A/N: Hello, my readers. Sorry for my lengthy 'leave of absence', I'm having a problem where my inspiration fairy is not inspiring me for the things I need inspiration for. -kicks inspiration fairy- Anyway, this is a songfic about a friend's character. It was written as his Christmas prezzie (I know it's early, but I wrote this months ago and couldn't wait to post it any longer). The original story is Ghost Rider by Michael Fri of the Black Scepter writing team.

Enjoy! Merry Christmas!

{Well you know those times
When you feel like there's a sign there on your back
Says I don't mind if ya kick me
Seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You'd think they can't get worse than that
And then they do}

A boy with short brown hair walked down the hall of the school, hearing the whispers, watching the other students shrink away from him. "Sora Shimomura," they whispered, and there was fear in their voices as they said it.

He used to be proud of that fear.

It hurt to think about it – about how muh he had done to them, to people who did nothing more to him than say a few unkind words. He had thought things were bad back then, when all he had to worry about was school and girls and friends. He'd thought it couldn't get any worse.

How wrong he was.

{You step off the straight and narrow
And you don't know where you are
Use the needle of your compass
To sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie
In a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to you
That's when you learn the truth}

To get back at their words, he'd become worse than they ever were. He'd lost sight of who he really was. True, their words had hurt, her words had hurt, but it was no excuse.

To feel like he was better than her, he'd decided to get help from the toughest, meanest person in school, and he was still paying for it.

He couldn't count the number of times he'd looked for answers in a bottle, couldn't remember all the faces of the people he'd hurt. It wasn't until the Devil had come to collect his fee that he'd realized how off-track he'd been.

{If you're going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there}

He finally got out of the school, got away from their whispers, from her cold glare. He hopped on his Harley and cranked the engine, feeling it roar to life underneath him. He tore out of there, the speed making him feel as though he might even escape his duty, roll out of Hell before his new master realized he'd entered. There was nothing but the speed, and even his fear of what he knew was waiting for him disappeared temporarily.

{Well I been deep down in that darkness
I been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons
Breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled
I'd fall right into the trap that they were laying, yeah}

That night, he had a call. Some demonic punks were planning to take out a bank where some kind of artifact was being kept.

When he got on his bike, he wasn't Sora Shimomura anymore. The newest Ghost Rider rode once more.

He'd been to the bottom, he supposed, to the deepest pit of despair. The blackness of night had been a constant companion since the beginning of this journey.

He'd fought many enemies, demons, other Riders, all looking to destroy him, one wrong move, and he'd be dead.

Still, though, the more he thought about how many challenges he'd faced, he kept coming up with the names of people who'd helped him face them.

{But the good news
Is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been dragginig for so long
You're on your knees
You might as well be free}

His mind wandered to them, the people who had helped him along the way. Vincent Valentine, his teacher, wh had fought with him and looked after him, no matter what. His best friend, Roxas Senoue, who had never failed to be brutally honest if the need arose, and helped him do the things he hadn't thought he was brave enough to do. Namine Nomura, who had been the first to believe in him. He looked ahead with a new determination. He'd get his redemption.

{Guess what I'm saying's
If your going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there}

He gunned the bike, no more hesitation in his thoughts as he raced toward his duty. Two demonic bikers came racing up, one on either side. He drew his Gunblade and struck at one, all in one fluid motion. The other lashed out at him with a sword, and he blocked instinctively, continuing his motion into a counterattack. One down.

He blocked another swing from the remaining biker, counterattacking again, but this opponent was more skilled. Finally, he just rammed the enemy's bike, an unexpected move that caused the other to wipe out.

Just a little while later, he walked back out of the bank. The poor suckers hadn't known what hit them.

{Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there}

He jumped back on his bike, and revving the engine, he once more sped away, feeling like he could outrun the wind. He had been down the darkest road, and he'd come back out again. As he rode, he could feel the dawn, still a few hours away, true, but he thought he could already see the night sky lightening. In a few hours' time, it would come, banishing the Ghost Rider once more, gone before anyone would even know he'd been.

At least until some other threat walked the night, and he would ride out again to face it, and take one more step on his road to redemption…