Wasn't planning on doing a follow-up chapter, but… well. It sort of wrote itself. This is a small peek into Zack's mind after the rape.

It is so hot.

Outside, the sun is bright, and there's not even the slightest breeze. The temperature's high, even for this time of year, and nearly everyone's seeking refuge inside the air conditioned buildings. Even SOLDIERs can get overheated.

Dear Gaia, it is hot.

Zack is lying on his side on Angeal's bed, staring blankly at the wall. Angeal doesn't have any paintings on his walls; in fact, his room has barely any decorations at all. It's very plain, very mature. It only has what the older man would need. Unlike Zack's room, which is decorated with bits and pieces that he's collected over the past year since he joined SOLDIER: posters, knick-knacks, text books, and the like. Soon, it will have collected a fair amount of dust. He's not sure, now, if he'll ever see his room again.

Zack hasn't left Angeal's apartment in a week, ever since That Day. He knows Angeal has made some clever excuse for this, probably saying that Zack had come down with an illness, like the flu maybe, and is being kept in Angeal's apartment until he gets better. No one would think twice about this; it would be expected, even. Because hasn't Angeal always done that, taken care of Zack? Keeping him tucked close, away from harm? Yes, he has, ever since the day they became teacher and student. Why would anyone suspect that in reality, Zack is a prisoner in his teacher's home?

The ceiling fan turns slowly overhead, and Zack doesn't even feel the slightest breeze from it. The bruises on his wrists and thighs are dark now, nasty looking, and painful to the touch. He barely feels them these days, though, hasn't felt much of anything except this heat. He's dressed lightly in some of Angeal's old clothes; a well-worn cotton t-shirt and some thin pajama pants, with the legs rolled up. He's still so hot though, completely drenched in sweat. It's too hot to be lying in this cramped little room which feels like an oven, where just the week before his whole world had fallen, crashed around him in little pieces.

He was raped in this room.

Bile rises in his throat as he thinks this, but he swallows it back. Puking won't do him any good. Crying hasn't helped either. There's really nothing he can do. He can't leave--Angeal's made sure of that. The man's in the living room now, talking with someone on the phone. Blocking the door. All of the windows are barred, and don't open, so there's no way he can escape through them. When Angeal leaves the apartment, the bedroom door is locked from the outside. The saddest thing is that people have stopped trying to stop by to check up on him; Angeal has given strict orders that Zack is not to be disturbed. Oh, sure, he's thought about smashing open the windows to scream for help, or kicking the doors in, or breaking open the locks. It's just that…

Zack is just so tired. Almost all his energy is gone. Sometimes, it takes almost everything he's got just to sit up. He sometimes wonders, as he lays there in the heat in a half-conscious state, that maybe Angeal is drugging him with something. The man always wakes up before him, and is still awake when he falls asleep. It's a very logical explanation, after all.

He's starting not to care anymore, though. Why bother?

Outside in the living room, he hears Angeal hang the phone up. His stomach turns nervously, and he swallows thickly.

He hasn't raped Zack since That Day. He still touches the boy, still pets his hair and rubs his hands gently up and down his body, in the same soothing motions that he's always done. Those touches used to bring Zack comfort. Now they make him sick to his stomach.

Angeal's in the kitchen now, rummaging around in the cabinets. Zack breathes a little easier, knowing that at least he has a little more time before he has to face the older man.

Sometimes he'll pick Zack up and carry him into the living room, where he'll settle them both on the couch in front of the TV. Zack doesn't watch any of it though. He just stares at the screen blankly, unable to comprehend what the news anchors are talking about. Angeal will often speak quietly to him during this time, usually telling the boy something interesting that had happened that day, like how President Shinra took a nasty fall down the stairs during an important public service announcement, or how that terrorist group--AVALANCHE--had bombed some local shop or public area. Zack rarely responds, but he always listens intently, even though he doesn't want to. It was like his brain zeroed in on his teacher's voice, searching for something. An apology, an explanation? But hadn't he already gotten both?

'If he was really sorry, he would have let me go by now,' Zack thinks to himself. 'He would have turned himself in to the President, and then…'

Then what? What would happen after that? Would he go on to be a SOLDIER? Probably not. Zack doesn't exactly feel like being heroic these days. He'd probably go and get therapy, then return home to Gongaga, maybe become a shop keeper or farmer or something. Angeal… well…

What would happen to Angeal? Would he be imprisoned? Dismissed from the program? Would he even be punished at all? He is famous after all, and the General's best friend. A feared warrior. A great asset to SOLDIER. Would anyone ever know that he had raped his student, claiming that he was doing it for his own good? Would it all be hushed up, like a dirty little secret? Would they shove Zack out the door with a big check, content to give the boy hush-money so he won't say anything?

Zack closes his eyes, buries his head into his pillow. He doesn't want to think anymore. He's too tired.

Snick. The doorknob is turning. All of Zack's senses zero in onto the door, and his heart starts pounding. Angeal will be coming in now, with a glass of water, like he has been doing for the past week. He will make sure that Zack drinks every last drop (is that how he drugs him?), and then he will either carry the boy into the living room, or he will join Zack on the bed, pulling the boy close to him. Either way, Zack will hear about something that had happened that day, in the outside world, and after that, Angeal will once again tell him how much he loves Zack, how he is protecting the boy, and that soon, he will understand and then everything will be fine, just fine. He'll place gentle kisses against the boys spikes, murmuring soothing promises into his hair, and eventually Zack will fall asleep in his arms, like always.

The scary thing is, Zack is starting to feel a sick sense of comfort when this happens, when he hears these explanations and promises. The more that Angeal reassures him that this is for his own good, the more he is starting to believe it. It scares the hell out of him.


Zack doesn't answer. Angeal doesn't expect him to.

Poor Zack.