Thank you for joining me on this grand journey! Welcome, one and all, to what I call 'my alternative tale to Final Fantasy XIII'! My baby sister and I have rented the latest Final Fantasy installment, but neither of us are thrilled with the cast of protagonists. Lightning needs to be dragged to the bottom of the ocean, and I'm not fond of the treatment a certain party member has to suffer from. Thus, the creation of this alternative XIII.

Thank you for your support. Please check your tolerance of boy/boy couples and fluff at the door. If both of those are in check, you're free to continue down the path you have chosen! Also check your Snow tolerance level, mateys!

The locations featured in this tale are figments of my imagination.

Disclaimer: I own nuttin' havin' to do with Snow, Devil May Cry, or anything else. Just this purty summary. XD


K'Cialth's wealth spread out far and wide, encompassing a vast region. Lush trees, raging rivers and the portraits of life were given to all, accompanying each and every being that wished for peace. The skies were radiant reflections of emotion, capturing the resonant stream of every mortal's soul. Flocks soared through those very same skies, rushing towards an invincible eternity. The silvery blue luminosity of K'Cialth was hospitable towards those in need of restoration, tranquility and rapture.

The city was suited for those that wished to discover. Explorers could easily satisfy their appetites for new treasures, for nature's treasures littered the grounds of K'Cialth. The moist, dewy ground held small shards of glittering jewels. Melodies gently brushed against the leaves of emerald green trees, and the blue cascades of K'Cialth invigorated weary souls. Chocobos were feathers on the wind, either transporting beloved riders or soaring through life on their own. Families, lovers and lone adventurers were exploring Heaven's grounds, taking in the rich scent of dew.

Establishments had been built inside of K'Cialth, but none of them dampened the land's natural magic. They were painstakingly crafted by those that respected the land's resources. Only a handful of establishments were sprinkled across the land, accompanied by the humble homes. Inhabitants and visitors alike cherished the land of K'Cialth, taking great pride in the land's services and wealth. Individuals from all walks of life visited the rich lands, including a handful of intimately close rascals.

One of K'Cialth's buildings happened to be a lush hotel, a place that offered simple yet wondrously beautiful accomodations for all visitors. The palace was built with the intent of sharing natural magic with the world, and its creators succeeded in doing so. The hotel's lobby, rooms and banquet room were all portals to the land's pristine innocence, complete with fragrant emerald trees and glittering waters. The morning had barely crept out of its bed, though, and so a certain handful of customers occupied their room.

Two of those souls were standing on their designated balcony, overlooking jade green fields and rivers. Both of them were of similiar girth, bulky stallions that could easily crush a barricade of boulders. One stallion was gravely worried over something, while the other stallion, who was much calmer in nature, had every intention of comforting him.

"At this point, thinking of her hurts. She's out there, waiting on me, but...she's in so much pain. Every minute I spend without her is a dagger to my heart, especially since I know she's suffering!"

While the calmer stallion had every intention of providing comfort, his mind was occupied with a separate matter. His eyes, normally alive with magic, were distant. They were drenched in the waters of distress, but for the other's sake, he kept his inner dismay concealed from view.

For the most part.

He was a beautiful thing, sweet in nature and ravishing on the inside. Of course he wasn't a slender flower, but his hulking physique was an integral part of his portrait. His existence. His melody. Drenched in sorrow, he could do nothing but allow his blue eyes to wander through pain. Remorse. Guilt.

"If only I had been there for her! If only I had done something for her! If I had played my part, she wouldn't be in this mess!"

The other stallion said nothing, betraying his normal demeanor. Prior to daybreak he would have pulled every card to comfort the other, but sadly found himself empty-handed. He wasn't his usual self, bearing the face of a saddened, disheartened princess. "We've got everything under control," he said after a moment of intolerable silence, earning a fatally sweet look from the other. Inwardly he cursed himself for surviving the sugary-sweet expression of hope.

"Don't worry about a thing, Snowpea. We're half way there!"

The stallion named Snow was almost breathless from anticipation, and would die if he received a poor answer. "We are? Are you sure?"

"Course we are, angelface. Once we're ready to move out, we'll head on over to Mana'kil. One of my brother's friends set up camp there, and should be able to provide us with some answers. We'll have to pull him out of a crowd, know. Someone that ugly shouldn't be too difficult to find."

Whenever Snow smiled, the heavens split and poured down their light. The stallion named Dante caught wind of his smiles and experienced simultaneous reactions. His heart skipped a thousand beats, but at the same time, daggers drove themselves deeper into his soul. Snow's latest smile didn't lighten the amount of daggers to his already weakened soul. "A friend of mine told me something," the white-haired demon hunter said, purposefully averting his eyes from the blonde stallion.

"Happened during my little field trip. He told me how the members of the Eighth Gate have awakened, and will stop at nothing to gain control over our pretty mortal realm."

"The Eighth Gate?" the leader of Team Nora asked, painting a flawless depiction of fear upon his face. "Wait a minute. From what you told me, we've only got three gates to go before-"

Dante, with a sigh, placed his back against the balcony's rail. "Yep, sweetie, you've got it. Doomsday. Or so the story says. You know, my father wasn't the best storyteller, being the Commander-in-Chief of the demon realm."

"Yeah, well, we're in the middle of your father's bedtime story," Snow said, stern yet gentle. He couldn't have projected venom if his life depended on it, unless he had to project it at an opposing force. "From what I remember, the gates symbolize rise in power. As we edge closer to the Eleventh Gate, the demons rise in power-and the world edges closer to destruction. If we're going to have any chance at saving Serah, or our homes, then we've got to move fast."

The soft stallion's words were true-painfully true. If their little band didn't make enough progress, in a suitable amount of time, everything would be lost. The life of Snow's precious Serah would go up in flames, all of Hell would literally break loose on Earth, and...and...

Birds. They were there, high in the silvery blue sky. He found himself smiling, wishing he could live amongst them. They were beautiful, divine beings of rapturous color. Alive and free they were, detached from the burdensome troubles of a mortal life. They had nothing to worry over. They had the gift of life, while he-


He turned to face Snow, the untouchable painter of emotion. The blonde's face was a canvas of distress, clearly conveying his worry for the demon hunter's condition. He had been acting oddly all day, strangely detached from the team, and even from his trainee Nero. Something was wrong, and Snow knew it.

"Everything okay? You've been pretty quiet."

For a brief moment, the greatest pain flashed on Dante's face. He kept his eyes from Snow's, reflecting on everything that burned inside. A fretful Snow studied him, helplessly in search of a solution. "Something happened back at home, didn't it?" the captain of Team Nora asked, always gentle. Always kind. He grasped at Dante's hand, but-

Dante wrenched it away. Instinctively.

"Nothing much. Just had a rotten party, that's all. And it was a long night."

Snow's face was brilliantly beautiful, perfectly complimented by the emerging Aurorabursts. Aurorabursts were elegant, vibrant creatures, akin to the fluffy dandelion flowers one blew in pursuit of wishes. They emerged with the dawn, bringing something to light. Team Nora's captain might have been named 'Snow', but 'Dawn' would have been just as suitable. If not 'Daybreak'.

"You can talk to me. Let me know what's going on."

It was an option. He could reveal everything to Snow, and have it all out in the open. He could warn Snow, and have him flee. He could deal with everything on his own. He could-

"Hey there."

"Ah," the demon hunter said, even brighter than the unborn sun. He was a coach, and the newcomer to his conversation was a much-needed player for the field. "Lebby! What brings you by? Something wrong with breakfast?"

Lebreau, hands on her hips, took the opportunity to answer with a smile. As rays of orange and gold split through the sky, she shared her smile with those she held dear. "Gadot stole Nero's food," she said, without the slightest bit of concern-or enthusiasm. Her absence of concern was replaced by an abundance of affection, though.

"The two are at each other's throats. Better stop 'em, Snow."

"Wha? Isn't there more on the table?"

If there was one thing Snow took pride in, it was his cooking. He was a self-taught chef, and made every dish with love. Hearing the enjoyment of his customers brought smiles to his face, and a certain demon hunter could bear to look at him. "I thought I made enough for everybody," the blonde stallion said forlornly, looking very much like a deer in headlights. Lebreau exchanged a smile with a wounded demon hunter, and chuckled.

"Apparently not. You'd better get in there, or else we'll be down two players."

She tossed her head, and returned to their inner chambers. After sharing a shrug, her chosen saviors followed suit. Dante inwardly thanked both Lebreau and Nero for the interruption, even as he stepped inside a world of chaos.

It was a beautiful, radiant picture. Fragile beams of sunshine had broken into their eating area, bestowing a rich, healthy glow upon everything. Gadot, self-assigned to the role of referee, chased his opponent around the breakfast table. Two voices were clamoring for the greatest power, with the voice of Dante's trainee being the loudest. Observing Nero's latest tantrum with folded arms, Snow laughed.

"Well well well. Looks like everyone enjoyed breakfast! I'm glad."

Dante cast him a glance, face immersed in a world of pain. "I'm glad we got to it before those morons did," the demon hunter said, masking his inner turmoil. "If we had left it all to them, we would have been fresh out of luck!"

A smiling Lebreau opened her mouth to respond, but found herself beaten by Snow. He seemed to be mentally occupied with something, but was peaceful. "You know," her captain said, eyeing the incensed Nero. "He reminds me of someone."

"Who?" the maiden asked, turning to her commander. Meanwhile, Dante returned his eyes to cascades of newborn sunshine. "Nero?"

Snow could have earned a million dollars for each of his smile. "Yeah. He's just different," he explained warmly, eyes twinkling. "They're the same, but at the same time, he isn't like her at all."

"It's amazing how long you put up with her," Lebreau said, eyes capturing the morning's magic. "From what I've heard, I'd go with Nero any day instead of her."

"What can I do?" the blonde stallion said, with another shrug. "She's Serah's sister!"

As Nero and Snow's childhood friend continued to pummel each other, Lebreau and Team Nora's commander entered their world of sunshine. The Villiers patted a silent demon hunter on the back, then made his ascent into a rather warm realm. Dante, returning to his previous world of storm clouds, remained on the balcony.

He turned to the heavens, trying to ignore the laughter that brewed within. His eyes begged for assistance, but received none. "None of you are going to help me, are you?" he said with his own shrug, then turned his back on the outside world.

He entered a kingdom of laughter, but felt very much detached from the joy he held so dear.

This was composed to 'The Vestige', a song from the unbeatable Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack.

Cast of characters: Dante (DMC4), Nero (DMC4), Snow, Team Nora, Serah, and others I shall not name yet. XD

Thank you for following this tale!