Words: 661

See Chapter 1 for standard Warnings/Disclaimer.

Additional Warning: This fic is Unbeta'd I edit it myself, though I do have a couple friends who have read it as I worked on it.

Neither Strife's had been able to sleep much after getting the call that morning that their son was safe, and would be coming home soon. It had been Reno who called and filled them in, as well as telling them he was currently at Axel's bedside. As a result, despite the fact that they both wanted to see him they'd told Reno just to call them later. It was, in their opinion, probably a good time to give the two some time alone. They'd both been through a lot.

After Reno had relayed the news about Axel's imminent arrest, they'd both been angry of course.

It was just passed six in the morning and only Cloud was still awake, Tifa had gone to nap after making her husband promise to tell her if anything changed. The morning news was playing in the background as he made himself a cup of coffee, covering what information they had managed to glean.

"Reports have it that the rumor of Roxas Strife, son of the well known Scientists Cloud and Tifa Strife had indeed been kidnapped and held for ransom less than two weeks ago. The FBI's Hostage Rescue Devision reportedly made a raid on his place of captivity following a tip off late last night and he is now safely out of harms way. We were unable to gain any information on the people who kidnapped him, or the ransom."

"They're keeping this one surprisingly hush hush aren't they?"

"Yes, they are, and as the press I really think we should be getting more than the cold shoulder! I have to wonder if it's because of Shinra and Radiant that things are being kept quiet."

"Or maybe the FBI just bungled up and they don't want us to know."

Scowling at the TV and the nosy busybodies that called themselves reporters Cloud almost didn't hear his wife calling his name. Turning away from the TV he followed the sound of her voice to find Tifa in Roxas' room. She was sitting on the edge of the bed holding a sheet of paper in the hand that rested on her lap.

"Tifa? What's wrong?"

Silently she held the paper out to him, and Cloud took it from her eyes scanning the message written on it:

Sorry about this, but I'm going with Axel. If you really need to contact either of us ask Reno. He and a few friends are going to try and get the charges against Axel dropped. Until then what's a little more illegal activity?

Love you both,


Sorry for all the trouble. I hope my little gift will make up for it even a little. I'll keep Roxie, safe. No worries.


Cloud couldn't really say he was surprised. Looking back up at Tifa he simply asked, "Gift?"

Tifa held up a disc, "I think it's the research he stole." she said softly, her voice wavering slightly at the onset of tears. "They left it and the letter on the pillow, and grabbed some of Roxas' stuff. Couldn't they even say goodbye to our faces?"

Sighing, Cloud set his coffee cup down on the dresser along with the note and moved over to sit beside his wife. Wrapping an arm around her he pulled her close, "I doubt it... But we'll do everything we can to make sure they can come home soon."

In a hotel near the airport a pair of worn out people had collapsed into bed, still nearly fully dressed. They'd managed only to kick off their shoes which lay haphazardly on the floor. They lay curled together in a tangle of arms and legs, and white sheets that were painted a creamier color by the onset of morning light as it spilled through a small gap in the curtains.

In a few hours they would flee even further, but that didn't matter. In that moment they dreamed, safe and at peace wrapped up in each other.

To be Continued...

Final Notes: I can't believe so many of you thought I was going to kill Axel.. Really now! I'm not that cruel!

Anyway, this is the end of The Dark Horse, and it will be picked up in the sequel nearly right where it left off. The sequel will be called Reaching for the Sun. I haven't started writing it yet, but it's mostly plotted out. I don't know when it will be done, probably a few months from now... I know I'll be hoping to see you all back when I do get around to posting it. I may try my hand at write a few one shots that fill in a couple missing scenes in the course of this fic, and eventually in RftS as well.

Anyway, until next time, I hope you all enjoyed this story!