Anybody out there? If so…thank you.


Pyramid

Crying Predator

Luxord remembered being told that he would be out by the end of the week. After gaining enough trust and becoming developed in the ways of murder, he would be allowed to walk about in public. Luxord had doubted that he would be allowed to do so freely, and had assumed that there would be a catch to this. There was no way he would have been completely subservient to those sick freaks to where he would have been trusted to walk about without a care in the world. Surely there would have been a tracking device, or perhaps an escort to make sure he didn't say a word when approaching someone he knew.

And when Luxord did everything in his power to resist change, he wondered whether he would ever leave those thick concrete walls. Would he be trapped there, his freedom forever prolonged by his unwillingness to submit to those irrational ideas? Was he to die, never to walk alongside one of his companions, or to tell everyone just how much they meant to him, especially now that he realized just how precious friendship truly was?

It was just so strange when Luxord thought about it, sitting on his couch, staring out at the wonderful view his window provided for him. Luxord would have never figured that he would be going over these thoughts in such a familiar place. He never would have guessed that he would ever make it home, and so freely. No, he wasn't alone. Axel was lying on his armchair, his filthy Doc Martins on the coffee table, and his hands fiddling with the remote. And there was also Cloud…he was going through the whole complex, removing any weapons that could be used against him-since Luxord had been graciously allowed to spend the night at home as well-as well as installing a new security system (it would be Axel who would install it, but he couldn't take his eyes off Luxord for the time being). Axel was babysitting him. Cloud was making sure he would remain home.

Home.

Luxord couldn't believe he was home.

He was slumped on his furniture, looking almost defeated, but by god was he happy. He couldn't begin to describe how distraught he had been before, how mentally trapped he had felt while in that hellhole. To be able to look out his window and see the balcony, the city, the shy, and the sun; it was almost all too much for him to bear. It almost made those locks being installed an imaginative fact of some sorts. He didn't care that any sort of defense was being removed from his place, or that he was, in some ways, losing more of his freedoms. He was back where he felt the safest. And that was all that seemed to matter at the moment. Luxord was sure he was supposed to anxious as ever, after all, Cloud could come across some sort of things that would get him into trouble, but none of it really sank in him.

"Axel."

Luxord glanced over at the tall blonde that had entered the living room. In his hands were items that Luxord honestly would have never used as a weapon. Sure, there was his concealed gun, as well as a few of the kitchen knives, but Cloud had a bag of razors, an extension cord, a bag of nails, and what looked liked garbage in his possession. Yes, Luxord knew that he could be clever in coming up with ways to defend himself, but he wasn't that clever. At least, not in those arts.

The redhead got up from the seat, grabbing the bag that had been lying on the floor and disappeared into the hallway. Luxord watched silently as Cloud walked over to where he sat, tossing the random assortment of items on the table before situating himself where Axel had once been. That table was going to be scratched.

Luxord continued to stare quietly at Cloud. The tall man pulled out a notepad from his coat and began to scribble words down, making occasional glances back at him. From what Luxord could tell, he didn't appear offended; he certainly didn't look like he had come across anything conspicuous. Further analysis and Luxord could see the gun hanging a bit from Cloud's pocket. After a few minutes Cloud tore the sheet from the note pad and extended his arm out to Luxord, offering the paper to him. Luxord cautiously took and read through the long list of lines.

"A list," he heard Cloud say.

Luxord frowned, his eyes lingering over a few of the demands that had been given to him.

"Quit job before Tuesday," Cloud continued.

The very first one. Luxord stared up at it with confusion and worry. He knew he had been one for a while now. Surely there must be a few people back at his trade wondering what was going on? And he was just supposed to quit his job now? Luxord knew that would definitely raise some suspicion. Did Cloud know what he was doing? Yes, he had to. Luxord didn't though, and it worried him more than anything. More than quitting.

"Yes," he muttered.

"Read four," Cloud then added.

Luxord had no idea how on earth someone could properly read and write in English, yet not be able to word out complex sentences. He kept his mouth shut as he lowered his gaze just a bit, reading the fourth part of the list Cloud had written for him.

How nice, he would be allowed to spend more than just one night here. In fact, all things considered, he had just been given a gracious amount of time. Although he knew well enough that he wasn't going to be able to roam free whenever he pleased, he was being offered late nights till early mornings at his own place-which was a lot more than what he had been given before. Luxord reread the sentence over again, almost not believing what had been written down.

Was he really free from that little room? Or was he just given a slightly bigger cage?

It was definitely the latter. He had his whole place instead of a room, but he was still trapped. Monitors had been replaced with locks, and just like before, the enemy could enter without a worry, while he remained defenseless and forced to obey whatever command they had when they entered. His home, his fortress, now belonged to Cloud. And still, Luxord had the gall to be happy about it.

Everything he had imagined about Cloud was wrong. True, he was rather strict and emotionless, and just like Aqua had said; very secretive, but Luxord found him a lot easier to work with than Xigbar. Cloud used, from what Luxord could guess, logical thinking. Thinking that was very conservative. The first thing cloud had mentioned was Luxord's living arrangements. Cloud didn't feel comfortable with him sharing the same space with the female members, and demanded that Luxord was moved somewhere else. Luxord didn't believe the words he had read when Cloud had written that he would be spending his free time at home.

Another thing about Cloud was his extremely practical personality. The evening after meeting Cloud, Luxord was given a new phone. Of course, he knew there was a chance it was bugged or had some sort of program in it (Luxord knew nothing about phones), but being offering was quite an amazement to him. Even more amazing was when he was told to call three people and announce a change in his number. He was told to repeat these actions over the last two days. Luxord didn't mind the least.

He was sure everything Cloud did was to ensure that they would have more time with training and less worrying over what was going on outside the cult. Aqua had been doing what she could to make sure Luxord could get away with not being present, but Cloud took it a step further…and by ways Luxord would have never suspected. But it made so much more sense to have him being seen outside, and it made sense to have him call his friends, because then nobody would ever guess there was something wrong. If people knew he was at home, then they wouldn't go snooping around. Cloud knew this. So Luxord would be spending his nights at home, and he'd spend his days back in that labyrinth, and Cloud would never have to worry about getting either of them in trouble. And before Luxord knew it, he would soon come to realize that everything he had hoped for in escaping was a waste of time.

"Anything else?" Luxord asked slowly. He still kept his eyes on the list. He wasn't going to deny that he did fear the older man. He knew absolutely nothing about cloud, and the man's lack of emotion, as well as inability to speak proper English, made it hard for Luxord to relate and learn from Cloud. Cloud didn't bother trying to have a real conversation with Luxord; he'd either write everything down or talk with Axel. He'd have to rely on hand and body movements, which Cloud barely produced.

"Tomorrow," Cloud said.

"Tomorrow?"

Cloud merely nod his head, not looking in Luxord's direction. He stared out into space.

What kind of killer was Cloud? He didn't look like someone who would react to screams and begging, but he didn't look like he'd personally enjoy it. His stoic, empty expression was just so different from Xigbar's. Xigbar enjoyed killing. Cloud probably did it because it was his job. That wasn't to say he hated brutally murdering his victims, just Cloud did it because it was duty. He probably felt nothing when he killed all those people. He was probably worse than Xigbar…at least Xigbar felt something, even if it was pleasure or joy.

Luxord wanted to know what sorts of horrors would await him tomorrow. Aqua had said he had been given the harder, stricter instructor. Cloud would not tolerate begging or pleading, and he certainly would not feel pity for those that he had tied up in one of those small, dark rooms. He would expect a clean, quick kill from Luxord. Just like Xigbar. But what would he do once he saw that Luxord couldn't handle these things? The site of blood staining concrete walls still haunted his mind, as well as the vivid images of torn flesh and spraying blood; Luxord couldn't perform any of the simplest actions. He had already had dealt with weapons being pointed at his face, and had gone through several almost death experiences. Xigbar had cut him. Cloud would cut him too. Luxord had no doubt about that.

The sounds of holes being punched into the wall caused Luxord to jump a bit in his seat. Cloud kept still, staring off into space, probably making calculations.

Luxord turned and stared into the hallway, trying to get some sort of view of his room. Axel wasn't putting videos in there, was he? Was sort of security system was being assembled?

"I though this was locks only," Luxord mumbled.

"Locks," Cloud said flatly.

"It sounds more like just locks," Luxord said worriedly. He frowned and looked over at Cloud. Harsh, emotionless eyes gleamed back at him. "I know it's none of my business…"

"It's not," Cloud said.

"…yes," Luxord said, feeling a bit of grief. "But I would like to know what sort of damage is being done in my home."

"Windows," Cloud replied, turning his attention to the television screen.

Luxord certainly doubted it was just windows.

He leaned a bit, staring at the mess piled on the coffee table. His eyes surveyed the collection of supposed threats and he tried to think of ways in which some of the items piled there were of real threat. Batteries? Well, perhaps if he had them installed in something, then they could be a threat. But Cloud had them sitting there on the table, all by their lonesome. He could see where wire would make a weapon, perhaps in strangulation, but the amount didn't seem like enough. What did Cloud see that he didn't? What made a few light bulbs dangerous? Why didn't Cloud remove all the knives in the kitchen, instead of goong through what looked like garbage that ought to have been thrown away a long time ago? Why was Cloud performing spring cleaning?

"It's not just windows," Luxord said bitterly.

Cloud grabbed the remote and began flicking through the channels.

"You want to keep visitors away?"

The older man kept quiet. His expression didn't falter a bit as he kept changing channels, not even giving a small glance over in Luxord's direction.

"Don't trust me?"

No answer.

No, he was just like Xigbar. Cloud wouldn't dare answer all those questions, because of he did Luxord would be less in the dark. It was better that he guessed and kept guessing. Cloud didn't want a student who was too smart for his own good. He wanted someone who would obey orders, and was smart enough to complete them, but not someone who knew how to work around things. Xigbar ate off of fear, Cloud ate off of confusion.

Everyone had their own fetish.

Luxord smirked at the thought and almost chuckled, though he kept himself from going that far.

It had been awhile since he had felt calm enough to relax and smile. Smiling because he was thankful that he was still alive; it felt as though all of that had been nothing more than a nightmare. A part of Luxord really believed it was all over, and that the illusion he was currently living in at this moment was the life he had been living all along. He could easily forget that the dark dressed figure in his room had several weapons on him, one of them being his own gun. Luxord could easily pretend Axel wasn't installing some sort of surveillance devices in his bedroom, and would blame the sounds he heard on the neighbors.

What a wonderful little lie. It would only last for a night or so, with Cloud being eager to begin the training. Luxord was really behind. But until then he'd pretend all those horrors he had experienced were not real. He'd pretend the stitches on his hand were caused by something else, and that the there wasn't a dying boy in one of those empty, dark rooms. Luxord didn't really see a woman get brutally murdered in front of him. He wasn't threatened everyday. He wasn't ordered to go fuck the same guy who brought a gun up at him, who mentally and physically traumatized him.

None of that was real…

None of it.

"I'll give you a reason to cry," he heard Cloud hiss between his teeth.

Guess he was capable of complex emotion.


Cloud was twenty six years old, and he had a thirteen year old daughter. To Luxord, this was frightening news, but to everyone else, this was good. Wonderful. Cloud was a prodigy, and his genes were valuable. He had to have been twelve years old when his daughter was consummated. Twelve years old, and already he was a cold blooded murderer. And a father.

"You know how to hold weapons properly, right?" Yuffie asked.

Luxord turned to Cloud and nodded his head.

Cloud then began talking to Yuffie again. Luxord waited patiently, his eyes wandering about the rather large storage room. He had never seen so many weapons huddled together in one place. Cabinets and drawers full of all sorts of tools. Where did they all come from? Luxord's eyes locked on to the drawer at the very end staring at the bottles full of mysterious rocks and powders. He remembered the acids. These were all solids. What were they, he hadn't a clue. They had to be poisonous though, or were poisonous when mixed together. Maybe they were combustible?

"Luxord?"

Luxord looked back to Yuffie. It was so strange to be referred by his name again. Cloud wasn't as cold hearted as Xigbar. He wasn't used to it.

So much could change in just a few days. Luxord couldn't believe he had grown used to such treatment, and that something that had been so normal could become so foreign.

"Cloud says you're very far behind," Yuffie said in a somewhat worried tone. She gave a glance over to the older man and then back to Luxord. She was afraid of Cloud? Good. Luxord still remembered the pain that he had received from those stitches. His hand still ached. He wondered whether she remembered.

"I know," Luxord said, keeping his eyes on the girl. He watched Yuffie turn and mutter a few words to Clouds. He couldn't help but lift his gaze a bit, watching to see if Cloud's expression would change in the slightest. Those empty eyes worried him. Not as much as those yellow ones…but close enough.

"Improvement needed," he heard Cloud mutter. Luxord was suddenly approached by Cloud, and he felt his hand grab his shoulder. Two eyes leered at him, observing him carefully. Luxord didn't feel the need to back away or tear himself from Cloud's grasp. There wasn't even fear. "You never killed?"

"No," Luxord answered.

"Self defense?"

"Never," Luxord said defensively.

He felt the grip tighten just a bit. Luxord hoped it was for something other than anger or frustration.

Cloud then let go of Luxord, walking off to a table clustered with all sorts of blades. Yuffie stood where she was, silently staring at Cloud while making the occasional glance at Luxord. She seemed stressed. Luxord wished he knew why. He just watched as Cloud began to pick through knives, unsheathing them and determining whether or not he would use them.

There was so little he had really learned from Cloud. He was sure Aqua already knew that Cloud had some emotional issues. That sort of information would be absolutely useless to her.

He needed to come up with something though. Aqua was not a woman to patiently wait around. Luxord didn't want to help her, but in order for him to live, and hopefully get out of this predicament, he had to play along. That being said, he needed to find a permanent way of escaping…

They already knew where he lived. He couldn't just run back home and assume everything would be ok. Luxord actually needed to come into contact with someone he knew and tell them that Pyramid was reorganizing. He had a cellphone; he just needed time to call someone-alone. Of course, right after that he would have to make a run for it, assuming his calls cold be traced by another member. It was all so risky…

He was running out of time. Luxord knew this, he had thought about it over and over, without fail, but it wouldn't leave his mind. The longer he waited, the deeper he found himself trapped. Who wasn't to say Larxene was being watched right now? What would happen if he didn't start bringing a knife into another's flesh? Aqua wanted results, and no results meant people dying. But results meant people dying, just by his own hands. Luxord would feel responsible either way though. But what was worse? Letting someone else die, or killing them yourself? What about that Saix boy? Was he dead now? What did he feel about that? Imagine being locked in that air tight room, in the dark, inhaling the scent of your own blood and rotting flesh, day after day? Starving…dehydrating…dying slowly, in pain, all by your lonesome?

Doesn't that make you feel guilty? With all that…do you wish you had pulled the trigger?

Luxord thought about if for a few seconds. No.

He felt guilty about his answer, if only because he came to the conclusion that he'd rather be with Cloud than with Xigbar. True, if he had killed Saix he would have remained ignorant of Aqua's more interesting goals, and he would have been able to avoid any sort of sexual confrontation with Xigbar, but he still would have had to deal with the emotional and physical abuse. And if he had killed Saix then Xigbar would have raised the bar of impossible expectations. There might have been a day where Luxord would have been given a break from the torment, but it would have started all over again. He'd have to become more gruesome, colder, and darker when it came to his killings, and Luxord knew he wouldn't have been able to handle it. A mercy killing would have been one thing, but a murder was an entirely different story. Cloud was emotionless and hard to read, but at least he wasn't constantly threatening him. Luxord didn't feel the need to beg and plead…yet.

"Luxord."

Luxord looked to Cloud.

Yuffie was at the door now, her eyes peering at the two and her hand held on to the wall.

Cloud began to pace towards the door, his belt now hoisting new weapons. Luxord silently followed, already knowing what was going to happen. Training right? That was what he needed to do.

Yuffie ran off into the long hallways, making an abrupt turn and disappearing from Luxord's sight. He looked over at Cloud, who was walking ahead of him; either not noticing or not caring about Yuffie. Cloud couldn't get the message across well enough without aide. Luxord doubted he was going to write everything out in notes for him today. He didn't say anything though, and Luxord continued to follow Cloud.

He looked around the halls, trying to make out certain things, little details that would help him recognize where he was. He desperately needed to pinpoint around this labyrinth. Where were the exits? He wished he had paid more attention when he had escaped Xigbar, but had been in such a panic. Everything looked the same, and it was supposed to. Luxord knew it was so no one could escape the place. Aside from a few cameras there really wasn't anything that each hallway apart. One would have to memorize the doors; certain ones had locks on them while others didn't. Luxord was sure this was the pattern, along with the number of hallways given. If he could count out the rows, the doors, and then learn which ones had so many unlocked doors versus locked doors, then he knew he'd be able to better maneuver through the hideout.

Both he and Cloud stopped in front of a locked door.

Luxord waited for Cloud to open the door. Instead, Cloud pulled out a small clear bag. Luxord stared at it carefully, seeing the small earplugs that were inside. Cloud then removed one of the sheathed knives and handed offered it too Luxord, along with the earplugs. Luxord looked down at the two articles and took them into his possession, wondering and worrying over why he had been given them. The hand knife was decent sized, and it could most definitely kill someone. But the earplugs bothered him the most. Luxord looked up and stared at Cloud, waiting to hear why he had been given these items.

When he saw Cloud pull out a long blue fabric, he felt the answer come to him.

"Don't move," Cloud said, approaching him, the blindfold at hand. Luxord winced, but kept his tongue, not wanting to oppose. Blindfold, earplugs, and a weapon; it was an ugly combination that Luxord didn't feel comfortable with.

Luxord closed his eyes as the rough fabric rubbed against his eyes. He felt the blindfold wrap around his head-tight. It felt constricting, but Luxord had grown used to such sensations being brought upon him. He tried to open his eyes, even knowing that he wouldn't be able to see, but found it more difficult. It was too tight and too close to his skin; Luxord didn't want to ruin his eyes with might be filthy fabric.

"Bag." Hearing Cloud's voice startled him.

Luxord opened the palm of his hand, understanding what was going to happen next. Cloud took the small plastic bag from him, and Luxord could hear Cloud remove the earplugs from it. The blindfold was roughly lifted on the sides, not enough for Luxord to see, but enough to shove the first one in his ear. Before Luxord could even hiss from the pain Cloud pulled the fabric down and covered it. A whole half of him was now death. Luxord couldn't help but go into panic mode from this mere thought.

"What are we doing?" he asked in the calmest tone he could muster.

"Defense," cloud answered. It sounded so far away. "Protect you."

"Me?" Luxord asked. His voice trembled just a bit. "From what?"

"Everything," Cloud answered. "Two knives. One for you; one for me."

Luxord felt his body go cold. He couldn't see a damn thing, and he wouldn't be able to hear either.

"Just defend," Cloud said. "Thrust, twist…all up to you."

"You want me to stab at you?" Luxord asked.

"I have my weapon," Cloud said.

"You'll stab me?"

Luxord had just asked without thinking. He regretted asking almost immediately.

"No."

Cloud sounded rather calm and sure.

"The why have one?" Luxord asked, his tone still hurt and confused.

"Defense," Cloud answered.

What the hell kind of answer was that? Could a hand knife provide good enough defense? For some reason Luxord didn't think he was being lied to, but there had to be something going on. There was more to it. Cloud had a knife for a reason. Was it to taunt him? Maybe he wanted Luxord to attack him…wanted to get something out of him.

"Don't remove."

Fear?

Luxord felt cloud roughly pull up the blindfold on his left side and placed the earplug in the same harsh manner as before.

And then there was complete silence. Luxord couldn't hear anything around him. His heart raced as forced his eyes open, desperately looking around despite the pain the fabric brought to the sensitive membrane. He felt a hand grab on to his wrist, nearly causing him to jump. Luxord ought to have stabbed him at that point. Right then his fingers began to feel the leather sheath that held in the knife.

There was a muffled sound on his right side. It took Luxord several seconds of guessing before he figured it to be the sounds of the door being unlocked and opened. If it was loud enough, then he could hear it. Cloud barely spoke to begin with. What would happen if he stabbed the man? Wasn't that what Cloud wanted?

Luxord felt a hand press against his back, pushing him into the room. He stumbled a bit, trying desperately to adjust without visual or hearing aid, and almost fell as he searched for some sort of foundation. Luxord rested himself on the wall as soon as he made contact with it, letting his hands trace the knife in his hands as he wondered whether he ought to unsheathe it now. He knew Cloud would have no problem attacking him. Luxord slowed his breathing down as he tried to listen for any other sounds. Of course he heard nothing.

He knew he was in the room though. The air was warming, more condensed from being trapped in the small space, and it had that stale taste to it. Luxord didn't hear the sound of the door closing, which meant the door, was probably still open. There was no real means of escape though. He didn't know which direction the exit was, and he knew trying to leave would only get him into trouble.

Ok, now he was somewhat afraid.

Cloud could see. Cloud could hear too. Luxord turned his head, wishing he knew where the man was. How was he supposed to defend himself exactly? On simple intuition? Luxord didn't believe in that instinctual crap-not if he lost two of his most important sense.

There came a soft muffle, almost a ringing sound. Luxord froze in dead silence as he listened to the sounds. It tickled his ears. It wasn't coming from his own mind…but from across the room? Luxord tried to think of what it could be, knowing it had to rather loud in order for him to pick it up. Luxord stood himself up straight, letting the weapon from its containment and pointing it out in the direction of the noise. As soon as it was high enough, the sounds dwindled. Luxord only grew more anxious.

The knife. Against the wall. That's what he had heard.

Luxord took a step forward. He was defenseless no matter where he was, but it was better he at least make an attempt to appear as though he was trying to improve. He wasn't being asked to kill anyone, just defend himself. Maybe that was it? Cloud had asked if he had killed in defense; perhaps this was the mans response to his answer. Luxord thought about it as he took another step. Killing in self defense was a whole other thing, and Luxord was sure he would be able to do it on his own, if the circumstances were right, right? It was Cloud too, a sociopath, someone that the world wouldn't miss. Cloud was testing his ability to attack in self defense. One little step at a time; that was it. Cloud knew he wouldn't kill on his own, so he was making small steps in order to get the killer instinct out. And the chances of it working were pretty good. There was a lot for Cloud to use. Luxord was trapped, and he felt nothing more than hatred for the group using him. He knew teasing him would only strike more fear and anger, and he knew chances were Luxord wouldn't mind attacking him on his own…

Luxord felt something pass by him, rubbing against his shoulder. He hurriedly turned in the direction and pointed his weapon out, trying to look threatening. He breathed hard as he heard and felt nothing. He retracted his arm and forced himself to breath slowly.

He had to gain better control! If Cloud was trying to get him to attack him out of anger or hatred, then he lost. Luxord had to remind himself not to just attack. Cloud's goal was to get him to be more like the rest of the members; Luxord's was to remain emotionally and mentally human. No, he really needed to act out of mere defense. Much easier said than done though; defending yourself without knowing what was going on around you was difficult to achieve.

Luxord took another step forward, and as he did he felt a hand grab his shoulder. He didn't have much time to react as he felt himself being pushed to the side, causing him to stumble and almost fall to the floor. Luxord luckily was able to balance himself out before letting that happen to him. His heart still skipped several beats as he tried to figure out what had just happened. All he knew was that he hadn't suffered any injuries, aside from the usual emotional.

Luxord straightened himself out, taking slow, deep breathes as he turned himself around. Almost immediately after doing so he felt something brush against his leg. Luxord jumped this time, making sure to move away from whatever was making contact with him. It wasn't enough though, and soon he tripped over what he assumed to be Cloud's leg as it continued to get in his way. This time Luxord did fall to the floor. He had his arms out though, so his contact with the cool flooring wasn't too embarrassingly painful. His grasp on the knife tightened incredibly as his knees met with the concrete, and heart raced faster as he contemplated over what had just happened to him.

Cloud was pushing him around. Just pushing him around, not attacking him with the hand knife. Perhaps Cloud was being honest when he said he was only going to use the knife in defense. Of course, this brought to question why Luxord would need a knife in the first place, but Luxord didn't have time, or the energy to think hard on it. Luxord just counted his small blessing as he tried to get up from the floor, moving slowly in case Cloud decided to act again.

How big was the room? Luxord hurriedly backed to the wall, letting his free hand guide him to a corner as he debated over his current setting. In order to come into contact with Cloud he would need to guess where the man was, where he would move to, and how he would defend himself. A smaller room meant they'd easily be able to meet up with one another. A larger room meant Cloud could move around more and decide when to move on him and attack. Chances were, Luxord was in a larger room. Cloud could control the outlook better, he could choose when to attack, stalk him from a few inches in silence, and then jump back before Luxord could decide a move of his own.

A larger room meant more surprises.

Luxord grimaced as he stretched both his arms out against the wall, trying to find out how far he was from a particular corner. He was quick about it, retracting his arms back in once he realized he was nowhere near a corner of the room. Also, he didn't want to give Cloud another chance to mess with him. Luxord was sure Cloud was watching and evaluating him, trying to learn more about his thought process as he struggled, just as Luxord was attempting with him. He personally didn't mind showing off his capabilities to Cloud, however he'd rather not have the man come to some sort of decision as to how tough the next level of training out to be.

Luxord made his way to what he assumed was the entrance, his free hand trailing the wall as he continued to feel for an end. He needed to get an image of the room, and he knew Cloud knew this. Luxord knew better than to head for the door, if he was actually headed to it…and if the door was even open. Cloud had to know this as well. He just had to.

Luxord took another step a felt something prick against his neck, feeling a small, hot pain run through him. Luxord stopped where he was, not even allowing himself to take a breath as he felt the tip of the knife glide against his bare skin. It felt cold. And thin. A bit too thin for a hand knife. Luxord didn't think too much about it. He didn't feel blood run down, but Luxord wasn't going to wait and see if Cloud would change his mind. His heart was pounding as he suddenly felt the bladed weapon press against his cheek, putting unwanted pressure against his skin. The old cut, his hand; the very though of getting another mark burned deep within his mind as he gripped the knife hard in his hand. Cloud wouldn't mind cutting his face or any part of his body.

Luxord swung his arm out, and the sensation of stainless steel that had been molesting his face vanished.

He gasped, taking in precious air as soon as he figured himself to be safe. Cloud had to be a few steps away, rethinking a new strategy as how to approach him. Not that he had to worry too much about it. Cloud did have an advantage. He was cheating, he had to be cheating. That was not a knife.

But still…

Luxord had attacked, though it was in self defense. But he was pissed, angered, and very afraid. He needed to keep calm, and he was anything but calm.

Fuck.

Luxord swung again, this time out of frustration.

He had no idea what was going on!

And now he was scared. Very scared. Cloud could have slit his neck, cut up his face, or something else. He couldn't think of it all; he couldn't even think straight.

And Cloud was cheating!

Luxord felt air rush through, hitting his face and causing him to panic. He yanked himself away from where he stood, going in no particular direction as he tried to escape the man. Luxord didn't make it very far in his plight though. He was grabbed once again and pulled away from his destination. Luxord fought a bit, trying to use his weight against Cloud, hoping it would be enough for him to let go. He didn't want to have to use his weapon against the man. He felt himself continuing to be pulled away from the center, until he was let go, thrown back to the wall. Luxord hissed as air was forced out of him, the hard concrete hitting his head and back. He dropped the knife.

This was anything but pleasant.

Luxord stared out into darkness. He was being bossed around, tossed and teased, and he was sure Cloud was enjoying it. He didn't know where this conclusion of his came from, since there were probably other reasons, but Luxord was nearing the end of what little patience he had for this game. What was cloud trying to get him to do? He kept pushing him around in random directions, and he'd try to get him to defend, or was it supposed to be attacking? Luxord didn't know anymore. His body was tried and sore and he had had his fill of the day. He had missed whatever the hell Cloud was trying to get him to learn. Luxord certainly didn't feeling like searching for the knife he had dropped either. Cloud was definitely harder to crack, though Luxord had learned a few things from this experience. He couldn't see Cloud, but he was sure there had to be some pleasure in being able to control him and determine where he would go. Cloud liked this; he liked what he was doing right now.

He let his hands move to the side of his head, feeling the thin material that connected to the ear plugs. Luxord knew he could better determine what was going on through sound. He could make due without seeing, but sound was something he desperately needed. Once again, cold steal make its mark and Luxord felt the tip of it press against him, this time in the middle of his chest. He halted, holding his breath again as he felt his hands shake just a bit. He slowly raised both his hands up, trying to show his predator if a teacher that he wasn't cheating. Even with both hands up, he felt more pressure as the sharp object poked his chest, pushing through fabric and pressing into his skin. Luxord whimpered, feeling the sharp end pricking his flesh; sure of himself that blood was going to soon leak out from him. The pain then eased, the pressure easing away from Luxord. He shuddered, lowering his arms and waiting for some sort of sign, be it punishment, which the training would be continued, or forced to end.

Luxord waited his heart racing and beating hard.

He felt something brush against his hand. Luxord recognized what it was and obediently took his dropped weapon back in his grasp. Luxord was sure he was saying something, asking the man why the two of them were doing this and what purpose could it serve him, but Luxord couldn't hear his owns words, and for that he wasn't sure if they had ever left his lips or not, or they were heard at all.

"I don't like this game."

Somehow he knew these words made it out. Although he couldn't hear them, Luxord could feel them leave his mind and exit out in sound.

"This training…?"

Luxord was sure he was alone now. Cloud had backed off and was hidden somewhere in the room. And Luxord was back to square one. He had no idea what was going on around him, and he knew he would be stuck this way.

"Cloud?"

Luxord wasn't even sure why he was going on. Why was he talking when he would never hear the answers?

"Where are you?"

His grip on the knife tightened up, so much it burned in his grasp.

If he moved toward the center, he would be pushed back into the wall. If he didn't so anything, he would be threatened, and possibly attacked. If Luxord did anything, then he would be attacked.

Cloud was messing with him.

Aqua said something about him making progress, no? What was he supposed to do? The man who gave him freedom, be it in the form of true entrapment, was he really supposed to go and just stab him? It seemed like the only option. Cloud was doing this on purpose. He made sure he had all the senses, all the advantages, and he disabled Luxord from relying on the most used ones.

The man was trying to frustrate him. Luxord was supposed to get upset, and was supposed to want to attack.

Cloud won; technically. Luxord was angry, afraid, and wanted to be able to protect himself…no matter what the costs. If anything, he was more annoyed with what he was going through than anything else. Cloud wasn't like Xigbar; he didn't point a gun at him while threatening to use the one in his hand. Cloud was giving him an initiative, just like Xigbar, but through other means.

Still, something seemed a bit off.

Luxord quickly made his way to what he figured was the center, the direction he had been continuously pushed away from. Was that where Cloud stood? He didn't know, but it seemed like a good place to start. Luxord wanted to get this training done and over with; pass or fail. Hopefully Aqua would be a bit more patient in his duty to learn from Cloud.

Was Cloud more or a perfectionist, or would he go insane over losing some sort of power?

Luxord lifted his hand up a bit, letting it shake a bit as he let it closer to the cloth tied around his eyes. He didn't have to force it to tremble.

Just as he had hoped, a hand roughly grabbed on to his wrist. Luxord jumped a little, but quickly reacted. Cloud didn't like it when others had control, and now Luxord was going to use this to his advantage. If Cloud really wanted to awaken some sort of carnal instinct, or frustration, or whatever the fuck it was called, then Luxord would go ahead and give it to him. Luxord, with all the strength he could muster, pulled Cloud towards him. He doubted Cloud would attack him, and chances were he'd attempt to just defend or break away from him; chances were he'd do the latter. Cloud wouldn't have to defend, not when he could raise a sharp object in his direction and scare Luxord away. It would be another show of dominance, and Cloud would still get what he wanted from Luxord, unless he expected Luxord to do something other than submit. And if that was the case…

Luxord swung the bladed weapon, aiming, as best as he could, towards where he figured Cloud stood. He hoped for some sort of contact, of only just a little; not enough to lead to a fatality, but enough to lead Cloud away.

And he felt it.

The moment he felt some resistance, the strange vibrations and feeling of a knife tearing through cloth and puncturing skin; Luxord pulled himself away from Cloud. And at that moment, he felt Cloud break away from him, letting his wrist go and getting away from the other. Luxord took several steps back, his free hand touching the tip of the knife and frowning when he felt wet-fresh blood- covering it. His jaw dropped a bit as he tried to think straight, wondering if he had gone deeper than what he should have. The knife was sticky and warm, and his fingers rubbing and moving the blood around made it hard to determine where the blood actually ended. His head began to ache as he suddenly found himself waiting for Cloud. What if he actually hurt the man-more than what he intended to?

A cut to his leg then answered his question.

Luxord hissed, dropping to the floor as he felt hot pain rush through his body. His leg, first felt cold, then went ablaze in stinging madness as he grabbed on to it, holding it and instinctively trying to stop what little blood from escaping. Luxord could barely feel any moisture; it was more of a flesh wound if anything, probably even a graze. He kept his weapon though, tightly gripped as he tended to his wound, because he knew one hit couldn't possibly be enough-

There was another searing, freezing pain; this time in his arm. The arm that held the knife. The arm that he had kept a distance away from his own body while he kept the other close…consoling himself. Luxord gasped, retracting his arm back to him, barely managing to keep hold of the knife in his hands. This one, although quick and clean, was deeper. Luxord grabbed on to his arm, whining a bit as he caused him appendage to contract in agony, and felt warm blood soak his clothes. His free hand was soon covered in a thing layer of sticky red blood, and the knife he held was probably dripping with red now.

Wonderful red.

Luxord felt those images pop up in his head as he remained that scene in his head. All that blood, coming out of one human, and now he was leaking blood. He was practically covered in it.

Oh God.

Oh, merciful God, why?

Luxord felt something, someone hover above him. He wasn't sure what sort of thought of instinct brought up this idea, but he knew he still wasn't alone. Cloud was there, right behind him, and he was going to hurt him. He was going to get back for the cut, for being tricked. How dare he be outsmarted by some plain, ordinary man? Luxord was going to get hurt…he needed to do something.

Without another through, Luxord moved; his wet, stressed arm aiming at what he thought was Cloud. He hit nothing, only feeling air rush by his face.

And then he panicked.

Luxord stood up, his whole body trembling in fear and anticipation.

Where was he?

Luxord blinked, remembering that he had a blindfold covering his sight, and felt his heart beat slow down just a bit. It ought to have skipped a few. Just because he could give up at any moment didn't save him from a damn thing. Cloud was pissed off, or at least bothered by what had gone on. He had to be, Luxord had all these cuts and gashes added to him.

Luxord took a step, to some sort of unknown direction. It was forward. He remained still, trying to think straight as he carefully listened to any small sounds that might be produced. He was so close to just quitting, were it not for the fact that it could mean a limb. Xigbar threatened it, and if Cloud was stricter then chances were he'd actually do it.

What was Aqua thinking? Did she really think he would actually make it through these horrendous games of murder and mayhem? He couldn't stand Xigbar, and he had almost been killed were it not for her stopping his would be death. Cloud didn't seem like something that could be stopped, even if Aqua were here to protect him.

And yet Luxord still wasn't as afraid as he ought to be. He was blinded, and perhaps it was this reason that he was still standing, even though his arm was dripping blood. He just couldn't see the horrors befalling him. Luxord couldn't see it, so he was just fine with it. Like his very home becoming a prison. It was so sick, and it was spilling out in front of him, the sad, pathetic truth that was his life. He couldn't handle it when it faced him, when he could see and hear the sounds of a living human being murdered in front of him, but in a world of silence and darkness, it wasn't nearly as bad. Luxord was still afraid, but he wasn't close to passing out as he had been before.

And he was obedient…

Look who was wearing the damn earplugs.

Luxord took another step, his breathing almost completely calm. Cloud was taking his time, perhaps watching in annoyance or curiosity to see what he would do next. Would Luxord attack again, and if so, what approach would he take? He couldn't begin to think of what could be going through Cloud's mind.

He would attack him though, right?

If it meant ending the game, them he would. Luxord knew Cloud was more than capable of protecting himself from a clumsy, miscalculated stab. Worst case scenario would be him just grabbing the blade with his bare hands. Thinking hard about it, Luxord wasn't sure why he had been so nervous about it before. And if he did recall, he had come to the moral decision that killing one of them would be less of an evil than killing an innocent civilian.

And as if on cue, Luxord felt something move from behind.

He didn't give a moments hesitation before swiping. Luxord didn't feel anything, he didn't hit anything. He opened his mouth a bit, wanting to say something, but no words escaped.

He could taste the copper in the air. Luxord felt his stomach churn a bit as his arm began to remind him that it was cut and bleeding. How long did he have before the wound clotted, if at all? Would he pass out? And what would happen if he did?

Luxord inched his way forward, taking notice that he hadn't been pushed or dragged in some other direction. He couldn't be heading towards a wall; otherwise he would have come into contact already. Cloud no longer seemed to care about him being in the middle. But then, that would mean he had been wrong about the man. Power certainly won't the top priority here for Cloud, though it still had to play a main part. But if he was wrong, then that meant there was definitely more to this than he first figured. He was still lagging behind. Luxord couldn't keep doing this to himself! He needed to try to think outside what may be normal, especially when dealing with psychos.

Another step. Luxord stopped where he stood, lowering his head a bit.

It was just so… quiet. Did Cloud leave?

Luxord felt as though ages had passed already since he had made contact with the other. The blood that soaked his clothes was getting cold.

Time was stretching, that was it.

One more step.

Or maybe this was another test. Maybe there was something more to this defensive strategy. Cloud had more than just a knife on him, right? And the room was too big, or was it too small? Luxord couldn't seem to remember it all.

He missed everyone. He missed seeing everyone perform their boring jobs. Luxord missed visiting Larxene during the day and feeding her attention, doing whatever he could to stay just a bit longer as he waited for Xemnas to leave his office and then feed him the attention that he so desperately craved from the man. Luxord missed being able to hide in his office and bury himself under the stresses of other people, reminding him that things could always be worse and that he should be very thankful he had it easy, and thankful that they paid him so much. More than a week being trapped in dark, warm rooms, filled with air that tasted like stale blood, as well as sick people whole laughed at death and killed other people for entertainment, taunting him and torturing him, trying to brainwash him and get him to be just like them; it was very stressful. Luxord never realized how easy he had it up until now. He had joked about one of his crazies stalking him and threatening him, and in regular conversations shared between Larxene and alcohol, but everything he was experiencing now made that joke look like a walk through the park. They expected him to be a crazy now. No more nights full of worry over a possible hangover, and oh how he would miss those nights that he had once dread…now he had to sleep with exhaustion and nightmares full of blood and screams and faces of people he had watched die in front of him, or those who were dying because of him.

Luxord could feel moisture build up around his eyes. He really wanted to kill them. If anybody deserved to die, it had to be these people. But he was such a coward, he wasn't even sure he would be able to act on it if the moment ever came.

Luxord made a few more steps in his unknown direction. His mind was becoming a mess. His morals were twisting up, and although he refrained from killing the innocent he was lavishing over killing others, when the time seemed to call for it. His selfishness was becoming more apparent. Maybe he wasn't who he thought he was. Maybe, just maybe, he was just like everyone else.

Normal. Weak. Swayed by simple emotions and instincts.

But then, that was ok, right? It was ok that he was relatable to something, even if it was general human population that he was comparing himself to? He wasn't some genius that had a special thought process, who could read minds and actions and determine whom he was dealing with. He was no psychic, no real special person. But at least he wasn't a perverted killer. If being special brought him here, if being above average meant butchering the masses, than he'd rather be another simple minded slob, mindlessly doing his work and going home to mindlessly eat and fuck before going to bed and starting thing over in that pointless, never ending cycle. Because those people live in wonderful ignorance from things like this…

Things like this. Things were right becomes wrong and smile are produced by tears, and rape is just part of the job in order to get some woman at the top. And stitches are done without drugs and being a faggot means a justified beating before being killed, along with everyone else who dare choose to be born different than what was chosen to be acceptable. And these tears running down the face are weaknesses running out from your body, and everything will be ok if you just listen to what they say, and questions will lead to pain because only smart alecks ask question-Luxord, only smart alecks who deserve to be hit ask stupid question!

!

Luxord raised his head up as he felt a body brush against his side. He stood, feeling it move against his sore, swollen arm, rubbing the cloth against his sticky skin and sending the message to his brain; "attack".

Cloud.

Luxord didn't even have to think twice about it. Adrenaline rushed throughout his body as he swung his arm with all his might, even with the knowledge that he would miss and only humiliate himself, targeting the body that was standing next to him. Even if he did actually hit Cloud, he was sure there would be some sort of retaliation, and that would only mean an end to all of this. Luxord couldn't handle another blow to his body, especially a stab wound. Cloud probably couldn't either, but that was well beside the point, very well besides-

And then the knife made impact.

Luxord's eyes widened as he felt his hands brush against skin, actual skin, his finger tips touching warm flesh, before the weight of his body pushed the knife in further. Then his hand covered the side of a bare torso, warm and covered in gooseflesh, both his hands and the body trembling and shaking.

The knife felt stiff in his grip. Muscle and fat was trapping it, tightening and contracting around it, making it hard for Luxord to try to pull it away. He let his free hand touch the wound, feeling it jerk about and move away from him. This was not Cloud…

Or maybe…

Luxord felt air ease out between his lips. His eyes watered his mind racing about as he tried to reconfigure everything he had thought up so far about the blonde. Everything, from the moment he first met the man, in a desperate attempt to pull everything together. Luxord's hand still tightly gripped the handle of the knife. And he could now feel it move a bit in his hand as the body….the person moved about, racked in pain and surprise and desperation to get away from it all. Cloud cheated…

Or, just maybe…

Luxord let go of the knife, taking several steps back before falling to the floor. He breathed hard, his chest heaving up and down as he let his hand up to cover his ears. He couldn't hear what was going on, nor could he see, but he already knew, and he could feel the muffled screams inside of him, and see the tears and face full of pain and agony as the person swung about.

He stabbed someone.

Luxord's hands sank to cover his face. The dried up blood rubbed against his face as he felt his fingers curl up against his forehead. The cloth covering his sight was soaked.

Or maybe Cloud wanted to keep Luxord away from the center for a reason other than simple power manipulation. Because maybe the center of the room contained a human being? And Luxord discovering this too early during training would ruin everything. Maybe Cloud had everything under control from the beginning, and power, although fun to have, was the least of Cloud's main objectives. Maybe all Cloud wanted to do was to get Luxord to actually use aggression, and to see who well it could be performed in the most raw of conditions. He pushed him around, taunted him, and made it seem like a power hungry game, when it was all just to get Luxord riled up and more likely to attack- be it in self defense or actual rage. And Cloud knew what to expect, because Aqua had told him about Luxord. He knew how to treat Luxord, so that he could trick him into playing the game. The center, a wonderful place to keep a body. It wasn't too hard to believe that he found someone, captured them, drugged them perhaps, stripped them naked, and then situate them right in the middle of the room. Luxord could easily imagine a room with chains that could perform this task. It was so perfect. Cloud was sent in order to get the job done…and that was what he intended to do. Cloud was nothing like Xigbar. Cloud was his own man…and that man relied on trickery and stealth, rather than brute force and fear.

And Luxord fell for it.

A person…walking to discover they were trapped in a room incapable of moving or freeing themselves, tied up or chained, forced to hang and wait in the dark until the door finally opened. And the first thing they had to see, was a mad, blindfolded and death, not able to see or hear his pleas. And they had to watch him and Cloud, swing knifes at each other, always getting too close to him or her, always threatening the fragile body of theirs with a sharp blade. How horrible it must have felt to watch this, helpless to do anything to protect themselves from the inevitable. And the Luxord decided to go and attack, what that must have been like from the person's point of view, and then to be stabbed in the side! The knife…it had to be several inches long. Long enough to puncture an organ, and to cause such indescribable misery and pain to that person. And now…they were hanging there, swinging around, trying to get the knife out of their weak body, blood possibly filling their inside…

"C-Cloud…."

And there he was….

"C-Cloud, please…" Luxord pleaded. His voice was so very weak.

He still had the blindfold on. He couldn't take it off, not now. He didn't want to be a part of it. Luxord didn't want to see what he had done; he didn't want to hear those cries and pleads.

What if the person was dying, bleeding to death or drowning in their own blood? Luxord couldn't muster up any courage to see this. He just couldn't.

It was an accident.

"Cloud!" Luxord called. "I…don't want to be here…"

Yes, it was all an accident. Luxord didn't do any of this on purpose! It was Cloud. Luxord could never kill an innocent person; he could never stab an innocent person. Cloud led him to do this. He was just as much the victim in this situation. Luxord…he was still innocent. He wasn't a murderer.

"It's over…" He said. He felt a shattered smile form on his face as he looked up. He had a feeling he wasn't alone. "I got it done…right?" He felt himself hiccup, more tears soaking through the wet cloth. "I can go, right? Please? Cloud…I don't want to be here…"

He wasn't a murderer.

Just keep telling yourself that. It'll sink in…and you'll believe it soon enough.


This was one of the harder ones. I actually did edit this chapter, if only because the original was pretty choppy (though this is only a minor step up, in my opinion).

I'm sorry I've been gone so long. A lot happened. I'd rather not talk about it, but you may ask about it in a PM (only), if you would like to know. Honestly, if does feel great that this story got to be updated, finally, after all this time. Please tell me what you think. I'll do my best to respond.

Thank you.