WARNING: Spoilers for Chapter 7, 8 and early into 9.

Author's Note: Thanks heaps with lots of love to all of you (you know who you are XD) who reviewed and put this story on their favourites and alerts – it means a lot. :D Previous chapter was Cid-centric. This chapter is Yaag-centric! I don't really like this chapter, I think it lacks.

Part II: Vendetta

The Sanctum was toppling – its foundations slowly giving way to the empire with a large gaping hole drilled deep near the centre. The wound was evident, however, the public lacked the eyes to see the missing link. Instead, they continued with their daily lives not in fear of the degrading government, or of the Pulse l'Cie. The sextet of fiends, cursed by Pulse and its malevolent fal'Cie, featured the screens of only the Sanctum. The public were informed though assured that the Pulse threats were far from civilisation and that even still, the Sanctum were on their tails protecting civilians – a mask to hide the truth. The government always shrouded their mistakes and issues in such a way, never wanting riots to burst out or for the truth to leak into the public and poisoning their power and respect.

That is how Dysley planned and ordered the Sanctum. Nothing of their operation or the chaos flanking Cocoon would ever reach the people whose lives depended on them. Information had been sought after and gained – many alarms had been triggered in the Grapa Whitewood. Palumpolum was the next area on the map and the next destination for the l'Cie.

PSICOM and the Guardian Corps banded together, discussing tactics, battle plans, and distributional orders in the dim light of a meeting room within the Palamecia. Nabaat had been absent, though did attest that she was tailing two of the threats in Nautillus. The Guardian Corps argued relentlessly with PSICOM and it was out of Yaag's power to have those not under his reign to obey his orders no matter how superior in rank he was to them. Instead, to eliminate their quarrelling, he waved off the Guardian Corps members, announced that they inform the Brigadier General of the invasion in Palumpolum, and left it to Raines to decide what to do with them.

For two weeks he was unable to contact Cid Raines either in person or by phone, yet the Guardian Corps was able to. There was a time when both armadas used to agree. There was a time when PSICOM and the Guardian Corps worked in harmony, though they did not dislike each other, the lack of Raines' presence did irk them.

Now, Yaag stood tall, the sunlight ahead beaming down in warm rays reflected off the shiny metal of his badge – awarded to display his rank. Pride settled over him as he surveyed the area on the deck of an airship hovering into the docks with a pleased eye that his men and the Guardian Corps were cooperating as they always had before. Though he did not know what Raines had informed his men to do, he was greatly satisfied by the letter written and signed in Cid's hand stating that this was Rosch's assignment and not his therefore leaving Yaag to command. The Guardian Corps, of course, did not know that.

An army of air battle ships flew over up ahead, the sun's rays blotted out for a moment as they began to circle or land in the docks. Sanctum trucks drove into the large concrete square, filling places that air ships did not. Soldiers ran out of their transportation, or tearing away from their stiff lines, to the trucks, immediately retrieving guns and ammunition in practised haste. Commanders and lower classed generals shouted orders, directing cadets and lower ranked soldiers to their places. Two high division soldiers stood, unmoving, beside Yaag – their faces and identities, like every other soldier was concealed behind a helmet, the frame covering their faces like a mask, the visor too dark for any eyes, l'Cie or not, to penetrate a gaze into.

Rosch dipped his head as he continued to watch the soldiers swarm below in an orderly manner like bees. Everything was in order. He waved his hand to one of the soldiers beside him and was handed a headset. He inserted it and took in a deep breath – these men were under his power, his jurisdiction.

"Attention all units. This is Director Rosch, PSICOM division." He began, his voice echoing throughout the docks. Some soldiers stopped, lined up and saluted, while others prepared themselves for battle – loading their guns and organising their own small, issued battalion. "Cocoon is caught in the grip of a Pulse borne terror. If we allow l'Cie activity to continue, panic will rip our world apart. The peace and stability that we have fought so hard to maintain will be nothing, but a memory. Pulse l'Cie threaten our very way of life. They must be eliminated. There can be no hesitation. That is all."

He removed the headset and gave it back to the soldier. His chest felt heavy and hollow at the same time and he knew very much the reason why. He turned away and stared down at his polished boots. Two weeks it has been, two long weeks since he last saw his lover, or more appropriately his former lover. No matter in whichever way he wanted to approach the situation, he began to realise, with each passing day, how strongly he had loved Cid and never once had he said it to the man. Yaag was always backing up the Sanctum, fighting for Cocoon that he pushed his emotions, desires far away from his person in fear that if word of Raines having slept in his bed, or vice versa, reached any Sanctum official, he would fall in rank and be reaped of his pride. Foolish he was, so overly vigilant to the point that he never uttered those three words to his lover. Then again, if he did love Cid, wouldn't he have favoured the man over the Sanctum?

It made Yaag sick to think of such things and he buried all thoughts and emotions deep within. There was nothing anymore, Cid was a l'Cie, waiting and wanting to destroy Cocoon. He would do anything to stop him, and that means falling out of love.

"If we fail, our citizens will pay the price." He muttered to himself, trying to convince himself that Cid meant little to him and the Sanctum was for the people.

Rosch always fought for the greater good.

An elevator reached its peaked and two figures scrambled out: a boy and a woman. They were frazzled, their attention bouncing around the confines of the large abandoned square. The midday sun glared down at them, nothing that shared an existence to Cocoon dared to like the two. The woman, attentive, the boy frightened. Something irked their senses as they ran into the square.

"In a recently convened emergency conference, the Sanctum announced that the fugitive l'Cie have been located." Sounded the voice of a confident reporter, the l'Cie's heads snapping to the direction of a public television hoisted on a building. "The military plans to apprehend the l'Cie and carry out a public execution. These images coming to you live from the scene in Palumpolum."

The woman frowned and the boy shuffled closer to her, afraid, and she maintained a defensive position, thoughts flying off to ways in keeping him safe. Their actions displayed on the screen.

An air vessel flew over and the sun disappeared, the l'Cie's eyes, travelled the ship, only to find two others and more after that. Panic fell on them and the sounds of guns clicking from snipers above in buildings to the scuffling of booted feet hitting the paved square in a synchronised march made them feel dizzy with the rapid twisting of their heads. The soldiers took position and aimed, though did not fire as a shadow began to loom into the square, but stopped short to a mid descent.

Rosch paced in firm strides along the deck, the wind toying with his hair and two high classed soldiers followed him, along with the floating orb – a camera that Dysley ordered he take so as to record his efforts. He would not let down the Sanctum.

"These are l'Cie. Show no mercy." Declared Rosch, "They aren't people, they're targets!"

The woman scoffed and muttered something to the boy. Any amusement or sense of accomplishment fell in Yaag's eyes, he had the l'Cie surrounded and all he had to do was click his fingers and the two of those beasts were slaughtered as mercilessly as they must be needed be. He refrained, wanting a moment longer for that fear and loss of hope to continue to ride on the pitiable l'Cie.

His hand began to rise, ready to strip the dirty fiends of their sinful life, but a white and blue blur struck one of his snipers and the unfortunate cry of pained soldiers erupted in the air as one then three, had their yells die as they hit the square below in a bloodied mess. The action was fast, unexpected, the rest of the battalions, both PSICOM and Guardian Corps, were left disorientated for a moment, until they unleashed gunfire on the blurs.

A blue crystal was tossed into the air and shot. The crystal opened, odd glyphs circled it until a blinding light rose from its centre. Yaag shielded his eyes, his train of thoughts stirring around one profane word. Lilac eyes opened and watched as his men were facing the wrath of l'Cie power.

The white blur was a man, and a woman in blue sat on an eidolon-crafted motorcycle behind him. More l'Cie? Yaag grimaced in the slightest bit, hate broiling within his person as he watched his men and the Guardian Corps die by l'Cie blade and magic. Cid was one of those merciless combatants. Their hearts so very cold like the twisting uproar of ice that tore from the trembling ground of the square, killing soldiers like ants.

The commands died on Yaag's lips as he watched the l'Cie cut down his men without mercy. There was nothing he could say – not even words of encouragement. Their blood was staining the tiles, not the l'Cie's. He was shocked, but above all else, he was angered. He was angered with himself – the l'Cie's very existence was to be blamed for such.

The soldiers by him were shooting, though well trained, the l'Cie were quick and metal bullets pelted the pavers for dust. The pink-haired woman looked up, her cerulean gaze nothing, but a vile glare as she rose her weapon to shoot the Lieutenant Colonel, but her aim was off and she shot the soldier by Rosch. He screamed in agony, his life slipping from his fingers as he stumbled to the side and slid off the ship and down into the field of his deceased comrades. Yaag did nothing, but watch him go down, there was no point in helping him – he would only get distracted and wind up as dead as the armies below.

Sounds of gunfire and the anguished cries of PSICOM and the Guardian Corps filled his ears, though he did nothing, but pretend everything was under control for the camera twirling around and watching him. Nothing, nothing but an act for the Sanctum.

Dysley would not care for how many soldiers died.

The man on the motorcycle rode up on a sheet of ice, curved against a building, a masochistic smirk plastered to his lips. The woman was shooting, her bullets aiming for Rosch and the man had little time to react. He barely dodged them, instantly gritting his teeth and uttering a frustrated groan. The camera zoomed in on him and with an aggravated growl he snatched the horrid thing and hurled it into the l'Cie's line of firing.

Bullets assaulted the object, the thing giving its last squeak before it combusted in a flurry of flames and thick plumes of black smoke, sent Yaag to his knees spluttering for air and the other soldier to hit the floor, before darting back up immediately to fire at nonsense.

He had enough. The Sanctum would not care if they lost all of their soldiers, but Yaag cared for the people and those cries and the swearing of his soldiers were more than enough.

He thumped the ship with his fist, "Move! Take us up!" he ordered.

The air ship started its ascent, exiting the scene and Rosch sighed.

He failed.

The streets began to smell, a stench rising from lifeless soldiers littering suburbia, all lying in heaps, one body arched over another akin to toppled dominoes only red. Their entrails splayed beneath them if not slowly seeping from their wounded sides, bringing gangs of feral cats to gnaw at the soldier's flesh – meowing and tussling over the better serve of fresh meat for their starved bodies.

They were mocking the Sanctum's pride and honour leaving their helpless soldiers a perturbed rest and so the cycle of life continues.

Yaag was growing anxious and increasingly agitated by the l'Cie's lucky escape. However, the weight of hundreds of his men dead and now serving as food for cats and flies pulled him down at the shoulders – barely enough strength remained in him before he were to snap and lose his mind. Two thirds, if not four fifths, of the two thousand men he had issued to Palumpolum had been vanquished before his very eyes. It was the sheer strength of those l'Cie which terrified him and the thought that Cid Raines was capable of such power – it shook him to the core.

No matter. He sent in another three hundred men and order for aerial assault – forward defence as well as evacuating the civilians to be rounded up for Purge.

He did not let his insecurities fall over his face, a cold mask chiselled into indifference, a stoic appeal of somewhat visual heroics as he stood on a raised platform, surveying the docks. Though he strived not to be a hero, but a man to save Cocoon – praise was petty talk to him, a Lieutenant Colonel is not made such without doing their job and truly that was all he was doing; failure or not.

Lilac eyes followed the shapes of yellow and those of grey, how from before they were slightly wary of each other to now, how their camaraderie was re-discovered reminding him of the time when he had worked alongside the Guardian Corps back when he was only a title-less PSICOM soldier through and during his Lieutenant days. The small memory quirked his lips upwards with the thoughts of his reserved teenaged self , with a solid shell formed around him only to be broken upon awestruck at the beauty and mesmerising aura of the haughty, extroverted, yet poised young Cid Raines. Almost a decade since then had passed. So very much had changed in the matter of minutes two weeks previous.

He felt no remorse.

A group of ten or more Guardian Corps soldiers bounded over to Rosch, their batons and their guns swinging from their tight grips. He knew what these men wanted: an explanation to his actions and why PSICOM was in the area when clearly the Guardian Corps were stationed to protect Palumpolum in the first place. He chose to ignore their arrival and watched two PSICOM officers marc h, barely casting a glance and a nod of respect towards Rosch.

A Guardian Corps soldier stepped forward in the group knowing that Yaag would not turn his head to pay them any heed.

He boldly cleared his throat and let his argument roll of his tongue accentuating his frustration, "This city is under our jurisdiction. We're the ones defending it. We should have a say in what's done to protect it!"

Yaag did not respond, he did not want to deal with these men and their petty ideas, so he feigned nonchalance and turned his back to them with a soft half smile and pressed his earpiece, "Attention all units. Ignore all fire zone restrictions. Fire at will."

The soldiers gasped, "Huh? What?"

"Whatever it takes to kill the l'Cie..." he continued, waving off the ghostly image of a l'Cie brand which ended it all, but crestfallen he was, and at the same time, angered, "Over."

"Whatever it takes?" cried the Guardian Corps soldier, Rosch twitched – whatever it takes, "You wanna start a war on the streets? Civilians are still evacuating, the collateral we're talking about is unacceptable."

"You don't know what it's like out there!"

"You!" lashed Yaag, his sword ringing as he quickly unsheathed it, rendering the men frightened, "Don't understand why we're here. Who do you think it is terrified of Pulse and begging for us to kill the l'Cie?" His cold voice a grating sound against their ears and truly, they did not know whether they knew the answer to the question or not.

Though Yaag knew, it was what he fought for and what Cid betrayed.

"It's not the Sanctum. It's not us. It's the people."

Peace. There will be no peace for as long as a Pulse fal'Cie continues to live. Many of the dead soldiers were left in unrest with being pillaged from. Badges and weapons, hats and jackets, leather boots and especially wallets had been looted and from some soldiers, their bodies were stripped of all dignity and pride – no respect for a deceased soldier, fighter for the people! – naked bodies, their uniform stolen right down to the threads of the man's own hide.

When the last remnants of fallen men were swiped clean from the streets and the feral cats were put to sleep, their rabid faces with mouths, teeth and noses plastered with blood made even the strongest of stomachs churn unpleasantly, the sun died on the horizon and the moon shone silver light on silver ships.

They hovered in the air, not too close and not too far. They saw them and they didn't know. PSICOM knew where those evil creatures were hiding. So many of the civilians were moaning and screaming with hoarse throats on the damp streets, mourning, grieving for the dead: family, friends, those they did not know and even the soldiers. Soon it had to be contemplated whether the paved roads were damp from being recently washed down to rid the town of blood or from the tears that the citizens shed. The weeping would never come to a close.

The day was a day of abjection, so full, no more than a drop could send down crashing waves of obliteration onto the lands of Cocoon as a state of emergency had been uplifted like a waving red flag of hope. Deep down, however, Yaag knew, that the Sanctum would stop at naught to not allow the rest of their world to catch word of the l'Cie's activities in an economically and socially powerful city and even more did he know that Eden was protected: blind and led by clueless minds. Those in the offices did not see the horror – the fingers Rosch had to pry off from issued swords, tossing those weapons into a large metal crate to be cleaned, polished and passed down onto the next recruits. An ongoing cycle – Yaag hoped for it to end.

He wanted to raise that red flag of hope and bring salvation and peace to his world, so he ordered his men to shuffle out of the air ship, the thick smog of night awash on them and stars, though few, dotted the sky. He had stopped gazing at the moon and her twinkling friends for a long time, the image of night now becoming nothing but the perfect time for secret attacks and a blanket of darkness.

PSICOM made quite the entrance and he was impressed, sending out only his best men – the elite forces. From his distance he heard glass shatter and the hiss of gas bombs as his men pounded their way down through the glass roof of the house...Bartholomew Estheim you bastard! Traitor of the Sanctum...housing Pulse l'Cie! It was a ridiculous thought and event, but he was also hit by compassion and admiration.

In there was Estheim and his son, that man so willing to look out for his son, to take care of him and make sure that he was safe despite his l'Cie status. It hurt Yaag to know that he could have been like Bartholomew, but instead, he pushed Cid away and knocked him down in the process, not offering even a sarcastic thought with helping him back up with a willingness to support him.

The elites fell and this time, Yaag allowed not surprise or shock to befall him, but instead a slight expectation that he would not see those strapping young lads all clad in grey and black. The blazing fire of their guns had long since halted, a long three minutes, and he only waited with a group of his unit, perched on guard , some standing, others kneeling, all in front of him waiting with baited breath for the enemy to declare itself.

Time continued to drift and silent impatience settled within the soldiers, though their bodies did not express such in their stock positions and taut muscles. Rosch hid in the shadows, his earpiece buzzing once in a while, noting him of any activity and the engaged field layout set for the sky. One ship at a time, Dysley wanted the l'Cie alive, not as a bloody steak on his doorstep.

A white flag, a display of peace. No, not a flag, a man's coat, but that did no longer matter as it became christened to a holey denial as bullets shelled through the material. No sign of peace was a sign of peace when coming from a l'Cie and PSICOM was spitting on them, showing them their disapproval to the monster's surrender, wanting instead to shoot him down. Respect? No fiend deserved that, so PSICOM kept spitting and for as long as the short outburst lasted, Yaag smiled, they knew when to stop, no order was to be given – this was the Sanctum's way of showing who is boss, by spitting on a man's cry for mercy.

"Don't shoot! I'll show you what a l'Cie looks like!" yelled a male voice from within the ruined home, and the firing stopped.

As the last casing of a bullet hit the concrete pavers, its shrill ring pierced the sudden silence of the night after the blaring stuttering of guns, PSICOM soldiers once again returned to an unflinching group of dignified statues. Yaag, however, frowned, he wanted the dunce to give up and allow himself to be shot down. His men held fire.

Bandaged around the torso, just a few broken or fractured ribs and this l'Cie held the bones together with gauze, his arms raised – a sign of peace, surrender? Rosch was not sure, however, he perched himself away from the long, brilliant lights casting down from one of the ships above, and stayed lurking in the shadows, watching the l'Cie and his tender, bruised muscles move onto the scene – not a single action had been overlooked by those analytical lilac eyes.

Laser points shot at the fiend as he strode with languorous steps guiding him, almost relaxed he seemed, but Yaag could see that finite pull and tensing of the man's muscles – an unease with the weapons aimed at him. With those arms held up so high, the beast looked as if he were on death row walking to his execution. His blonde hair – dirty, matted with sweat and Yaag's lips curled ever in the slightest, oh how amusing, his lover is one of those grotty fools!

The l'Cie stopped, his blonde hair flipping as he did in a way like a bird's broken wing. The red dots aimed at the forehead of the fiend and a grimace of sorts fell on that roughed face, but only fear and dread filled those eyes of his – a facade and one that Rosch could see clearly through, no l'Cie can feel emotion, they brought a plague of terror to Cocoon so how could they feel emotion?

"Me. I'm a l'Cie. Surprised? Expected some kind of monster?" the monster spoke, but raised his voice as he continued – fear, that dunce was shaking and Yaag was laughing, keeping his eye on those contemplative actions, oh how very daring! The l'Cie stepped through the blown out window and onto the paved square, those beefy, weak arms still hanging in the air as if held by strings, ah yes, a puppet of Cocoon, "I'm flesh and blood like you. An ordinary citizen of Cocoon. Don't you get it? This has been our home our whole lives. How could we even think about destroying it? We want to protect this place just as much as you?"

The PSICOM soldiers slackened their firm positions as confusion befell them. Their motives were the same, so why fight a comrade? Murmuring broke out in the crew many bearing the confusion and disbelief that they all felt, others tried to remain solid – loyal to the Sanctum's beliefs on l'Cie.


"He's on our side?"

"I don't see a weapon."

"He's lying."

"What if he's telling the truth?"

"Stay focused!"

"It's a trick!"

Meanwhile, Yaag's thoughts had not changed, though he was enlightened. Were all l'Cie like this? Were they all just like Cid, begging for a greater good which they think they could gain for Cocoon? The soldier ignored his men's hushed opinions and declared his own.

"You must be Snow Villiers."

The blonde's head swivelled to the shadows where the smooth, accented voice had echoed from.

The soldiers jumped at the voice of their commander, their focus drawn away from their target and mission to the lies dripping from that l'Cie's mouth – made for his soldiers to contemplate and lose their attention; to fall for a simple trap.

A harsh light glowed behind him, a brilliant white engulfing the shadows as gentle, measured footfalls resonated through the expanse of the area consumed with stark silence. The l'Cie squinted at the light, trying to make out the figure of Yaag Rosch, to see the man that had directed so very many Purges.

Those footsteps stopped and the light glowed behind him. His face, chiselled out of the coldest of stones, greeted the fiend with no warmth, but a hollow, false mirth.

"Yaag Rosch. PSICOM division." He spoke firmly, coldly – detached from emotion, but seeing the l'Cie bandaged and bruised, he could not help, but notice how very human he still was and it brought to light the callous behaviour he dealt on his own lover. There was a personal connection, one that Rosch yearned to break, but Cid was what held him back and a wry smile tugged at the corners of his lips, "I understand your plight." The images fell and so did his smile as he shook his head, ridding him of his tender thoughts of Cid – the Sanctum always came first, "However, the Pulse threat is not so easily dismissed. The very existence of you l'Cie puts every last one of us in danger. Tell me, do you really think your life is worth more than the lives of millions of Cocoon citizens?"

The l'Cie paused in his thoughts and the insensitive Rosch answered the question with honest indifference and a shake of his head, "I do not. And so, it falls to me to order your execution. It's that simple. It's my responsibility to see you put down."

A brief image flashed through his mind, one filled with hurt, distant golden eyes and a cursed symbol tying the beautiful man to an ugly deed. Rosch dropped his eyes to the ground, closing them slowly to blink away a coming moisture and all he felt was bitter...bitter remorse and disdain towards his weakness.

"You're lives are forfeit." He spat, turning on his heel to head back into the ship, not wanting to waste his time with a pitiful l'Cie, let alone let his weakness take a firm grasp on him.

Unimpressed, the l'Cie began to whine. "Aw cut the crap! You want l'Cie then kill l'Cie." Struck, Rosch stopped in his tracks, "Why do other people have to die?" rage swelled inside him, he was a man for the people, not against them, and this coldblooded killer, this l'Cie, was criticising his orders – the irony, but what angered him most were the frequent entrances of Raines in his mind, "The Purges gotta stop!"

"Do you think we want to Purge our own people?" exclaimed Yaag, and instead of a staggering blonde he saw Cid – wide-eyed and hurting, "If any trace of Pulse remains the populace will erupt into chaos! Without sacrifice, without the Purge, Cocoon will die!"

As his words carried through the chilly night air, an unknown cue was made. Three objects from above hit the ground before him, clinking on the concrete, all eyes following the metal canisters as they rolled aimlessly for a few moments. Before thought process had engaged, gas spewed from the canisters with a violent hiss. The soldiers gasped in shock, then coughs and they tried to shield their masks from the gas with flailing arms.

"Who fired?" roared Yaag, coughing from the gas bombs, lilac eyes scanning what little could be seen in the dense mist, "I gave no order!"

An explosion boomed from behind them, all soldiers whipping around to see a burning wreck of a vessel falling out of the sky like a bird without wings. Dull yells tore out, muffled by the crackling of the flames licking up the hull sending off large plumes of dense grey and black clouds which carried the scent of carnage, so familiar to them from the mass assassination of the Sanctum's army that day.

A staccato of bangs shot at the elites and a soldier wailed in pain as his body jerked and his gun hit the ground with a clatter, then he too fell onto cold concrete. For a minute moment, peace filled the realm and Yaag registered only one thought: apocalypse. More shots, bullets sped through the clouded air, more soldiers began to cry, more bodies hit the ground and all Rosch could do was watch, twirl on the spot, watching his men circle around him, weapons in hand and firing aimlessly into the night. They fired at their comrades instead of their foes – unseen in the blur of the white mist. Too many of his men were falling, their weapons ending their lives faster other than trying to save themselves. Another detonation, another ship in flames, another street crushed by an inferno from the sky.

The intensity was facing him, and Yaag could not think – he could not act, just rooted to the spot with trepidation, he would have blamed the l'Cie, but the unexpected act made him incapable of contemplating in the slightest – just 'how'.

The mist began to slowly clear as a wind stirred the air. He could see one of his soldiers, without a weapon, almost begging for mercy, knees quivering from fear – he was frightened no more as bullets rained down on his small chest – he was young. With avid eyes Yaag saw the man through the licks of smoke – blood smeared uniform of PSICOM.

"No..." he breathed, his own men fighting against him – he worked for the people!

He staggered backwards on his feet, his head whipping around him. The screams rang louder, screeching in his ears, the yells echoed orders – pointless orders, could elites win when fighting against elites? Those commands fell around him like his own armada did: with a dull thud. Swears resonated, curses at their own friends, curses at themselves and Yaag swore too, swore at nothing, but swore at everything.

Through the blaring guns and the loud rumble of strained voices from hoarse throats, Rosch heard a click to his right. He turned, he didn't see, but he heard and he felt, bullets ripping through the air and his own flesh. He cried out in pain, warm blood flowing from his wounds, starting to turn his body cold. He fell backwards, his body hitting the ground and his breaths became choppy. His left arm sent shredding pain slicing through his anatomy, but he braved against it, he had to get out of there.

Pushing himself up swiftly on shaky legs, he manoeuvred through his battling army, clutching his bleeding appendage to his chest, calling for a retreat as he hurtled to the ship. What little left of his army continued to fire at any moving object followed closely behind, then the noise ceased as the iron door closed and all that could be heard were their ragged breaths.

Yaag kept his back to his men, disappointment settling in and also an air of distrust. The soldiers rid themselves of their head guards, breathing in a loud sigh of relief as they felt the ship begin to rise and depart to a safe distance from the scene. One, however, wide-eyed and ashen faced scanned the only surviving members of the armada.

"Where's Andy?" he asked, voice quivering with terror. He looked to his comrades and they turned their eyes to the floor, "My little brother...where is he?"

The hand of one of his friends fell on his shoulder and all Yaag heard next were.

"Andy is...Andy's not here...he...he's with your dad now."


"Men!" shouted Yaag, his voice firm despite the pain erupting from his wounds, "Collect yourselves and take your places! We're still fighting."

They clicked their heels together with one hand raised in a rigid salute, "Yes sir!"

Rosch stiffly nodded his head and turned on his heel, his red fluids dropping onto the floor with a sickly drip. The pain was not letting up, he needed to use his pocketknife then visit a medic – a cure or X-potion will not do, metal pellets do not simply dissolve into the flesh! As he strode towards the bridge of the airship, every step vibrated through his being, arousing new tremors of pain to rupture into him. There was a temptation to draw out his sword, his recently sharpened katana, to sever his limb off, what good was it now?

The soldiers noticed his wounds, an eagerness to speak up rose in them, but they knew from experiences that they never saw it. Yaag was one who wanted his pain, his ability of being careless and weak, to himself – the man had too much pride to seek help or for others to care for him and feel pity – pity is for the weak!

Through the twisting corridors of the darkly hued walls and low lighting of the ship, they marched through an automated iron door and into the bridge. Computer screens surrounded them, giving off the only light in the room along with LED lights of red and green dotted out in the maze of computers and the PSICOM officials tapping away at numerous keys and flicking an assortment of switches. Yaag broke away from the group and already began to direct.

"What's our status men?" he greeted, eyeing the cables and technological workings alike.

A soldier at a computer stood up from his chair, saluting, "Sir, we have lost twenty six men sir!"

Twenty six...Rosch turned around and counted the fraction. Only four...

His brows creased into a scowl and said nothing for a prolonged moment. His men had caught wind of the dire situation and the sudden flicker in the radiant light of support and commitment within their leader. They began to worry – they depended on the Lieutenant Colonel's strength and if the man were to succumb to such weights then they would fall far further than death itself.

In truth, Yaag's thoughts had halted. Why would his own men turn their backs to him and their comrades in such abysmal displays of treachery? He turned back around and looked out of the large glass window. There were no stars out in the sky, a sky so black, so sightless from the thick, dark clouds that rose from the fallen ships. The ships did not matter, but the people did, all of them now rounded up for Purge.

It was hypnotic, and he walked towards the glass feeling almost...human, human like an ordinary civilian and not a PSICOM leader. This was his battle, his Cocoon was changing, dying – he will fight for all he knew was worth saving.

"Go ahead with the plan." He ordered.

The soldier looked down nervously, "But sir...the ship you ordered to–"

"I said go ahead with the plan!" demanded Rosch, lilac eyes focused on the burning carnage lighting vacant houses aflame, "I know that ship is down, so send in another one!"

The soldier saluted, "Yes, sir!"

Rosch paced to his right and to a secluded computer especially reserved for him. Upon adjusting the headset and entering both the security and pass code, he entered the mainframe and pushed a button on the keyboard, launching a camera out to the scene so he could access visuals of the mission at hand.

The other men tapped away, headsets placed securely over their ears. They did all of the internal work, providing technical support and commands, if not listening to the commands being issued within the ship warring with the l'Cie. Their fingers flicking switches and pushing buttons, lights flicking on then flicking off as other men controlled the workings of the ship they occupied.

As Rosch sat in that chair, he saw the l'Cie slowly climb out of the ruins that once served as a home, and into the aftermath of the attack. A grimace fell on his face – they were pillaging from his soldiers, those dirty l'Cie.

"Positioning PSICOM battleship 317 within appropriate radius of the l'Cie." Informed a soldier.

Yaag smiled, wouldn't those l'Cie be in for a surprise? Their cursed heads rose at the whir of an airship lowering beneath the black smoke hanging dense in the midnight air. Their hair tussled in the wind, and the young boy cowered over to a pink haired woman and only in the brief time of a microsecond did Yaag feel pity for the young soul. Oh, cram it, the kid's a freaking harbinger of death!

"Launching, first heat detecting missile."

Those defenceless l'Cie...they would be in for one hell of a shocker!

"Missile launched. Fire."

The weapon was unleashed from its confines and time seemed to thicken. They will die...no one could survive such an unexpected attack...those murderous eyes, ironically, they flashed with fear. Impact. His men swore. Concrete rose from below, splintering off into fragments scattering about and smashing windows of houses yards away with amber tinted grey smoke rising from the metal husk left behind. A large cavity was all that could be seen as the clouds cleared with the wind. Where were the l'Cie?

"Uh what just happened?" came in from the other line.

No one knew, until a flash appeared by the warring ship and the screech of metal pierced the night. The men groaned and tried to cover their ears, some falling off their seats in shock then a thunderous roar ripped through the night.

Crackling came through the speakers, "We've been hit!"

Rosch frowned. He sent the camera to patrol and caught sight of a large piece of metal shooting down from the ship.

"We lost a launcher."

Pivoting the camera down to the ground he spotted them – the l'Cie , climbing out of the torched house once again. Like cockroaches they are! Gritting his teeth, he watched them draw out their weapons, initiating attacks of their own with aid of tactical skills. They sidestepped each missile launched, each scattering of explosives. However, as the bullets pelted down at them, they were hit critically, but did not die – they had their own medics using healing magic! They had endurance, far greater than that of a normal being, able to scale great heights in one jump as the pink haired woman had done so, leaving the young boy and the woman in blue to cast powerful Thundara spells at the ship, tearing it limb from limb. She ran along the top of the hull, slicing through the metal work with her enhanced blade for the spells to reach the internal circuits.

Rosch watched with both wonder and apprehension, as the iron bird's wings began to clip, each rocket launcher struck by a flash of lightning, rippling through the metal framework. He heard the audio – his men were screaming, some dense officer had touched the walls and was frying himself alive! The woman jumped down in an elaborate display of midair flips, deflecting bullets by her blade.

As she landed, Yaag caught sight of a smile to the boy and she raised his little gloved hand and sent a concentrated tremor of lightning slashing through a wound inflicted by the woman's gunblade, careening into the circuits.

Lights flashed and sirens blared within both ships. Rosch's men shouting orders to those in the battleship to cut off electrical supply, but their efforts were useless. The ship combusted in a colossal display of amber lights that shook Yaag to his core with rage and despair, a beautifully tragic display of fireworks lighting up the black sky of a black day.

Another ship – another burning wreck, more carnage for a dead city.

"Send in another ship." ordered Rosch, his eyes following the image of a ship that held forty or so men of PSICOM.

"B-but sir –"

"Send in another ship! That's an order!" he roared – what did it matter how many men died, the more who died, the more heroes were made, correct?

He wanted the deaths of his men avenged, he wanted the l'Cie to perish, to burn the same way that they cold-heartedly let his men die! It was a fruitless attempt. Rosch knew that, but he was not one to give up.

The l'Cie caught sight of the new battleship and dusted themselves off – this was child's play for them! The boy brought his hand up to fire a spell, but there was no need – a laser beam of bright white shot through the ship. Rosch and the other soldiers jolted, a l'Cie could not bestow such power! And like the previous ship, this one too lost its flight, giving its last breaths to a fireworks spectacle.

A shadow loomed into the square and only Rosch could see what was happening, the others only obtained audios from other ships as they worked through a radio transfer system. The ship landed and the l'Cie, such clever things, raised their weapons, watching the hangar door lower. Soldiers marched out...PSICOM soldiers. The traitors!

With his alarm and sleuth, he sent the squeaking camera to lower and zoom in on the soldiers. Conversation transpired, and Yaag's brow creased at the sound of one of the soldier's voices...it was familiar, but he could not put a face to match the man who stood at the front of the group, gun placed on his shoulder as he stood sloppily unlike a true PSICOM soldier.

The hands came to the helmet and gently, it began to lift off...

"Raines!" yelled Yaag, glaring at the rough face of his former lover's right hand man – Rygdea.

The soldiers looked at him, but he waved them off with an angered growl and they busied themselves with nothing. Rosch's temper was not to be taken lightly in any way or form (one could become a victim to Masamune).

With ragged breaths seething through his teeth, Yaag followed course with his eyes on the l'Cie nodding their head in thanks to the Cavalry and headed into the hijacked or most likely stolen PSICOM vessel. What did Raines see in these actions? Did he believe that some right would come of it? Did he not understand how many lives were lost because of his selfish scheme to save his own tainted kin?

As the soldiers left, Rygdea laughed to himself with a shake of his head, "Raines was right, Rosch."

Yaag jolted and soon he peered directly into sparkling cerulean eyes, until Rygdea raised his gun and the camera went out after a final bang.

"This baby back here is a PSICOM vessel. It'll deliver you to the Palamecia." Informed Rygdea, nodding his head over to a small aircraft which the group of l'Cie took in with gratitude, and wonder for the younger boy, Hope.

Snow, however, raised an eyebrow, his arms crossed over his chest mirroring the posture and pose of the man with the thick Southern accent and cowboy-like rugged appeal, "Oh, so we're cargo now?" he joked.

Rygdea scoffed and set his arms apart, "A parting gift to a rotting government. Take those PSICOM guys apart." he hit a fist into the palm of his hand and gave these new comrades and friends a wide grin.

The l'Cie smiled back and uttered sounds of support and satisfaction. Hope laughed, his bright emerald green eyes alight with joy shining like his silver hair under the lights of the hangar. He smiled a sweet little smile and from the moment he stepped foot into the Lindblum, so many members felt pity for him – they knew the rough judgement, they saw the anguish and fear before from the diminishment of their leader, Cid Raines.

Though many disliked to admit it, Cid too, they knew that the man was degrading, decaying into a decrepit mass, collapsing from the inside out till he became nothing, but an empty shell sending his men on suicide missions as there would be nothing else that he could do. Now for a young boy to undergo such, it struck a hard chord in them all and Cid allowed himself a small smile as he watched the boy with admiration – those eyes bright with life. If only he could be like that, like the man he was before...the man proud to be a member of the Sanctum, a man working respectively under Dysley, not Barthandelus. Back in those days when he could enjoy the pleasures that his lover gave him willingly without needing to worry that he was loving the enemy.

A Cavalry soldier strolled by, whistling, calm, full of mirth – very unlike PSICOM – only to stop by Hope, and whispered, "Psst...Stick it to PSICOM will ya, kid?"

"Alright guys, we're pretty much there, aye?"

Rygdea's voice echoed through the Lindblum and all Cavalry members had stopped working, except for those selected few needed to enforce security and the workings of the ship at current state (Cid promised he would do something for them, perhaps a pay rise?), listening to the speakers and they began to cheer. A roar of encouragement rose up from the crew members as they all gathered together in the main hall lined with television screens and audio speakers. They celebrated, drank down beers, liqueurs and even fancy champagne with scuttlebutt and what not, as they listened to their second in command and fellow comrade giving them the inside scoop of the l'Cie and their journey to finally tear the Sanctum down.

"Woah, woah, woah!" sounded Rygdea's voice and the Cavalry stopped their drinking and cheering.

A Cavalry member swore.

"Wh-what is it Ryg?" came the young boy's voice.

Then a crew member whispered to another, waving his bottle of vodka, "I told that kid to 'stick it to PSICOM'."

Rygdea sighed, "Ah, just the Sanctum requesting an interjection to our ship. At this stage, they're not letting us in. They're wanting to verify that we're a Sanctum vessel, in particular a PSICOM one, considering the Guardian Corps doesn't necessarily affiliate with guarding and working the Palamecia since it's a PSICOM ship and 'cause we deal with the more important stuff like actually fighting to protect Cocoon, aint that right, Light?"

The Cavalry roared again with laughter and ovation, others swore and spat at the folly of the Sanctum and others prayed that they would not get caught.

The woman on the PSICOM vessel sighed in a pleased manner, "Yeah, yeah. Just accept their policy and give them your approval so we can end this already."

A Cavalry member stepped forward in the crowd towards the screen, holding his bottle of spirits high in one hand like a beacon as he cried, "Wooh, you go girl!"

And the crew laughed again, clinking bottles and watching Rygdea push a button and groan at the PSICOM official on the other end as they too cut into the audio system, "What's the hold up?"

"Stand by. Verifying identification code." Replied the official, with practised professional finesse.

The Cavalry groaned, displeased and angered by the sound of a PSICOM official pushing around their mate, some tossing their empty bottles to the screen, but cleanly missing due to decrease in motor skills from all of the alcohol.

Rygdea was not one to mess around with, "You let me land this bird or I'll crash her into your ass!" he ordered.

His comrades roared again, cheered, laughed, drank and laughed even harder at the soft sound of the PSICOM dirt bag's scoff at their mate's rude behaviour. But it was Rygdea, uncouth, rugged and still handsomely charming with enough good qualities to easily become friends with.

Sitting in his office, enjoying his own glass of fine red wine to celebrate, Cid was laughing also, true joy filtered through his veins and sang out from his heart as a pleasant, light laugh at the situation. Salvation was hoped that the l'Cie, in which the fate of Cocoon greatly depended on, had formed enough trust in him for the world to be saved. Though for now, he worried more for their well-being and hoped that they would escape the Palamecia alive...he knew well in his heart that he could not take on Barthandelus alone. No, he studied far too many books, read too many articles and felt the pages of tomes he was not meant to read let alone any other person except for Dysley.

Cid knew his secret, he knew about Orphan, but he said nothing. He did not want to see the determination and hopeful light flaring in his armada's eyes to fade when they see just how hopeless the battle to save Cocoon truly is. Some things were better left unsaid...he learnt that the hard way.

The sound of the l'Cie wishing their farewells and gratitude to the Cavalry calmed Cid at the heart, and while Rygdea announced his return the intercom device on his desk began to beep.

He pressed the button by the flashing light and awaited a response after a brief greeting, "There's an approaching vessel heading our way, sir." Informed a Cavalry crew member.

He sighed, just when he was enjoying himself, "Description?" he asked nonchalantly, downing the last sip of wine.

"It looks a hell of a lot like PSICOM, sir."

Of course it would be PSICOM, trust them to ruin such a joyous moment.

"May as well allow them in, we need not raise any... qualms."

"Want me to tell the slackers to get back to work or at least look busy?"

Raines shook his head, honestly, he did not want to ruin the fun that his men were having with their celebrations, but alas, most likely it could be Yaag and the last thing he wanted was for that man to file a report to Dysley concerning 'corruption in the Cavalry fleet', "Just in case it's inspectors." He replied.

"Hmm...I don't know, looks like Rosch's fleet, sir."

Cid smiled, "As I said, inspectors."

The crewmember laughed, "Good one, sir."

Fuming, Rosch stormed through the door of the hangar to the hallway and glared at the fools around him. Drunks, failing to stand either straight or at an angle, slurred their words and giggled at nonsense as they slouched, hiccupped and made futile attempts at looking busy. One had tried to direct the director of PSICOM to the door, which apparently to the Cavalry is the endless stretch of sky that Yaag had just come from. Didn't Cid have any pride in his work? Did he find that a drunken crew could protect Cocoon far greater than an intelligent, alert army?

With shoving the door open, the Lieutenant Colonel caught sight of a young Cavalry crewmember, slumped against the wall as he sat on the tiled floor, legs apart and a bottle of scotch tilted to his lips. He cringed at the sight, such disrespect, and ignorance...how very glad he is to have cut his ties off from this fleet.

Clearing his throat firmly, with an irritated scowl set on the drunk, the Cavalry soldier looked up, alcohol still to his mouth. His cheeks were rosy, and his eyes sparkled with surprise. Then his brows creased and he lowered the bottle as he squinted, trying to solve the mystery to why this bitter man with silver hair looked so oddly familiar...

"You're that guy..." he said, pointing at Rosch and the leader of PSICOM's glare began to turn cold with a jaw that stiffened.

"Where's Raines?" asked Yaag, voice low and monotonous.

The drunk muttered to himself, something to do with a kid that had better stick it to PSICOM, then hauled himself up onto unsteady legs, hand not failing to snatch up his bottle of joy as he attempted to look and behave in an orderly and courteous manner – a tough feat when intoxicated.

He snapped up his one free hand in salute, slapping himself on the forehead in the process. Ah, the woes of alcohol, but Rosch stood his ground, no point in getting angry with a drunk. "Inside – his quarters." He hiccupped – his parents would be so pleased to see their soldier son in such a state, "Not too far from here. Need an escort, sir?" he spat, waving his bottle around with his slurred barely comprehensible words.

That was enough for Rosch. He pushed the fool aside, unintentionally knocking him to the wall in which he slid down and unceremoniously collapsed in a heap on the floor, bottle to his lips...giggling at nonsense.

In his office, Cid sat in his chair, a single finger gloved in immaculate white leather ran a streak along the centre of his desk. Clean. He nestled back into the softness, closing his eyes for what insignificant moments he had left until his former lover crashed through his doors and demand...that was all he would and ever do...demand. However, previous times consisted of demands on a lesser negotiation such as dinner or where to station their armadas, but Cid knew that Yaag, whom he had avoided successfully for almost three weeks, was only here on the terms of his l'Cie status.

Such a trivial matter it seemed to him in comparison to the bond they had once shared with one another. Though, it has been proven to Cid that he was very much like Jihl and to this day now he still very much is: a puppet to the fal'Cie. He cannot lead the decent life that he hoped for, the life in which peace reigned between Pulse and Cocoon and he shared it with the one being he truly loved. That dream is a memory, but Raines is not one to give up. If Yaag would not stand with him, then he had the citizens of Cocoon to stand up for, he had Rygdea – the only other man he cared more for than just a comrade, but a dear friend, the whole of Cavalry and the l'Cie, in particular the young boy, Hope Estheim – never again would he like to see a youthful, innocent child go through the pain and eventual demise of eternal sorrow that he will.

However, everything now was coming up white, immaculate – pristine and spotless as if a flaw had never delved and sliced straight into his life, to abolish all that he ever cared for and cherished. In truth, it seemed, that this flaw, this mark on his right hand, defiled him to become an enemy of himself, forcing him to annihilate all that he cherished. He liked the white, but not the sterility...it seemed a joke to what lay beneath his glove.

The sunlight reflected off a corner of his desk, the world seemed happy...did Cocoon know of his plans? Was the world also celebrating?

The doors slammed open and in strode a Lieutenant Colonel, his steps evenly spaced, body rigid with the appeal of an eerie calmness wafting about him.

Cid smiled, bowing his head slightly as he greeted his guest, "Rosch."

"Don't annihilate my operations." Warned Rosch, voice menacingly cold, "You can't stand in my way."

Raines ignored the remarks and waved a hand at the chair in front of him, "Please, do take a seat. You look to have been on your feet all day."

The silver haired man declined his offer with a narrow of his brows, his blank face and firm jaw gave no room for comments and he continued with the same guarded drone with its acidic lick, "You're helping the l'Cie." Cid stiffened in the slightest and lilac eyes caught the action and a dark smirk curled a corner of his lips, an odd glint in his eyes, "You're kind are not people, just targets and a number in the Sanctum's book."

Raines smiled, "L'Cie are only targets...interesting." he remarked, morbid mirth filling gold.

"How could you possibly be any different?" Yaag questioned, voice still not lifting as he began to observe the room with a conceited flair, that sinister grin unshifting, "You are already taking part in your Focus, guardian of the l'Cie."

He told him before, he was trying to protect Cocoon, but his words were nothing, but petty talk to him. The truth on such a topic were lies to Rosch and Cid laced his hands together and propping his elbows up on the desk he lay his chin on top, casually eyeing the other man with indifference, "Why are you making this difficult?" he sighed.

Yaag's smirk fell, "If I were ordered to protect Cocoon, then I will do just that." He replied, folding his arms over his chest, "You can't stand in my way, nor can you be an obstacle."

"Are you saying this to me to truly convince yourself?"

Yaag's fists clenched at the haughty question. This man before him is the reason why twenty six of his men had been killed the previous night. Slain and attacked by imposters all under the order of this l'Cie. This monster deserves more than those hundreds if not thousands of lives lost to the operation that day to have his innards splayed out on the ground for feral cats to sink their teeth into and for some looters to strip him away of what little dignity it is that he would have left.

Rosch could do it now. The Cavalry were all drunk, so he could get away with it. His hands itched for the hold of Masamune, his faithful gun, but he restrained himself. L'Cie or not, Dysley would not take to kindly to it.

"I could kill you." He hissed.

Cid laughed, finding that sentence oddly humorous, and shaking his head, "Are they your orders?"

"Don't questions my actions." snapped Yaag, still aloof and lacking warmth.

Raines only sighed, "Then do that. I'd rather the man I love kill me than die by the hands of a fal'Cie." Rosch's eyes fell on him, a question lurking in lilac depths, "My life is too precious to have its fate determined by my enemies."

"The man you love?"repeated Rosch, cocking an eyebrow at such foolish words and he scoffed, "I pity you."

"Yet you want me dead."Cid responded, amused, then he quipped with soft arrogance, "Don't contradict yourself."

Yaag slammed his fists down onto the table, the few items on it rattled, yet Cid did not even flinch, "I almost had the l'Cie...if only it weren't for you, perhaps I could have gained myself a better rank!" he yelled, piercing his glare into golden eyes and at upon the close proximity he saw his own reflection...

No. Many times he caught the sights of his eyes in gold as a handsome man with a charming half smile, always in a pleasant, contented light and those golden eyes were not down casted, saddened, almost holding the same lustre as that of a dying man's instead of the glittering element it represents. How very much had changed and how drastic it was to see himself as a hideous beast enraged and with a want to see this tainted man as carnage fed to the cats in Palumpolum.

That was why he could not kill him, could not even stand to envision the life fading from those eyes. Was he weak? Maybe, but the feeling was consuming...it reminding him far too much of the pleasant days, months, years that he shared with Cid. How youthful they once were and he stood back up, eyes cast off to the side.

"I thought about that...how you and I met."

"Rank is it? Is that what this is all about, about you receiving what you do very well deserve?" questioned Cid, ignoring that harsh reminder of painful memories of happier days and Yaag looked back to him, confused, "I would gladly give you my position, but I fear the safety of the Cavalry."

Yaag scoffed, "I don't want your position." he answered, shaking his head then adding, "I don't want anything to do with you. My orders by policy is to bring every l'Cie who wishes ill to Cocoon to their demise!"

Cid rose up from his seat and for the first time a frown creased his brows, "I do not wish ill." He stated and he could see it, the determination...Rosch did not believe him, he only believed the words and orders of a corrupt fal'Cie, there was no point in convincing him and it pained him to look at the man he so dearly loved yet had to force upon himself to hate.

He turned away from Yaag and wandered over to his window, watching the world drift by. From such high altitude, he could not see the land, but the sky connected with what lay below and together it worked as one. If the heavens were beautiful then there must be peace on the earth of the lands. The clouds, so jubilant in their cotton candy fantasy as they floated in seas of weightless blue. The sun shot through from the north, must be midday and already his men were well into their celebrations. Their joy, their laughter, their hope and the peacefulness he found in the heavens...he wanted the whole of Cocoon to live in such a state, to be like clouds – able to roam wherever and whenever they may please. The distance and emptiness for the prize made it hard, he needed Yaag, but truthfully, he should not, he could not, but if the man at least believed him when he said he was not the enemy, then things would be easier. No...was this hatred, was it a gift? Should he take it and be happy for it? He hoped so, despite it being difficult to accept.

"I wish..." He began, smiling to himself, "I wish for a dream, the same dream I had all those years ago. Is it so wrong to prevent such a dream from fading as you have?" his eyes travelled over to the reflection of Rosch in the window, a man with his head bowed and a sense of regret and pit filled him, "I see the loss, the doubt in your eyes Yaag, you still care, but you cannot admit it to yourself. As you had said, we are enemies, however...I give the blame to you. I have far too much guilt to deal with, so if I die a woeful man with a shattered dream and heart to match, I blame it on you."

Rosch looked up, brows furrowed, "Why?"

Cid would have told him that he was the one causing the rift with his adherence to the wishes of someone else, a corrupt fal'Cie, other than his own heart, but he mentioned naught, he did not want to hear what Yaag would say to that. "You wouldn't understand." He answered, feeling empty and distraught as he rubbed the back of his right hand with the other, as if willing it to go away.

Rosch scoffed, "L'Cie...so doleful." Cid raised a brow, "Your games are humorous...you should stop before someone gets hurt." Raines frowned and Yaag smirked, "Dysley's orders."

For a long moment, no words escaped their mouths, all except for one drifting sigh from thin, downward drawn lips. Cid had no thoughts left for his former lover aside from a continuous drone of air roving around the bouts of l'Cie vs. PSICOM – those who specialised in Pulse, fal'Cie and Purge related operations. Then something clicked. Yaag's frown loosened then narrowed briefly as he contemplated before loosening again with a hollow smirk to his lips as his eyes roved the cloaked figure with meek anticipation of the body that resided within.

A battle began to take place.

Cid noticed the slight change in the air, the breaking of the ice cavern that had been built and a warmth tainted the air in all of its merriment. However, he sensed something, from knowing the other so intimately over the past decade – give or take a few years – that the joy was shrouded in a bleak mist, disguised delight in a black suit. Golden eyes caught the reflection in the window, the way lilac eyes had become a light with dark intentions and that emotionless smirk...it brought shivers down his spine, though he had to think, were they good, or were they bad. He did not know, but he was curious, curious to know that little bit more of the man he was losing to a corrupt fal'Cie. Eager to, for the last time, touch the body that he desired and to see, no matter how sinister and mysterious, a smile and the look of rapture cross over that handsome face directed to him so intimately, so reserved that it were made for only eyes of gold.

Still no words passed...an ember set their passions aflame.

They felt no liberation. An alternate force pulling Raines back, like the strong hands clasped to his pelvis in the grip of Gigas' fist. He stumbled backwards, back into the arms and mercy of the man that he cannot deny himself love – such sweet affections returned with a not so tender hold, his heart singing with a lack of air, asphyxiation. No matter, a pair of firm, hasty lips bruised his in a kiss vehement in lust and resentment – a conflict of thoughts so intense that Yaag did not know what he loved more: his lover's moan as he stroked his cheek or the painful hiss running through tight teeth when he struck the smooth skin of a pale cheek for lack of response. The raven-haired man opened his eyes, a clash of gold and lilac struck before he found himself flung onto his desk, legs spread apart and all he could see was the shining badge of his lover's pride. His own armour hit the floor, cloak flopping over it as if hiding the token of honour in shame of its beholder.

Those lips, unrelenting and driven by a force of physical desire, forced him to co-operate in a heated battle of lust and a diminished love. Fleeting, gentle touches, he did make, but powerful hands swallowed his wrists, pinning them backwards on the table as Rosch began to lose his mind to sensation. Was it to avenge the deaths of his men and take out his fury on someone? Was it desperation? If so, then what? A yearn to break the man he loved, or to show this man that he loved him? Whichever, the plot had been lost though the temptation to break Cid was adding fuel to his blazing revulsion and nauseating repulsion.

Those hard lips drew away from Cid's and he could breathe the poisonous air that the world gave to offer only to have it slip through his throat as a weak strangled cry as teeth crushed down on the soft skin of his neck. Warm hands roamed his torso, rubbing and squeezing at what they could find with hasted movements and a ragged, seething breath to match hitting Cid's skin.

The tenderness was lost. The love had died.

A growl rose in the back of Rosch's throat, mouth still assaulting that swan-like neck and hands still ravaging the heated skin of his panting prisoner. He smiled against Cid's skin, his hands finding the hem of his former lover's shirt tugged the garment none too gently.

"Off." He murmured, voice grown husky from the ardour.

Cid complied and knew what he truly wanted. With ripened zeal, the director of PSICOM watched as the gloveless hands picked away at the uniform, a colourless canvas revealed to burning lilac eyes, for him to do as he pleased. He smirked, as the last item hit the floor and he seized that fragile, cursed body, trapping it between wood and himself. Raines knew what was coming, so he kissed him with the last ounce of true love he held for Yaag, to make the man wake up from this fal'Cie dream. The delicate pressing of lips was torn apart by a prying tongue, exploring the warm, wet cavern that Cid had to offer with his slick muscle, battling in heat and fervour.

Those rummaging hands, scourers of a godlike body, slid down Cid's searing skin and he worked at unbuttoning his own pants, mouth still plastered in a passionate, unrestrained hold to the others. The pants fell to his ankles and subconsciously, Cid drew nearer, a sudden want to feel the other man drowning him in its depths. A cry ripped from his throat as his lover entered with a ruthless crave ruled by overwhelming lust. His cries were unheard, muffled by the mouth of Yaag's as the man began to thrust with a crazed hunger, driving in deep with violent, dynamic thrusts. His actions were vigorous, and heat rose within the two as he continued to charge like a bull would a red flag. Soon, Yaag was laughing, his heavy, deep breaths increasing in speed as his passion began to raise at new heights and Cid did too – his cries giving way to encouraging moans.

He became needy. His hands held fast to the gyrating hips of his lover, digging his nails into the powerful muscles executing such strong, fiery pleasure to his body's every want – every need.

The intensity grew further more and Rosch thrust harder as the sensation became wild. Cid's hands brushed up his still clothed chest, though he could feel their warmth as much as he could smell the sex and the unique scent of his former lover in the air around him. Those hands rose up to his shoulders, then arms circled around his neck and only briefly did skin touch skin, but it turned Yaag into a madman, beating the man below him with hasted force.

The heights had reached their pinnacle. With a final frenzy, Yaag pulled his lips away and watched, as that was all he did, his former lover become undone with the unleashing of a series of loud cries, head tossing to and fro. The sight was more than enough for him, to see a heavenly face contorted in the heat of passion and he lost himself too, drowning in the ecstasy, yet still trying to keep it alive, until he was all spent up and dry.

He collapsed on shaky arms and held the beautiful man, arms around that trim waist in a secure hold, his face buried in the crook of Cid's neck, inhaling, for the last time, the joy of his past. Cid held him close, so much so that all he saw was the silver of Yaag's locks and feel their softness against his cheek. He didn't want him to go, but by truth and honour, he had to – he had to leave and never return to him. It was Cid's duty to have to let go and also, to help his former lover let go. For what he planned in the future, it would be far too difficult for the leader of PSICOM to...

Rosch hated him, that was a start.

Though how could he hate? How could he hate the man who was less a human as he, yet human enough to give him the grace of a kiss that cleaved his heart at its gentleness? Cid must have thought it meant naught to him in their fiery endeavour, but no, it hurt him, reminded him of what he couldn't have, what the war with Pulse had robbed him of.

He pulled back, enough so that he could see Cid's intentions. Yaag was rewarded with a beautiful face effaced of all emotion – just a blank emptiness. Then those golden eyes flickered up to his and he tried to smile, though an honest one, the distance in those gold eyes reaped him of his smile making it weak and wearisome. Lilac eyes narrowed and he sat up, pulling Cid up with him, all the while, still peering into those guarded golden gates.

He looked away and pulled himself from the Brigadier General, standing up, putting his pants, and gloves, back on and straightening his uniform to erase any traces of what they had committed. He turned on the heel of his boots to leave both his former lover and his former life behind. A sense of nostalgia hit him as he walked barely three paces away from Cid and he stopped. Yaag turned back and strolled to him, his arms crossed over his chest, a small, true smile tugging at one corner of his lips as he lay his eyes on Cid's where a flutter of surprise flew by. He chuckled, deep and husky, as he brought his hands up to the sides of the delicate, pale face and pressed his lips gently to rose petal pink, feeling Cid's arms twining around his neck. He let his own drop down to the man's waist, holding him flush to his uniform then drew away, a melancholy mirth painted in lilac.

Cid's arms fell, and he watched the man he loves so dearly, slowly walk away from him. By the door, Rosch stopped, hand on the doorknob.

"Just like old times." He said, almost forlornly, the smile still on his lips.

Cid nodded and stared at the closing barrier, catching only a glimpse of lilac between door and jamb. The door closed, the Lieutenant Colonel's fading footsteps could be heard receding down the hallway.

Raines only hoped that Yaag would still hate him to save himself from becoming hurt.

To be continued in the final part, Part III...

Note: One of my most favourite lines, if not my favourite, is "Stick it to PSICOM will ya?" which is said by one of the Cavalry members when you go and talk to them randomly on the Lindblum (Cid's ship.) That line was priceless and if the Cavalry were real, I would specifically date that guy!

A.F.F – Thanks for the review and I must say, there isn't enough stories based on both this pairing and the two central characters: Yaag and Cid. –sigh–, but be on the lookout, I'm going to be fuelling this site with 'em! On emotions, thanks :D I was pleased that a reader could connect with them, because that to me is a great accomplishment and some form of justice for the pairing! XP

LoriMina – Isn't this pairing just fabulous? I can't see a flaw in it! And phew, so very glad that the characters were in character! It was my greatest fear writing this! As for Barthandelus...he has, how to say this discretely, man PMS (but so does Yaag...in a very Sephiroth manner of course!) Thanks for the review! :)

Aku-Hitokiri-Kitsune – You are too kind! And yes, I am a Yaag/Cid fan and I am so disappointed in finding that I am the only person who writes this pairing on here! You linked this to your friend? Stop it! You're making me blush! I apologize for the long wait, but that's because I was thinking 'Hmm, should Yaag and Cid have a moment or not.' XP. Thanks for the review!