easily fight their way out if anyone was foolish enough to stop them. They probably had a car stashed somewhere nearby. They would get out, I wasn't worried about that. They only had security guards to worry about.

Now it the camera was focused on Brenda again. She looked stoic into the camera not saying a word. After a moment she let out a breath.

"They're right." She stood up from the desk. "We aren't doing anything. We are waiting for someone else to fight our battle. This is our battle. We cannot sit by anymore, and I will not sit by. We are afraid to go out at night. That should not ever be an issue. No one should be afraid to leave their house. So tonight, right now, I am going to the courtyard of the Capitol building. I urge anyone who wants to put an end to Blaine to join me. Show our support for the Saints, stand up for yourself, and let's take back our city!"

She marched off screen and I couldn't help but smile widely.

It worked perfectly. Irvine told Brenda to meet at the Capitol building. That was the next phase of the plan. We would gain support, we would show the city what we stand for, and most of all we could lure Blaine out. If he took the bait, if he decided to be rash, and if everything goes to plan, we could end him tonight.

If though, always fucking if. Well fuck 'what ifs' tonight, because we are going all-out now and Blaine better be ready. Because the Saints are going hunting.


So Squall and Rinoa finally did it. I didn't spend too much time on it, not as much as I'm sure some of you were hoping for, and I wasn't as graphic as I could've been either. Another thing I'm sure people were hoping for. So leave a review and tell me what you think about the chapter.

Again I cannot apologize enough for how long this has taken. I appreciate anyone who is sticking with me for this story. I will finish it. There aren't that many chapters left, we are in the home stretch so just stick with me for a little while longer.