Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy.

Summary: The l'Cie have failed their Focus and those of the Sanctum's order who had been killed, have been brought back and made l'Cie under Dysley. However, Cid is still unrelenting and one mission to Pulse could change the fate of the worlds once more. Yaag/Cid

Pairing: Yaag/Cid, (only reasonable pairing I can find in Final Fantasy XIII), but I don't think that a pairing should overtake a story, it can add flavour, but it won't alter it. A serious fic, I will make you all love this pairing!

Author's Note: This is what rightfully would have happened if marketing and a happy ending hadn't gotten in the way. Truthfully, with all evidence and knowledge gained, the l'Cie would have failed their Focus and remained Cieth unless Dysley brought them back, which he hadn't, because once you're a Cieth there is no turning back. Also, I always saw Yaag and Jihl as tools to Dysley and so was Cid, however, he was a stronger character and actually rose above the oppression. Yaag just had too much pride. This is the only slow chapter, there is heaps of action in this story. Enjoy!

The Instrument

The smell is all too inviting for this starved body, where the bowels rumble, flanking my innards with pointed halberds – a small rampaging war. I call to silence them, a hushed whisper to my absent gut, nothing but a smooth expanse of chafed skin the colour of a thousand men's ashes. So when he opened the hatch, a small sliver of light entered the black abyss only to vanish when a silver plate of oats and curded milk skidded in.

Soaking in dirt, I fished out a spoon hiding in the depths, before dipping it into the concoction guided by the sheer heat emanating from it, and I devoured the salty dish. My throat fell victim to a budding drought, one that lasts for decades instead of years, and I pulled my thoughts away from those darker places, ghastly skin praying for light, so I fuelled my hunger, my crave, my desire with the hopes that one man will open the door and show me God.


Morning began its descent upon the world as a brightly glowing orb came to ascension. Heavy night's blanket lightened with the awakening world, spreading warm hues of colour to paint the scene below. The night drew away into shadows, hiding from the warm rays of light, spreading long for tall buildings and swaying with the wind in the trees. In their beds, the citizens stirred to a comfortable wake, slipping out from under their warm duvet to the embrace that the sun had to offer. Their spoons would clink against their mugs of coffee while they stirred reading the morning paper, which they would retrieve from the front step where chirping birds would bid them a nice day. The same words sunk into the thin, grey papers, a perfect account of the previously printed last twenty-six, give, or take, just a greeting from the Primarch and a reassurance that the threat of Pulse is a threat no more. These citizens would then laugh, smile or cheer, turn to their partners with a farewell and head off to the bustling commerce of the workforce.

They grew accustomed. They became unaware. They were controlled.

They fuelled Dysley's power with their naivety, though they trusted this man, he was their saviour, he was the man who brought down the six l'Cie from Pulse in the honour of saving Cocoon, and no one dared to find opposition to his words. There was no arguing to be made to the man who sat in the lavish seat on the top floor of the Sanctum headquarters, and with an eagle eye view, his eyes would span across to the horizon of his world taking in the wonders that Eden possessed and the many joys in which it brought him.

With an aging dawn to a new day, the sun reached the guards at the front entrance of the Sanctum, their gray uniforms matching so very well with the gray of a thick, heavy cloud drifting through the endless sea of blue, suffocating the rays of light and warmth with its dense tendrils.

It made no difference to the world.

One soldier heaved a heavy sigh, his posture faltering as he did so, earning himself a swift elbow in his ribs and he straightened himself up, shrugging off the glare that he received from his partner in arms.

"You best not be falling asleep, mate! Don't want him to catch you again or you'll be out here for double shifts." warned the soldier, both of their faces concealed behind thick helmets with black glass.

The other yawned again, moving away just in time to avoid the butt of a gun in the stomach.

While the men made fools of themselves, no humour was to be found within the building that they guarded. There was no dawn, dusk or night-time for those flitting through the corridors and pacing down endless halls. For them the days drew long and tiresome, though they kept attentive in strong fear of punishment. So they willed away their days with eyes opened and sleep casted aside.

Further in the depths of the spider web of the Sanctum, soldiers lined themselves down one long hallway, seemingly endless and one that met a dreaded destination. The doors to the corridor opened and in strode a much-anticipated guest. With a measured gait and robust chest adorned with a badge, from which hung five bars, pride emanated from the man and the soldiers raised a hand in a stiff salute, unflinching from his presence. His footfalls echoed down the stretch, warm florescent lights making his silver hair gleam like the obvious distaste in the lilac of his eyes.

Many eyes travelled his figure advancing the other door, and they would clench their teeth and bite down on their tongues as he neared so much so that his hand rose and his leather encased knuckles would rap on the door once...then twice, before drawing together with the other into a clasp behind his back. Such was an occasion, and no one dared to question the General. He was a man of his own customs and reserved his words within himself for times when truly needed which did not account for the basic livelihoods of his fellow soldiers.

No, this man saw himself above these people, that his title was more than simply a title or a name, but instead – a being, so he became the General – no questions asked.

With a moment's pause, his formal air granted him the doors opening to their own accord, he stepped inside, door closing behind him, and his men removed their gesture of respect from their crowns.

He had an urge to sigh with the closing of the door, however, refrained, and brought himself forward to the foot of the throne in the vast, empty hall to greet a smiling elder, and fell down to one knee with a hand over his heart, his head bowed.

"Ahh, General Rosch." Spoke the elder, face crinkled with old age did further more as his smile lengthened, "Good to see that you have come."

"It's my pleasure, your honour." A monotonous voice, devoid of all human ties sprung forth from the throat of Rosch and the old man nodded his head feeling completely content with the respects of the man.

The Primarch raised a hand, giving him a saintly appeal with his head tilted in the slightest to one direction, "Come now. Closer." he said, waving his hand, "I wish to speak with you on a private matter."

And like an obedient child, the soldier rose from his perch and walked up the small steps to the throne, coming to stand before the Primarch and his elastic grin, "Good. Now. I would like to question you on the conditions of...Cid Raines." Dysley's eyes darkened considerably and his smile grew sinister, a wicked smirk over aged features, like a violent tear in a dusty, yellowing page.

Rosch's mouth twitched and his eyes glowered upon the mentioned named and with much aversion he asked, voice strained with suppressing his rage, "What is it that you would like to know?"

"Your thoughts on the man." Replied Dysley as if it were an obvious answer.

A muscle convulsed in Rosch's tight jaw, his cold eyes staring straight into the mirth shrouded ones of the Primarch, "I tell you time and time again – he is petty and shall not require a space in my thoughts, thus I cannot conclude rightfully, sir, however, I am influenced to see little and low of him, in which I do."

"Those words are good." Drawled the old man, laughing to himself at the mere satisfaction to hear Rosch say such, "They are very good, Rosch. Have you had a look at the man yourself lately?"

"No, your Honour, ever since he was placed into the vile pits of hell in which all demons belong, no eyes of mine have fell on him." Distaste rolled off the soldier's tongue, unknowingly bringing great joy to Dysley, "My men tell me of the actions they commit on the man."

"Oh, this sounds interesting." remarked the Primarch, shifting in his lavish seat to a straighter posture.

Rosch's lips curled at the thoughts and recounts of his men's experiences told to him by them, "Torture – physical and psychological." And how happy were they.

The light of mirth faded from Dysley's eyes and the wrinkled smile did too. "He's resilient."

The soldier frowned, that cannot be right, they dehumanised a man, how could one be resilient to their actions? Had they failed? Had he failed? "Pardon, your honour?"

The Primarch diverted his eyes for a minute moment, and took in a heavy breath, "Cid Raines...You cannot remember, and I believe that you would not even bother to try – a waste of time it will be." A smile creased again, "He is a man that can withstand all. I have observed...there has been no change to him either physically, mentally and even emotionally, in fact, I believe he's using it to his...potential."

"Like the filth he is."

"Exactly." Coerced Dysley with his agreement and broadening grin, "I know why he hasn't altered, hasn't been broken, destroyed in some way – cried out in terror, shame and sorrow."

Determination hit Rosch, "Do tell. I will file your request."

Leaning back in his throne, the Primarch stared at the soldier for a long moment, content with himself to obtaining such a loyal asset to the Sanctum, until his eyes fell on the five prongs hanging from the man's badge and his eyes closed. A lot has changed in the small space of one year, "You haven't made any advancement, or participated in the act, have you?"

For a moment, Rosch lost his composure and peered hard at his leader's opening eyes in search of humour, though he found none and gathered himself, "No, your honour, I would not disgrace myself in such a way."

"Not even for the good of the Sanctum?" questioned Dysley with a quirked brow, "You're the only one who can."

Rosch would have frowned, however he refrained, though it stayed evident of his shock and confusion. Surely, the Primarch must be mistaking so he replied flatly, "I do not see why."

A thick pause hung in the air, one with curious questions and a sudden uneasiness on the soldier's behalf, but the ruler's calculating, analytical eyes watched all of his fine movements and sensed the wave of discomfort and anxiety resonate from the General. He nodded his crowned head, fine net veils fluttering against his sunken cheeks as he approved of his grave decision. Twelve months of confinement should be enough, the rest of his life in a dystopia of his kind that he would feel responsible for should render him theirs to command. Yes, just what he desired, another puppet lacking heart and soul branded to his needs.

"Rosch," he began, a dark light flitting across his hung lids, "I request you take Cid Raines to live with you, in your quarters. I order that you have full supervision of him, if not, then keep him confined without an ability to escape."

The soldier's lip curled in disgust and he asked in a cold manner, clearly abhorring the idea, "And the reason for such, sir?"

"To break him, to yield him ours, Rosch." The sinister smirk came again and long nails grated against the rests of the throne, "He's the enemy, a former l'Cie from Pulse. His Focus was to destroy Cocoon, and he very well can with his resilience."

"Confine him in the cells for life then."

Dysley laughed at the failed attempt to compromise, "Oh, no, dear child. He is a very powerful being, a skilled swordsman, converting him to the ways of the Sanctum would bode us well with the war against Pulse."

With those words said and the intent having reached Rosch, the man could only come to understand and agree on the verdict. He trusted the Primarch with his life and he knew that the wise old man with all of years of ruling over Cocoon, the man boded well, so he nodded his head shallowly with diverted eyes.

"I see." He muttered, more to himself than the Primarch, feeling disloyal for his brief moment of distrust, and raised his head to his leader, "I will do as you wish, your honour." And added curtly, "Is there anything else you wish to say?"

Dysley said nothing at first, but his growing smirk spoke volumes to Rosch at he felt powerless, a victim with a dislike to what the old man had to reply to that, but the man shook his head. Then his lips curved around each sinister syllable, "Lust can be a potent weapon. Use it."

And Rosch had to comply, like the puppet he is, "...Understood..."


Bright, ethereal light tore through the eternal darkness illuminating the dank walls and a curled up figure in the far corner. It shivered and closed its eyes, awaiting a rough hand to strike what little white of his skin was left into a sickly purple. It once had been a fine work of beauty, now it was painted in multitudinous tones of blacks and blues.

No strike came, but a curt order meet his ears, "Get up."

The thing obeyed, slowly unfurling itself and rising to a stand, revealing itself as a man of no origins, eyes kept to the dirt of the floor as he brushed his torn, cotton pants down. He paused mid-action in wiping down his thighs. That voice, it registered to be the one voice he craved to hear, a voice so familiar and warming to him. His head began rise, eyes taking in the polished black boots, pristine grey uniform of PSICOM, the Sanctum officer badge and a handsome face lined by silver tresses and highlighted by two lilac eyes, which bore into his.

His lips parted and a smile stretched them, one that brought light into his golden eyes all by the sight of the man he longed for, the man he had not seen for a year or two, which one, he did not know.

"Yaag..." he said in a breathy sigh of overwhelming joy. He reached out with one dirty hand, his unsteady feet pulling him towards the radiant man.

A leather glove met his cheek in a bruising kiss and his head snapped loudly to the side, "It's Rosch to you, whore." Said the soldier, coldly grabbing the limp wrist of the nearing hand and shoved it back against the filthy body it belonged to.

The man did not turn his head again, not even with an attempt in his mind. He simply let the pain of the blow resonate through him, feeling his last piece of resolve flutter into a deathly breeze. Then he realised his state, how he was degraded, cast out as something that is far from human, but a puppet instead, and what a puppet he was bending to every soldier's need to gain at least one pleasure whether that would be a book to read with an oil lamp or his meal for the day. He always asked for the meals though, so with his impoverished body, his mind decayed as well. There was a longing for a human touch as well, but the soldiers were never gentle, they were never Rosch, they were never Yaag Rosch. So he, Cid, wanted to curl back up into the corner of the dank room and disappear from Rosch's life again for a man in such honourable uniform should not be tarnished by a tramp in tattered rags.

"Follow me." Spoke Rosch, pivoting on his heel and paying no regard to whether or not the prisoner was following.

Cid did as he was told for that was all he knew in his life: to always follow orders. Stepping out of the lightless room, he swiftly raised his hands to shield his eyes. The fluorescents bit his irises harshly, but he was pleased, almost smiling under his downturned head, to feel and see light after so very long that brought tears prickling beneath his lids. Dropping his arm, he proceeded down the hall, vision still slightly blurred from the sudden change of environment, so he followed the sound of Rosch's confident steps.

Walking through the heavily guarded hallways, Raines began to feel increasingly small and vulnerable. These men who he once commanded leered at him, some in sadistic abhorrence, and through the thick black glass of their face guards, he could see, the shine of lust of all sorts glinting in their eyes. He tried to ignore them, but he could feel their laughter searing through his flesh, laughing at his degradation, laughing at the shameful...thing, that he has become.

They turned the corner, and the walls from their soft creams turned to sterile white and the scent of antiseptic hit his nose. The smell was strong, overpowering that he, unknowing to him, had paused in his tracks and from the lack of soft footsteps behind him; the soldier did too and turned briskly to find the thing stumbling to the nearest wall with a heaving chest.

"Stand up properly." He demanded.

Cid tried to follow the man's command, and proceeded to push himself against the wall, but his knees buckled and he slid down the wall haphazardly, into a half upright pile of stick-like limbs unable to support itself. He swallowed the air around him, trying to breathe the clean air, but tasted the bitterness of the sterile scent. It made feel sick, feel weak, his senses raised to phenomena in an instant.

With lack of patience, Yaag waved down two medics dashing about in the wards, tending to soldiers who had just come back from Pulse.

"You two," he had said, "Pick him up. He's to go to closed ward 24 for a medical check up."

The medics then nodded, and they grabbed onto his forearms and brutally wrenched him upwards.

"Be careful with him," Yaag instructed and a smirk curled his lips, "You don't want to make more bruises for you to count."

The medics chuckled darkly and headed for the closed ward. Cid's bare feet were dragged beneath him making sickly sounds as they skidded over the tiles, tugging violently at his skin to turn it an angry red. He bit his lip throughout the endeavour, trying to quiet his rapidly beating heart. He learned quickly, immediately if not, that these people were to no longer be trusted. They have changed to the point where they must have forgotten about him. Yes, he learned this a long time ago, but only now did he feel the intensity of the sinking lead weight in his chest due to the unfazed behaviours of a man he once so proudly called his lover.

Double doors opened by Yaag, and the medics dragged him into the large room, throwing him into a chair in the centre. The soldier left the room, however his presence did not, as before him was a wide window. His blood ran cold. Separated by a sheet of glass, his lover stared back at him, face contorted in disgust as the medics began to strap him down, binds too tight, rendering him incapable of movement.

One pressed heart pads to his bare chest, first wiping it clean from filth with a cloth soaked in spirits and dried off with another. The smell of the alcohol made his head spin, and a stethoscope pushed against his back, the cold metal making his skin quiver as he heaved his breaths.

A small torchlight shone into his eyes, exploring what the golden hues had to give, and they did not blink, but continued to stare blankly into disgusted lilac eyes. What has happened while he was locked up and mistreated? Why is it that his beacon of light, his hope that kept him sane for most of his life has dimmed and abandoned him in the darkness? For the days he spent alone in his cell, he thought back to the pleasant times that he shared with Yaag; the days they had off duty and would wander The Grapa Whitewood, getting lost amongst the tall trees in their own, private secluded world where there was no Brigadier General and Lieutenant Colonel, just Cid Raines and Yaag Rosch as two persons.

That world seems far off now, yet so close as if it were licking the very tips of his fingertips; there, yet out of reach. A needle pricked his skin none too gently and he swallowed his sharp yell, eyes squeezing shut as his blood filtered into the canister. As that one filled, it was removed and another, with a purple cap, replaced it. The colour met his eyes when they first opened and he was instantly reminded of Yaag. Looking up, he hoped to find him, but saw the man had turned around and was talking to someone on his headset.

Without any distraction from the extraction of his blood, he listened to the beeping of the heart monitor and watched the white line run at 171 and then fall slowly as he thought less of the canisters taking place of each other. The needle tore out of his skin and this time he sucked in a harsh breath, biting down hard on his lower lip, blood spraying across the floor. A cotton ball pressed against the gaping wound and after some time a circular plastic bandaid was placed over it, the small patch of gauze already staining red.

The monitor then turned off and the medics were packing up their equipment and data, the doors to the room opening and between them stood Yaag, watching the medics abandon their folly and unstrapped Cid from his confinement to the chair. As the binds came away, blood rushed into his limbs and he unsteadily hoisted himself up onto numb legs. He stumbles over his feet, making an embarrassment of himself when he crashed onto the floor, the inside of his elbow burning and no one helped him, just scornful eyes on him. After much struggling, feeling came back into his limbs and he stood up slowly, walking shamefully towards Yaag and out of the science department.

Remaining close to Rosch he felt too disgraced by himself to care for those who stopped and stared and tried to ignore them as he followed the man into the elevator. The soldier hit the button for the top floor and Cid frowned in the slightest, turning only his eyes to Yaag's direction, but said nothing, did nothing, and only waited. He occupied his thoughts with the familiarity of the small enclosure and the warm lights from above so very unlike the harsh fluorescents he came across earlier.

The quiet trip was short. The elevator stopped and the doors of silver pulled apart with a ping revealing a very familiar hallway and Cid shook his head at the mahogany lined cream walls, high ceilings dotted with lit warm lights and a plush carpet replacing the tiled floors. He followed cautiously this time, with much curiosity, watching Yaag fish from his pocket a key card and travelling down the long hallway, but instead of turning to the door at the far end on the right, he went to the one on the left and Cid's small frown deepened with confusion.

Sliding his card into the slot and pushing in the numbers of his code, the door unlocked and Yaag opened it wide enough to let Cid in. The man nodded his thanks and gazed in astonishment. Everything was as he remembered. The kitchen was to his right, with a study room ahead on the same side, the living room was the central space, which was conjoined to the balcony, and to the left ahead was the bedroom and the bathroom beside it.

This was the General's suite. This was his home...but the walls were bare, stripped down to their creamy hides. The bookshelves to his left were filled with very few dusty books, which, when he had been here, there were more, and they had been opened, read, cherished and well looked after. The furniture now was sparse, only a coffee table, couch and television was all that he could see along with a small glimpse of a circular table with two chairs in the kitchen.

Yaag shut the door behind him, the lock clicking into place and Cid began to feel small, insignificant in this world.

"Get comfortable." Yaag said as he flopped down onto the couch and switched on the television, which brought him to the news.

Even after the words, Cid refused to move from his spot and resorted to watching Yaag pull out a carton from his pocket, flip the lid, and draw a cigarette out of the box. He said nothing as he watched the man put the item to his lips and light the end, with a flickering flame from a lighter. Yaag relished in the smoke, found pleasure in the sensations it triggered as it warmed his body with tasteless, poisonous delights.

Exhaled, the smoke streaming off into silvery tendrils, which curled as they soared higher in a seemingly seductive manner that was almost hypnotic. The grey began to grow thicker and the cigarette shorter, when Cid pulled himself out of his subconscious trance.

"I thought you quit smoking." He whispered, believing in himself that the soldier may not have heard him.

As a response, Yaag looked at him through the dense smoke and slowly inhaled, shrinking down the last of the stick, flicking the end into a too full ashtray with a look of cold intimidation cross his features when the smoke gently escaped from his mouth, "What gave you that thought?"

Unbelieving to the idea, Cid diverted his glance and occupied himself with watching the young woman on the television talking about an operation on Pulse. Pulse, Gran Pulse? He thought, and though the information was scarce and included only that of soldiers returning home safely, Cid gained much knowledge about his world.

He looked back at Yaag, who now was soaking in the scent and smoke of his recent pleasure, waiting patiently for the next serve. Then he thought about the medics, their ill treatment, the abuse he dealt with while in his cell and the inability to see those that he cared for, or even a human face after all of this time, since all he ever did see were masked figures. His Cocoon has changed, seeing Yaag was a great joy, but also the perfect pain.

Dysley. Barthandelus.

This was surely his doing, the doing of a corrupt fal'Cie.

Cocoon was in ruins. He had failed.

With his revelation, his heart began to race as he tried to doubt his logical thoughts, but the scent of the smoke was sticking to him and he began to feel ill, dirtier than before. So he rubbed his arms at the sense of insecurity, feeling highly unwelcomed in the presence of Rosch, but the dirt was clinging to him, appalling him , taunting him that he was of lower grade than the others, that he was a soiled, broken doll, ready to be battered into further submission.

"Can I request using your shower?" he asked, wanting nothing more than to find a patch of white on his discoloured skin.

Yaag freshly lit another cigarette and waved the stick towards Cid, slightly startled that the man was still standing by the door, "Second door to your left." He mumbled, not caring whether it heard, or not, "There is something in there for you. And leave the towel on the floor when you're done."

"Thank you." He muttered, not needing to hear the directions, but wondering on the idea of there being something for him. Something more to taunt him perhaps?

His footsteps were gentle on the carpet, not even a sound of his should befall this world – his very existence was unwanted, he knew that much. With reaching the door, he eyed the polished silver of the handle. Would Yaag be mad if he soiled it with his dirty hands? The thought was too much and he debated for a while on whether or not to open the door and use the facilities within, but it was difficult for anyone to possibly comprehend, he did not want to tarnish something so clean, so beautiful, so perfect, though inanimate and used to be touched. With disdain upon himself and his childish thoughts, he opened the door and slammed it shut behind him.

This is why he was here, to see, to realise what he had been reduced to. The cruelty of the matter hit him, though he beckoned it to remain within himself. There was no one he could voice such things to, and he needed nothing more than to strip his skin free from decay to bring to this new, dead Cocoon, a new self of his.

Moving away from the door, he eyed, curiously, a rectangular package, large enough to fit long stemmed roses that he had once received, only instead of red patterned tissue paper, the cardboard showed and it was decorated with not satin ribbons, but scratchy twine holding the lid to the base. He untied the loose, carelessly fixed knot, rolling the string around his fingers to make a neat ball and placed it on the basin. Without much anticipation, he lifted the top and dropped it instantly to the floor with a dull clatter.

White and black of pure, untainted variations shone back at him, fused in the likes of simple cotton garments. He stared at the clothes for a long while, mind blank at their immaculate state. He reeled back then, and raised his eyes slightly, to find gold meet gold and he leaped in fright. His ankle hit the bathtub behind him, and with flailing arms, he lost his balance, having to strike out mindlessly at the towel rack for composure, pulling down a vivid red towel in the process.

His breaths heaved rapidly in a ragged form, as he stared back at his own ghastly reflection. He closed his eyes and turned away, where had his pride been left to? It could not have dissipated or transformed into its counter, though with whatever reasoning he could give himself, there was an urge to turn back around and stare painfully at his frame tender and purple with rough handling and skin a ghostly shade that seemed to provoke the idea that the man lacked blood and was an empty shell.

He had been like an empty shell, a puppet to the commands of a fal'Cie and now he is an empty shell, a puppet bearing the scars of the commands that he followed. Oh, how he failed his own people!

With a discouraged air about him, he stripped himself of the tattered pants that he wore and pulled open the glass door of the shower, his back kept to the mirror. As he turned the faucet, he smiled softly to himself, it was a complete pleasure to feel clean water on his skin. As he cleaned himself, the water and soap removed the dirt, but he himself felt unclean, tainted, so he scrubbed his skin raw with his jagged nails, slicing the white skin with thin cuts to show that he did have blood. There was a haste in the matter, this water was hot, steam condensed on the glass, and the mirror fogged over to produce only blurs.

The smell, the feeling, it would not leave him, despite his skin smelling of a light, soothing fragrance. He raked his fingers through his hair and stopped short from the roots, feeling the black untamed locks brush past his shoulders. Looking down he saw, his hair had grown and he looked like a wild beast with the knots dwelling in the hair. How long had he been in the cell for? How could he not have noticed the change what so ever? He knew the answer, it was because he had hope, hope that Yaag would find him, love him, bring him back up into the world that he knew. He was wrong and afraid to admit that. In the meantime, he dealt with what he had and combed through his hair with his fingers and taking little care with washing it. He wanted to cut it, it was a painful reminder of the time he wasted hoping in the cell.

He paused, why was he in that cell? Cid would have hit himself for having thought of such a thing, to question that would only make him loathe and feel less of a human being. However, the answer came to him before he had a chance to contemplate – he completed his Focus for Barthandelus. He brought his right hand before his eyes and gazed at the back of it. Nothing, just blue veins, and snow white skin turning pink from the scalding water. His mark was gone, he should be a crystal, and he should be freed from the tyrant, Barthandelus. No, he was alive in person and not a crystal, he lost his mark, but he was controlled by a Cocoon fal'Cie.

What purpose did he serve now? The thought frustrated him, but he did not yield to it or think ill thoughts of it. Instead, Cid wanted to bide his time, he wanted nothing more now than to discover what had happened to the world he knew and make a decision from there. Priority in the meantime was to understand Yaag, to possibly make him realise who he was and how much they meant to each other. The man could not have forgotten, Rosch was not like that.

Without further ado, he stepped out of the scalding water, his skin raw and heated, and he dried himself down with the red towel that he sent to the floor. He did not bother with clearing up the mirror with the back of his hand, he did not want to frighten himself, scorn or despise himself more than he already has. He pulled the clothes out of the box and put them on feeling slightly satisfied, yet out of shape. The clothes hung on him. The white shirt was far too big, the hem reaching past his hip, and the black loose pants were held by hair's breadth on his slim, bony pelvis. He felt like a puppet more now than ever for he looked like one.

Folding the towel neatly into a perfect square, he lay it on the floor beneath the towel rack and gathered up the dirty rags and picked up the box. A whispering sound escaped from the box in his hand and looking into it, Cid found a pressed, white enveloped. Confusion struck him, then came interest as he lay those rags back onto the floor. Carefully, his hand dove into the depths and withdrew with the thin white rectangle. Turning the item over, at the apex of the flattened fold was a red, wax seal bearing the symbol he despised with his heart.

In a rush of rage, he struck himself hard across the face, pain throbbing in his cheeks turning his colourless skin a frightening shade of red. Only a barbaric fool trapped in endless darkness and feeling only the cruel touches of men and shallow meal could think that it was possible for the world that he would re-enter would welcome him, a supposed traitor of his home, with out stretched arms. No, instead all that he ever fought for was against him, it was yanking him down into the perils of his own dystopia. It nagged him, taunted him with its insidious reminders that he had failed, that he, an unclean man could taint Cocoon.

Cid would not succumb to such thoughts, though he believed them true, he tucked the envelope into the hem of his pants, shielding it with his immaculate shirt and collected the tattered bits of cloth. This time he spared himself the thoughts and anxiety as he wrenched the door open and proceeded out into the hallway.

The television was still on and as he turned the corner, the borders of his vision found that Yaag was still seated on the couch. Making his way into the kitchen, he threw the clothes into the bin along with the straight lined box and dusted off his hands.

"How did you know the bin was there?"

Cid turned around and golden eyes clashed with unfocused lilac.

"I presumed." He replied, taking in the forward slump over his knees that Yaag had along with the half-empty bottle of pure vodka hanging in a slack grip in his hand and the many burnt down cigarettes squished into a pond of ashes in a tray.

"Hmph." Grunted Yaag and he took a long swig of his beverage, relishing in the joy it had to offer.

The times had changed greatly, indeed. Yaag Rosch was not a man who drank alcoholic beverages, even sporadically, especially during a weekday. The silver haired man would argue that such petty luxuries would interfere with the focus he had on his occupation: on his honour and his pride of being a Sanctum official.

Cid frowned in a concerned manner, "You drink occasionally?" he asked – disliking the appearance and sharp contrast it had against the man he knew he loved.

Rosch laughed loudly, the base of the glass bottle hitting the table, "Highlight of my days!" he declared, continuing to guffaw like a madman.

Cid Raines had once been the highlight of his days – he had been the one true, honest love of his life.

With a flicker of uncertainty and doubt distorting his features, he grimaced internally at the cruel twist of fate, how this refined, couth man had taken a drastic turn for his counter. Smoke twirled in a graceful ballet, one of the silver haired man's deepest laments mirroring those of Cid's, as they rose up from the burning amber shortening the white stick held deftly between two fingers and pressed to thin lips, drained of colour. There was an ugliness in watching him, but also a beauty – he was Yaag Rosch in an altered form, but still the same Yaag Rosch, the man he loved dearly. The divergence of the past and present tore at him, the light of hope beginning to dim as the seconds stretched to minutes and golden eyes zoned in on the monotonous repetition: inhale, exhale, drink – with the odd cough and splutter added to break up the ensemble.

Yaag frowned deeply at the large screen before him with its moving images and reached for the remote, which he immediately threw across the room in a fit of rage into the screen of the television. The thin glass cracked and the colours wept around the wound forming a large black and blue blur, the remote landing on the floor with a loud clutter in a broken mess. Getting up onto his feet, Rosch pounded his way towards the screen and grabbed the item in tight fists, hurling it to the ground with a crescendo. The sound died, only the soldier's heavy, unsteady breaths could be heard above the silence, which had instantly flooded the room.

The instantaneous actions startled Cid and fear began to seep into him. What caused the man to do that? His weary head began to feel light again, but he reassured himself it was from lack of blood, though his thoughts refused to accept such. His heart begged to deny it, but he was slowly feeling that he should be afraid of the man he loved. Wide-eyed, he watched Yaag kick aside broken pieces of glass obstructing his path and finally slump back down in his seat and light another cigarette followed by a swig of vodka.

Yaag's eyes had not met his, the man being far too focused with his routine, but Cid knew that those lilac eyes were red from alcohol. His urge to touch grew stronger, though he restrained himself yet again. The silvery smoke rising from the burning cigarette curled around his pale face, repelling his senses yet enticing his humanity.

Reaching out a thin, white hand he motioned over to the space beside the silver haired man on the couch, "May I?" he asked politely.

Bloodshot eyes flickered in his direction, eyebrows knitting together in a questioning frown as if to wonder how such a degraded man could still pronounce words with a delicate, well-mannered way. His eyes roved over the thin frame of Cid's clothed in simple garments. The man was tall, unbearably thin and a sense of poise permeated from him, but he was still disgusting, the wife in the militia. Who knew what ill bred within him?

"Go for it." He muttered in all aloofness.

Cid nodded his head in due respect and seated himself on the rigid leather – the soldier has had little, if any, visitors. The clock on the mantelpiece ticked loudly, a grating sound to his ears.

"I appreciate your hospitality." Thanked Cid, a faint smile to his pink lips as he settled into breaking the void of silence.

Yaag grunted, and ground his burnt out fag into the ashtray, "I'm doing this under the Primarch's orders, otherwise I would have let my men continue their deeds with you."

His acidic tone struck the man, but Cid hid his insecurities and flashing memories of shredding sensations upon heart, body, mind, and soul, "Understood." He managed to utter, tight lipped.

Rosch picked up his packet of cigarettes and flipped the box open. He grimaced, tossed the empty carton onto the mess on the floor, and snatched up his bottle of vodka, sinking back into the couch. A glimmer of lustrous silver caught the attention of golden eyes. Clipped to his armour on the right, five prongs dangled from a winged badge signifying his military status. Cid blinked a few times, he had remembered from the last time he saw Yaag Rosch the man was a Lieutenant Colonel with only four prongs hanging from his badge, but now...

It took a moment for the fact to dawn on him, but when it came around he noticed, Yaag took his position yet he still wore the garb of PSICOM, perhaps he must be a General?

He smiled softly, Yaag received the rank he had well fought for and greatly deserved, "You moved up a rank." He said, Yaag turning his head to look at him and his smile faltered slightly causing a light heat to touch his cheeks, "I suppose you are a General now. I'm happy for you."

"What are you talking about?" snarled Rosch, "I was always General of PSICOM and the Guardian Corps."

Cid paled.

Did he not know? Had he forgotten? What had happened during the time he spent in the dark, dank cell? Those red washed lilac eyes showed him distance, a far stretch from before. There was a truth in those words and it pained Cid to take those sentences apart and analyse everything that the soldier had done and said today. Why had Yaag not rescued him? He asked himself that in the cell though he concluded that the man must have been ashamed of associating with a l'Cie such as himself.

But his mark was gone, he was a l'Cie no more and Yaag...he was no longer the same man. He had forgotten despite his promises. Overwhelming pity drowned Cid in his greater misery and he submitted to his desire, raising a weak, colourless hand to the warmth of Yaag's cheek, but its ascension was halted by a firm grip to the wrist. Cid stared up into cold, lilac eyes with their metallic sheen.

"I don't want your services." Hissed Rosch and he shoved the bony wrist into the frail body, batting away the emotions so clearly swirling in seas of gold.

His wounds reopened and Cid diverted his eyes and attention to the quarters that were once his own. He had left no imprint in the world, but instead was replaced by someone who bared no mind and memory of the truth. As another silence dissolved what little lamentations there were, Yaag drained the last of his bottle, putting the glass beside another and proceeded to open the other conveniently placed on the small rectangular coffee table. Putting the end to his lips and feeling a fine sip burn down his throat, he wiped his mouth with his free hand leant forward.

"You should go to bed." He said, the only sincere words he had uttered all day and motioned behind him, "First door down there."

Awakening from his thoughtless reverie, he stared back at Yaag with a wispy gaze and whispered, "Thank you."

Rising from his seat, he followed his directed path and headed into the room that was once his own, whilst thinking where Rosch would sleep for the night in the small sliver of caring thoughts he held, but then summed it up to the man sleeping carelessly, drunk on the couch...or the floor.

Entering his old bedroom, dust blanketed over the furniture and the bed appeared unused for a long time, the sheets pressed neatly. As he advanced towards the bed with a wish that when he woke the dream would end and Cocoon would revert to the world that he knew. The simple luxury of a warm, soft bed tempted him immensely and he smiled, dull and full of self-pity. Carefully, as if not wanting to disrupt the perfect nature of the objects around him, he gently settled himself to sitting on the edge of the bed, fingers stretching out to stroke the fine, cream linen of the bed sheets. As his fingers stretched further, something grazed along his stomach and he paused. Touching his stomach, he felt the envelope he had placed there earlier through his shirt and pulled it out from the hem of his pants.

His eyes flashed upwards to the door, Yaag would not come, and with much anticipation, his shaky fingers flipping the envelope over to the back and picked at the wax seal. He opened the letter and pulled out the neatly pressed letter and commenced to open it, curious golden eyes absorbing every letter carved with black ink by the hand of Galenth Dysley.

To Dear Cid Raines, former Brigadier General of the Guardian Corps and Commander of the late Cavalry crew,

For the time that you have spent in a continuous drone of darkness, the world did not fall to an eclipse like yours, but moved on, forgetting the insignificant efforts that you have tried to place in effecting the outcome of Cocoon. You have changed the way the world is Raines, without you the l'Cie would not have been stopped.

Purges have evolved into being a thing of the bitter past for your Cocoon, child. Instead, there is no need to dispose of the lives of these citizens, no, not when I have opened my eyes and seen, all thanks to you and your cunning plans, that to gain the respect and complete reign over the people, I shall not inject fear, but instead hate into these people. Gran Pulse has been the threat to Cocoon for all of these millennia, so why is it that I should obliterate our citizens, the ones that are not a threat to us? Yes, I have opened my eyes Raines, I can see that to obtain their respect I must eliminate the threat all together.

The wars of Gran Pulse and Cocoon are coming to an end, is that not what you have fought for? An end to this war?

We operate missions and deployments to Gran Pulse and that world is slowly, but surely falling under our empire. They have resources that we need as well, Raines. This is not only a personal matter or one for social security, but for the well-being of our people, to give them the best aid that could be achieved. It would be highly careless and I would be foolish if the Sanctum were to overlook this opportunity and not grasp it in a firm grip.

How is it that these operations are made you ask? Why, it is simple. Only l'Cie can survive on Pulse with their inhumane strength and abilities aside from the locals, so I had come to the conclusion that all soldiers of the Sanctum are to be made l'Cie. Your mark has left you, Raines, but that does not mean that you were the last being that I turned into a l'Cie. These citizens of Cocoon honour the Sanctum with their lives and their children – their second born children are one with the militia. They are one with Cocoon and they bear the mark to say such.

Their memories of the past have been left to be forgotten, such bitter lives they were. I do not want my people to suffer with such paining thoughts, could you not agree, child? So I erased their memories of the events featuring those six l'Cie and yourself. The effects were far too great for Rosch especially, you left a large imprint, but no longer could you do such again. I welcome you to try to reawaken his memories, but I warn you, do not kill yourself like he had. I may just bring you back to Cocoon alive. Yes, Rosch had killed himself, blown himself up with a hand grenade upon the discovery that you had died and he doubted my doing and hopes for Cocoon.
No one who had departed life could retain their memories, but you, Cid, you were different, you still lived even when your lackey shot you because you were a l'Cie, forever encrypted to me as my slave until your Focus was completed or you were killed. Your l'Cie died, but you had not therefore you are the only one can still remember all of the events.

I would never attempt to have you forget the past, I prefer that you suffer. I know you well, Raines, you are resilient and even if you try to excel in convincing yourself that you would not submit to the cruelty of this world, of this Cocoon that you constructed, well then you are doing just that, convincing yourself when truly you are rotting into your misery. Not even Rygdea or the rest of the Cavalry unit are by your side, no, they wander aimlessly in Orphan's Cradle minds blank of thought, just like those six l'Cie, with large limbs and crystal engraved bodies.

Do you remember the child? What was his name, Hope? You had taken a firm liking to the young boy, well, I can assure you that he is alive, wandering in the mindless abyss of life as a Cieth. Do not worry, no harm has come to him yet and from the last time I observed, he and the others look so jubilant as Cieth. Yes, all hope that you upheld has failed, puppet.

You must be concerned for Ragnarok. You should fear not, child, the demon is alive, but contained. The Maker has no purpose for now, preparations must be made in order for such. It is only a matter of time – a long wait, but time.

Rosch, he too was as you once were – a puppet to the fal'Cie.

Sincerely,
Primarch Galenth Dysley.


Note: I hate getting blood drawn, I like injections, but I hate getting blood taken out due to a bad experience at the doctors. Got my vein poked through and slit by an impatient doctor who can't tell the difference between skin and veins.

Please review, I love to hear what people think.