A/N: Yep, another depressing AxP songfic. You better believe it. Savin' Me by Nickelback.

.:':. .:':. .:':.

Finn, Junko, Stork and Radarr ran up the stairs, Piper and Aerrow still standing in the corridor.

"Piper, get out of here," Aerrow urged, pushing her towards the stairway. The clattering in the hall came closer and closer. "I'll hold them off, just go!"

She shook her head, tears forming in her eyes. "You'll get captured."

"If you don't leave now, we both will be. I didn't come here expecting to escape with you. I came to spring you free and provide enough distraction so you could get away." He grasped her shoulders firmly. "I'd rather have me in that dungeon than you. DON'T come back to rescue me, it's not worth it. Now GO!" He shoved her towards the door.

"I love you," she whispered, still struggling against his arms.

He kissed her gently on the forehead. "I love you too. Please, go."

A single tear ran down her cheek as she nodded. Talons rounded the corner just as she disappeared up the stairs. Aerrow pulled out his energy blades even though he knew that this time, the odds were too great for even him to overcome. At least he would go down fighting, taking as many Talons with him as he could.

Snarling, he charged at them.

The walls glowed red from the Firebolt shots, dispersed with flashes of blue. Metal clanged on metal and the unconscious bodies began to pile up around him as he parried, blocked and blowed.

The Talons just kept streaming into the hall, and Aerrow was starting to tire.

A huge Firebolt blast hit him in the middle of the back. He fell forward and dropped his daggers. The Dark Ace's boot pressed against his shoulders, sword pointing squarely at the middle of his back. "Well, well, well, it seems the birds have flown the coop. But look, a little hawk swooped in to replace them." The Talons that were still conscious laughed. "You, get me some rope," he barked at the closest Talon. Hastily, he pulled a coil out of his pack and handed it over.

Yanking Aerrow's arms behind his back, the Dark Ace roughly tied his hands, pulling the knots tight. He dragged Aerrow to his knees, pulling on his arms so that his head hung. "I think it's time we clip this hawk's wings and put him in his cage!" There was a roar of approval from the assembled Talons.

The Dark Ace hauled him to his feet and pushed him down the corridor, back towards the cell he had just freed his friends from. He shoved the Storm Hawk into the cell, sending him sprawling, unable to use his hands to break his fall.

A few Talons still standing outside the bars guffawed at Aerrow's vulnerable form as the Dark Ace strode towards him, the door clanging shut.

Prison gates won't open up for me

"We've made this cell especially for you, Aerrow." He tapped the wall. It echoed dully. "All metal. You won't be digging your way out of this one." Aerrow lifted his head from the floor to glare at him.

"Get up." Feeling he was taking too much time, the Dark Ace grabbed his bound arms, jerking him to his feet and cutting through the ropes around his wrists. The Talons pressed themselves closer to the bars, jeering at Aerrow, wondering what the Dark Ace was going to do.

Suddenly, the Dark Ace swung a punch at the side of Aerrow's head. The Talons winced collectively at the sound it made and the way his head snapped back from the blow. He kicked the boy in the chest, making him stumble back a few steps. Aerrow stood there and took the blows, fists clenched.

"Aren't you going to fight back?" The Dark Ace smirked at the murderous glare he received. "I thought so. Weak."

So fast it was almost a blur, he swept his leg along the ground, trying to trip the Dark Ace. He leapt over it and caught the punch that had been aimed for his head. Twisting Aerrow's arm, he pulled the boy closer and kneed him, hard, in the centre of his ribcage.

Aerrow gasped and dropped to all fours.

On these hands and knees I'm crawling

He struggled to pull enough air into his lungs as he stretched his hand in a feeble attempt to pull the Dark Ace from his feet.

Oh, I reach for you

The Dark Ace laughed contemptuously and simply walked out of Aerrow's grasp, leaving him clutching an empty space.

Well I'm terrified of these four walls

Talons crowded the outside of the cell after the Dark Ace had left, laughing and taunting him. One by one, they grew tired of his lack of response and went back to their jobs, leaving him alone in the claustrophobic confines of his cell.

These iron bars can't hold my soul in

It didn't take much to scale the walls to reach the window. He hung there by his arms, the window being too small to escape through or to have a wide enough ledge for him to sit on. The sky was blood red and quickly darkening. He wished that a few stars or even the moon would break through the perpetual cloud cover of Cyclonia, but the sea of crimson sky was unrelenting.

All I need is you

It was painful, knowing that the others would be watching a dark blue sky studded with stars, but not enjoying it. He wondered if they were missing him more than he was missing them.

Come please I'm calling

Any Talon that was on night watch at Aerrow's cell had no chance of nodding off. He would cry out the names of his teammates in his sleep, and one in particular: Piper.

And oh I scream for you

He had been imprisoned for just over a week, but there was no rescue attempt made.

Hurry I'm falling

He smiled grimly. Obviously, his teammates were obeying his order to stay away.

I'm falling

At his darkest times, he would sometimes wish they weren't.

Show me what it's like

Over the next few weeks, he decided since rescue was unlikely, he would plot out several escape attempts, and then employ them.

To be the last one standing

All of them failed.

And teach me wrong from right

Still, he pushed on. Most of the Talons wondered how he kept on coming up with ideas, and why he didn't lose hope even though he never got past the end of the corridor. One Talon even started a betting pool on how many more attempts he would make before he either escaped or gave up.

And I'll show you what I can be

Aerrow put his hands behind his head and sighed. The fountain of ideas flowing in his mind had dried up. He drifted into an unhappy, if dreamless, sleep.

Say it for me

He woke at the sound of the guard being changed. A distinctly feminine outline cast a shadow into his cell. He squinted a little – they looked familiar, but he couldn't quite place it. His eyes widened suddenly. It had been a few years, and she must have grown; but the person now guarding his cell couldn't possibly be-

"Lynn?"

Say it to me

She turned in surprise at his voice.

"Lynn?" he repeated. "What are you doing here?"

"Aerrow? Wow, you look really bad." she appraised his collection of bruises, then sighed. "I got roped back in to becoming a Talon again. My family needed the money." She looked at her feet. "I'm not proud of it, but there was no other choice. I went to the Sky Knight Council, but they didn't do anything."

He put a hand through the bars and rested it on her shoulder. "Don't worry, I understand. Hey... Any chance you can bust me out of here?"

Smiling, she twirled the keys on her finger. Eagerly, he grabbed them and unlocked the door. She smiled. "I'll probably get in some major trouble for this, but I don't care. I never got to pay you back for helping me at the academy."

And I'll leave this life behind me

"Go. I'll just pretend I fell asleep on the watch. It happens all the time."

"Thanks, Lynn. I'll come back for you, I promise."

Say it if it's worth saving me

Running, Aerrow reached the hangar bay and quickly started one of the switchblades.

Heaven's gates won't open up for me

Red storm clouds still surrounded him. He longed for the fresh blue Atmosian skies that were his home. Sudden blasts of angry red energy struck his escape vehicle, engine belching black smoke as one of the shots pierced it.

With these broken wings I'm falling

The wings of the stolen switchblade creaked and groaned from the strain, then snapped clean off. Like a wounded bird, he crashed back to the terra, flung free of his seat from the force of it. He bounced a few times, now battered and broken, before coming to a painful halt at the edge of one of the palace spires.

And all I see is you

The edges of his vision were fading even as his eyes slowly started to close, images of Piper dancing behind his eyelids.

These city walls ain't got no love for me

His frayed awareness notwithstanding, he felt with painful accuracy how cold and uncaring the metal that he was lying on really was.

I'm on the ledge of the eighteenth story

The blurred outline of someone holding a blazing red sword flickered into view. "Nowhere to go, Aerrow," the Dark Ace hissed. Aerrow glanced behind him. A dizzying drop off the side of the building yawned at his back.

With the last vestiges of his strength and consciousness, he pulled himself over the edge.

And oh I scream for you

Her name roared through his head, blocking out everything except the heat of the tears streaming from his eyes. Cyclonia would no longer have him, but now he would never see Piper again.

Come please I'm calling

The faint echo of the Dark Ace's shriek of rage reached his ears, and despite himself, he smiled.

And all I need from you

The air rushed past him with such speed and ferocity that it almost seemed to go straight through him. Clouds drenched him as he passed through them, and he wished strangely, selfishly, that he was falling to his death with Piper at his side.

Hurry I'm falling

There was a sudden whoosh of displaced air and Aerrow felt himself being lifted through the sky.

I'm falling

The Dark Ace had dived after him, deployed his glider and caught the escaping prisoner. Regardless of his many cracked, fractured and broken bones, he thrashed in the older man's grasp, trying to wriggle his way loose, but to no avail. They swooped through Cyclonia, heading inexorably back to the dungeons he had just freed himself from.

Show me what it's like

The Dark Ace took care to fly high enough that if Aerrow did get free, he wouldn't be getting up again after falling. Hopelessness for any attempt of escape flooded him, and he finally stopped struggling. The Talon commander smirked. "See Aerrow?" he whispered menacingly. "What you feel now is what it feels like to lose hope. Get used to it." They dropped down in front of the prison block and he grabbed one of Aerrow's broken arms.

To be the last one standing

White-hot pain shot up his arm at the pressure, almost sending him to his knees. The grip tightened like a vice and it was everything he could do to not scream. Stars started to pop in his vision as and the Dark Ace dragged him down the myriad halls and stairs until he was thrown back into the familiar cell. Somehow, Aerrow managed not to collapse.

And teach me wrong from right

"I know one thing for sure," he said in low voice. "You'll never break me."

And I'll show you what I can be

"Never."

Say it for me

The Dark Ace laughed mercilessly. "You may be sure, but I'm not."

Say it to me

He turned his heel, still laughing, leaving Aerrow alone, leaning heavily on the cold bars of his prison cell.

And I'll leave this life behind me

He settled down on the small, uncomfortable cot closed his eyes, pretending he was back on the Condor. A blaze of determination flared in his heart; even if he was trapped here for the rest of his life, he would never forget his friends, especially Piper.

Say it if it's worth saving me

For them, he would stay strong.

Hurry I'm falling

His dreams didn't reflect his resolve. He was standing at the base of a cliff, the rest of his team at the top. As one, they flung themselves off the edge. He tried in vain to catch them as they fell but they all disintegrated before he could reach them.

Waking found him in his empty cell, sweating coating his heaving chest.

"Morning, sleeping beauty." The Dark Ace chuckled at Aerrow's recoil of shock to finding the cell not quite as empty as he had thought. "You have a doctor's appointment."

"Where's the doctor?" he rasped.

He chuckled again. "I shall be your humble doctor today," he smirked, bowing sarcastically. Crouching, the Dark Ace pulled a complete set of manacles from the bag he had brought in with him.

Before Aerrow could prepare a defence that wouldn't further damage his broken bones, he felt the cold metal kiss of the fetters on his ankles and wrists. The Dark Ace unsheathed his broadsword, firing four heat-filled shots at the chains. When the haze cleared the manacles were set deeply into the wall of the prison, the metal melding into the stone.

The Dark Ace ripped off Aerrow's shirt and the lower part of his pant legs. "Oh, don't get excited," he snapped when he saw the way the boy had cringed into the wall.

None to gently, the Dark Ace poked the bottom rib on the left side of Aerrow's chest. He bit back the scream that threatened to burst from him. The finger probed and prodded until Aerrow was shaking with contained agony. "Well done. You seem to have broken just about every rib you have." He pulled a length of bandage from the bag and bound it tightly around Aerrow's torso, who gasped in pain. "Hmm. You probably shouldn't be hanging from the wall with your arms broken, but what do I care?" He smirked, pulling a splint from the bag and setting his broken arm bones. "Your legs don't seem broken, only bruised. Shame." Viciously, he kicked the largest and darkest discolorations. A low moan of pain escaped Aerrow's lips.

Satisfied, the Dark Ace left the cell, locking the cell door behind him.

All I need is you

Aerrow hung there in solitude for three days without reprieve. The only thing that kept him sane was the thought of his teammates, and wishing that they would find some way to save him.

Come please I'm calling

"Your friends sure are taking their time rescuing you." The Dark Ace had been lounging at the bars for the better part of the morning, watching Aerrow suffer. This had been the first time he had spoken since arriving. "Maybe they don't care." He cocked his head as if considering the option, smirking at the boy.

And oh, I scream for you

"They're not coming. I told them to leave me behind and not to try and rescue me," he muttered, not looking up.

The Dark Ace laughed. "Don't you think that if they were any kind of friends, they would try and rescue you anyway?" Aerrow felt the slightest twinge of doubt.

He had a point.

Hurry I'm falling

What was taking them so long? It had been about a month since his initial capture. A coil of uncertainty settled in his stomach, and he came closer to an edge that would send him plummeting into a well of despair.

I'm falling

"It's been a month already, Aerrow," the Dark Ace sneered, echoing his earlier sentiments. "How long do they need?" The edge of the well yawned before him.

I'm falling

Aerrow didn't answer, only hung his head so the Dark Ace couldn't see the doubt reflecting in his eyes.

Show me what it's like

To be the last one standing

And teach me wrong from right

And I'll show you what I can be

It was the cliff again, but this time, the five figures weren't at the top. They were laying face down at the base, blood pooling around them, staining the grass red. "No..." Aerrow whispered, dropping to his knees. He turned over Piper's body, staring into her usually honey-coloured eyes. Now, they were a dull gold, each a well of despair.

Say it for me

Say it to me

And I'll leave this life behind me

Say it if it's worth saving me

Upon waking from his nightmare, he found his resolve strengthened once again. The fountain that had supplied him with escape ideas trickled back to life. He acted more in pain than he really was. The Dark Ace had now taken to beating him regularly, and Aerrow made sure to let out a few good screams every now and then. Let him think the cracks are starting to show, Aerrow thought grimly. I'll show him.

Hurry I'm falling

The days following stretched into months and despite himself, Aerrow felt his confidence start to waver again.

Say it for me

Footsteps echoed in the corridor outside his cell. Aerrow squeezed his eyes shut; The Dark Ace was back, and judging by the number of footsteps, he wasn't alone.

"Nice to know you've brought company this time, Dark Ace. It was getting kind of monotonous."

Say it to me

The Dark Ace growled, angrily opening the door and unlocking the fetters. Aerrow dropped to the floor with a grunt, the Talons taking this as a sign that they could start attacking him.

And I'll leave this life behind me

He didn't know what it was, maybe the fact that there were so many Talons beating him, but this time, he knew the Dark Ace had taken it too far. Through the pain, a thought coalesced in his mind. You've saved the others from this. They're free. Piper's free. With his last dying breath, Aerrow smiled.

It was worth it.

Say it if it's worth saving me

.:':. .:':. .:':.

A/N: Hehehe, I love writing depressing AxP songfics. I probably should have warned that this was a deathfic, but oh well. :P

-pixie.