This is quite different in style, scope, and the process I went through when writing it than anything I've done in the past. I hope you all like it.

Title and plot inspired by the song Remember by Disturbed from their album Believe. If you have it, I suggest listening to it and reading this at or around the same time.

--The Dragon--

From a ledge high above, he watched over the entrance to his chambers, awaiting their coming. The brain had informed him of the Federation raid on the Zebes stronghold, but that was all it would say.

His minions provided little more than that. Reports were sketchy. Causalities were heavy. How may were coming? His elite guard stood post outside, but that would only slow the intruders down. If they couldn't fulfill their purpose then they didn't deserve life. They were all expendable. All he could do now was wait.

The security hatch to his chambers shook under a mighty force. It shook again then finally buckled. They were here.

They turned out to be only one. A hunter. The Federation pigs hired a mercenary to do their dirty work. Damn them. The cowards even robbed him of the privilege of meeting his enemy face to face.

Swooping down from his lofty perch, a flurry of claws, tail, and flame were unleashed upon his adversary, all to no avail. The nimble assailant was all but untouchable, and let loose upon him a furious onslaught of missiles and deadly bolts of plasma.

Broken and battered, he lay on the floor of his chamber, his torn wings incapable of flight. His would-be executioner approached him with metal heels methodically clicking against the floor, like a clock ticking down the last seconds of his life

A last attempt, a breath of fire, resulted in more blood than flame being expelled from his mouth.

Damn Federation! In desperation he offered a deal: triple what ever they are paying. An emphatic rejection came in the way of an armored boot to his face. The force of the blow from this much smaller being was surprising, and it sent him tumbling across the floor.

How had this happened? How could any single warrior take him down? He was the Master General of all space pirates, a position risen to through power and brutality. This shouldn't happen.

The hunter's helmet came off and, in the ultimate insult, it is revealed to be nothing more than a lowly human. He gagged in disgust and on blood.

Oddly enough, the hunter was crying. Tears flowed profusely down her delicate looking face. But there was no sorrow in her expression, only anger, quietly restrained rage.

Her cold eyes, a sharp ice-blue, contained fire and death

This was not a mercenary on a mission, at least not at this moment. Her face spoke of vengeance. It was a look he was intimately familiar with as many before had sought him out. She was the first that didn't die.

Vengeance for what, he did not know. He'd slain countless souls. Their faces all blended together and were lost to time, although hers did have a familiar quality.

Pathetic and discussing was her fragile appearing visage. He would not accept this. He lashed out with all his anger, unable to tolerate death at the hands of this pathetic crying frail little human girl...

So that's who she was.

He lost sight of her as his attack missed, falling to decapitate as he intended. She appeared beside him, cannon pressed to the side of his head. He cursed his own foolishness now knowing he had forged the implement of his own demise. There was a brief flash of light.

He felt nothing.

--The Hunter--

Pounding the hatch with heavy munitions, she finally managed to disabled the security mechanism.

It wasn't clear to her what she would find this deep within Norfair, but the level of resistance meant it held value. She had a feeling however that following this path would eventually allow her accesses to the breeding area where she could disable the brain, her ultimate target.

Inside, a burst of flame, a flash of claws and a piercing scream, all came down on her at once, riding on reptilian wings.

Before her towered the very object of her fears, the thing that had haunted her nightmares for as long as she could remember. It once took everything from her; her home, her family, hope, happiness, her life... No, life was the one and only thing she had kept. It had taken her soul.

She unloaded all her hatred and sorrow upon the pitiful creature until she had no more left to give.

To her, he had been a demon, the living embodiment of evil. She had been running from that demon her entire life, and its memory was the only thing that ever brought her fear. Meeting it again here and now, and seeing its mortality, seeing it thought the eyes of hardened warrior instead of those of a frightened child, the word demon became unsuitable. It gave him too much respect, too much power. It was just a creature, a thing.

There was no mercy left in her, not for this creature, not for anything. He took her capacity for compassion as well all those years ago. She was going to end it.

With the battle lost, the thing pleaded for its life, attempting to bribe her as if this was ever about money. New hate swelled from within her and she again unloaded it on to the creature, sending it sprawling across the floor.

If it could see her it would understand, she thought, and removed her helmet. It was more for her sake than his, however. She wanted to see him with her own eyes, without image enhancement and tactical displays, as she did on that day.

He looked surprised. Was her face familiar to him? Was in not? It changed so much since last they met; she was just a child then. What was going through his head in this moment?

What went through his head back then? She often wondered why the thing left her alive all those years ago when it had taken everything else. She wanted to ask, but then again she didn't.

From the corner of her eye she detected movement. Leaping gracefully into the air, she avoided the tip of his tail as it swept through the space she once stood. She landed beside the creature, cannon against the side of its head. Her mind blank, she mechanically pulled the trigger, an act so familiar to her it needed no thought. A small splattering of blood fell across her armor's chest plate and face.

She felt nothing. Not joy, not relief, not closure. Killing the demon from her memories did absolutely nothing for her. All she felt was the same familiar emptiness.

Uncaring of the blood on her face or of the significance of the events that had just unfolded, she simply replaced her helmet and walked away.

She felt nothing.


Thanks to arashi-enkou and alleycat1312 for their feedback.