Chapter Five: Countdown To Final Hour

Prologue: Never Walked Away

The dreams all stained with blood, the subconscience broken with the pain, and the thoughts and images blown away by a bullet.

This would be the best way to explain my situation.

As I laid somewhere, I felt like I was drifting away, but staying right where I was. I was seeing faint flashes of lights, as the skeletons with rotting flesh on them smiled at me, standing on top of me with victorious smiles.

A voice faded in, ”We're losing him!

I couldn't register who they were losing. All I could concentrate on was this battle I had already lost.

All those years spent in investigations, nightmares, self-mutilation, and the presence of the people I had loved. And as I was walking into a countdown to final hour, they still wanted to show me I had never walked away from them.

Multiple gunshot, shrukien, katana wounds, head trauma, maybe a bullet in his head! He has lost conscience! He's going comatose!

Give me adrenaline, now!

And now, I was scratching the surface. Spending all my time crawling underneath the soil with my friends, I had to get up.

The surface I was scratching were the bridges I had built.

He's not responding! This guy is a train wreck!

Pupils blown, he's going into shock! Scalpel! We must take the bullet out!

And in this moment, the moment I was spending in the wreckage of my past, present and future, I knew I had never walked away from them. The sadness and the grief was just a faint dagger inside my chest.

On the grave I was lying, I saw my friends. All with non-mutilated faces. Everyone but Sis were there. I saw them.

”I'm sorry...” I said.

”Don't be.” Rinoa said, ”Don't be.”

”Man, we don't blame ya.” Zell said.

”We so totally don't, promise!” Selphie said.

”How can we, with your reasons?” Quistis asked.

”Still... I'm sorry.” I said, as tears of blood stained my eyes and painted their dead faces red.

What did he say?

To Diablos with what he said, I can't take the bullet out! Any internal bleeding!?

The blood pressure rising! He may be having a heart attack!

We're losing him!

Give me that! 200 joules, charge!


A sudden impact arched my back. I had to shift my upper torso up in reaction. They were drifting away from me. I wanted them to stay.

No response!

250 joules, charge!


Another sudden impact made them drift even farther away from me.

”I never walked away from you.” I said, almost reaching out to them.

Rinoa's lips touched on mine, leaving a sweet wetness. Hyne, how I wanted to meet with her.

”Ellone will be here soon.” Rinoa told me.

Still no response! Can't risk 300 joules, you're gonna kill him!

300 joules, charge!

This is extreme, stop!





As they all vanished back into the night, the emptyness came over me even more powerful than before.

I tried to say ”Sis”.

But what got out from between my lips was nothing more than a faint snarl.

Part One: Judgement Night

I opened my eyes, stained with tears, and everything reluctantly faded into focus.

I faced a dark ceiling. The rain could be heard. The lightnings had lit up the hospital room.

When I had woken up in this hospital room, I thought that I couldn'tve been anywhere worse. I grasped the arm of the bed tight. I moved myself up, and clenching my teeth,I felt the stitches in my head forced to fall apart. I managed to move my body up on the stretcher. I looked at my arms. They were both full of serums. All of the blood in the bloodbag had fed me.

I reached out to the needles and took them out. It was as hard as taking out the blame within me.

Feeling my baggy pants on me, I knew I was half-dressed. Bandages with bloostains covered me up. I was like a walking, fighting dead mummy.

I managed to get off the stretcher. I fell down, right on my face. The fingers of pain gripped me tighter than Ellone had ever done.

The past was a hungry demon.

I was crawling. I felt the blood running down from my wounds on my temple. The pain was too great to endure, but I had to stand against it. I had to stand as the undertow crashed over me and drowned me in it.

I was still crawling, and my crimes were the demons hunting after me. I grabbed a sink and moved up to my feet, my every move stretching my muscles and re-opening the wounds.

I saw myself in the mirror.

But where was I? I knew I was lying in the structure of my own pain. Where was I? I still had to go to The Crystal Dome. I had answers to get.

And the bullet-shaped hole in my head was the rabbit hole that went down to the answers. The only fact that took over me as my stomach began to convulse and send a wave of pain to my entire body and I fell on my knees was;

She was dead.

I started to crawl to the cabinet nearby, where I had seen my clothes hang. The crimes were coming after me, and I wasn't crawling fast enough. I had to turn and face it. But I was afraid to do so.

I grabbed the shelves and pulled myself up. I reached out to my t-shirt and trenchcoat. My shoes were still on my feet.

As I took my shroud from the hanger, I knew she was dead because of me.

The pain was beyond description as I put my clothes on. Their cold and strange touch made me shiver and even scream in pain. They were cold at first, but then, they became the warm, fitting touch of my shroud.

I found Raine in the cabinet too, and luckily, the knife. I slid the knife into my pocket and took the gunblade. But before I ventured out, I kissed the gunblade. A tear slid on my blood and fell on the blade.


”I miss you.” I said to Rinoa's ghost.

I walked out of the door and even managed to take a few steps before my head span. Some voices faded in, and then they rose up to a terrible, horrific laughter of a scream.

Squall, drop your weapon!




Squall Leonhart, we have the building surrounded!

Drop it!


There was a blind spot in my head. And that blind spot was the place where all the answers laid, down under the ground in their coffins.

As I took another few steps towards the elevators, the doors slid open to reveal GLE.

”Squall Leonhart! Surrender!” he said, as the officers connected their wrist guns, and aimed them at me.

Like every hospital member should've done when he or she had taken in the world's most wanted criminal, they had alerted the authorities.

I lunged at them the best I could. I swung the knife, and cut open one's throat and the gunblade caught another one in the chest. As I turned to face the other one, I swung my weapon and took his head off.

My vision spun wildly and made me fall back into the elevator, and everything blacked out for a few seconds. I pressed on ”G” which was ”Grave” and the elevator shook to move.

I felt tired beyond belief as I fought the gravity. I pushed the ground and crawled back on my feet. I wouldn't rest until Rinoa's killers had been dead. But one thought was dancing above all other thoughts.

She was dead.

The elevator stopped at the ground floor and the doors slid open to reveal the entrance of a hospital.

All of the activity ceased when I limped out of the doors and looked around.

I could read their fear. It was erupting from them. How had I became the monster... A man should be careful not to become one when he's fighting all those monsters. And I was one special man caught in the adamantine piano wire of fate.

No matter what they had told me, I knew this was fate. How else could I have justified the structure of my own choices?

A phone nearby rang. I limped towards that as everyone walked out of my way. I wanted to scream inside as why didn't you walk away when I needed you to?

I leaned on the shelf nearby the phone and picked it up.


Squall Leonhart?


I'm Lagoon A. Come to the abandoned Presidental Palace immidiately. I am expecting you.

Then the line went dead.

With this sudden rush of adrenaline I almost ran to the doors of the hospital, stopping only a brief moment to ask where I was. I was near the Presidental Palace.

I opened up the doors and the wind whipped my trenchcoat forwards, into the night. It felt like going home. Something in the night smelled like home, maybe a droplet of blood, maybe only the ones who were about to die.

And I would get my revenge. It wouldn't be like the dreams of coming close and taking it, and then learning I had only taken a part of the monster that wanted me dead.

It was time to take the whole monster dead with me.

It was judgement night.

Part Two: Old And Dead Monsters

Given the chance and the setting, taking a funeral car as a vehicle didn't strike me as ironic.

As I rode in the dark and cold Estharian night, the rain kept slapping on the windows and on the hood. Every once in a while, lightnings lit up the night to show me the path.

It was still so sickeningly ironic how they showed me the path right now.

My thoughts drifted so far away from the road. It had to be fate. I was dwelling on my fate constantly now. If there really was a fate, then mine was to end lives at the tip of a gunblade or die with a bullet that had tore through her and me, without caring for both of us.

The wind was still blowing as fast as it could as I forced myself to stay awake. I couldn't count on pain anymore. It was like losing my best ally. The only thing that got me going.

And the structure of my choices was a straight building.

It all had to be a straight line. No matter what the ghosts or whatever Lagoon A was going to tell me, it had to be a straight, thin line of blood. There of course were some turning points but when you had tried to take them, you would see that, you can't wander off your course.

The path taking you to your grave.

I felt like I was about to fall asleep, falling into the lap of my nightmares. And I felt like sleeping too, to exist in a world where I was totally numb to the darkness growing inside of me. I was trying to get away from it, run as far away as possible, but as I ran, the more terrible it continued to grow behind me, with teeth made of curved hunter knives and it's whole existance based on the dark swarms of my troubles.

I hadn't asked for this crap.

I was just a man trying to be a SeeD, trying to be the best he can be. But as Rinoa had once told me, the more I fought, the more I got sucked in the carnage of the dead. A morbid carnival prepared only for me.

A lightning lit up the night, and for one second, I saw Ellone's face on the front window.

I steered the wheel like crazy and the car flipped over, and started to turn around like it was going downhill to hell. I tried to hold on, but it was hard. My wounds were bleeding again.

Let them bleed. I wanted to stay down, give up and hope to bleed to death right in this car wreck. But chances were that, someone above or below, possibly below, liked me and wanted me to see this through.

With all of it's deadly speed, the car slammed to the wall. As the wall got closer to me, everything happened in slow motion. The one blow that landed on my head threw me out of the window, and the bullet inside my head managed to move a microscopic distance; a fatal distance.

I was lying face-down with the gunblade by my side, as the pain in my head made me want to scrape it out like I was scraping out blood off my walls.

”Who's there?” came a voice, as I tried to crawl on my feet.

Get up and go, Squall...

”I'm here...” I said, as I tried to push the ground. A hand was given to me, and I took it like I was holding onto the only working blood vein of my body.

I got back up on my feet, and tried to focus my vision for a while. For a moment, I stumbled and almost fell. The man who had saved me took me by the collar and made me stand up.

As his face slid into focus, I heard the ghosts' mocking laughters once again. How to turn off that small voice in my head that's telling me that now, if not before, I could totally believe this had never been over?

It was Marten. The blind priest. A member of Saladin.

”Squall Leonhart.” Marten said, ”Follow me.”

Then, the old and dead monster took me to the lair of all the remaining, old and dead monsters. As we walked through the emptied corridors of the Presidental Palace, I heard a scream. I knew the scream. It was Laguna's.

The ghosts still roamed these corridors.

And now the old ghosts were coming to me to play games with my remaining amount of soul. As I followed a blind man, I knew it was like blind leading the blind. I was more blind than he had ever been in his life. We had both been blind, and a blind man could only know the square he was on, on the chessboard.

Not the square he was going to.

”Mr. Leonhart, may I introduce you, the only part left of Saladin; Lagoon A.”

It wasn't much. It was a miserable few compared to Saladin. There was only one female member, and she was the woman I had seen on the train, as I was going to kill Selphie.

”We've met before.” She said, with a Succubus smile.

”We have.” I said, ”So, why have you been helping me again? I thought I had seen this through, Project SeeD, Seifer, and all of the rest. And the trail of bloody knives brought me here to C.O.N.C.E.A.L. And an agent named Hope.”

”Look, Squall, it won't be easy.” Marten said, sighing, ”About Operation Deep Eyes, it includes two major projects; Project SeeD and Project Regenesis. Both need funding, both need effort and talent to work on. Both with failures, false starts and other parts you can fill yourself.”

”But why did you help me?” I realised that this was something other than I wanted to ask in reality, ”Who is Hope?”

”That's the hardest part.” Marten said, ”First, Edea and Cid Kramer had to die, because of what they could tell you. We're here to tell you what they couldn't. We took them out, not Hope.”


”You did.” Marten said, ”You wasn't ready to know. Now you are.”

”Then tell me.”

”As you wish. Ellone Loire has been murdered by a member of Lagoon A, this leftover group of Saladin.”

”WHAT!?” the anger inside me was like an Exeter loaded with Pulse Ammo, ready to go off.

”But she isn't dead.” Marten added.

”I saw her die!”

”Just like you saw Fujin die?” the woman asked.

I froze. The possibilities now finding their own voices were twice as deadly as the bullet in my head.

”Hope is Ellone Loire.” Marten said.

And the only person I thought that had believed in my innocence had vanished beneath his words.

I knew the answer before he had told me. I knew. It all fit suddenly; this being all about me, subjective, up-close and personal. There was only one person who knew me that well. Sis.

”What am I supposed to do?” I asked them, totally helpless.

Marten sighed and said, ”There's only one way to settle this, Squall. Kill her. Kill her and hope Hyne gives you salvation. Amen.”

The possibilities were pushed aside for further investigations as I walked to the door. Marten suddenly said,

”Squall, stop!” his voice was in a dilemma.

I stopped and turned to him. He was looking at me. He was looking at me with his blind eyes.

”What do you see when you look at me, blind man?” I asked.

And after what he said, I became totally sure he could see beyond eye sight.

”I can see it and I can feel it. You're walking among the dead.”

Part Three: Buried Truths

I got out to the fresh, cold and rainy air of Esthar, out of the Presidental Palace.

As I wandered away, walking, towards the directions that pointed as The Crystal Dome, my thoughts had never been as deadly.

Ellone. Sis. Hope. It all made sense. Something inside me clicked as another lock got back into it's place. The answers all wandering around gathered themselves together and shown me the road.

The last mile was the longest.

And now, would something happen to me? How had I lost my guide? How had I let her leave me all alone, fighting this losing battle endlessly?

Now the voices in my head were telling me the ultimate truth that rested underneath the ground. They were telling me to dig up the buried truths.

Telling me not to let them down once again.

So this was the monster hunting after me. Wounded and half-dead, half-alive and still breathing, with every breath making more blood run out, coming after me over and over again until both of us were dead.

The only question was laughing at me like a clown full of bloody cracks on his face;

It this much of what I had believed was a lie...

...How much more was a lie?

When the chain reaction of lies had started, it had all became one slipknot that was around my throat now. As the rain continued to pound on me and soak me through, my thoughs were fixated on the lies women had told me. The lies that blackened my soul.

And in this black sunday, I was just a lost soldier in the middle of a maze of ice, under constant rain and pain. The raindrops blasting on my temples made me think they were shooting me in the head again. Each droplet of rain was a lie they told me. Like a single drop inside a bathtub full of blood, these were the lies. So many.

Uncountable amount of lies had brought me here.

For the first time in the last two years, and first time in this last day of my life, I realised once again, that I had passed the point-of-no return a long time ago. I had made a fatal choice and passed that point, without even having the chance to stop and take a better glance.

The more I went on and on about these, the more I got lost inside the core of my pain; the possibilities that were even more damaging than the memories. I couldn't take out the damage inside.

All I could do was to accept it and die.

As I drifted my mind out of my thoughts, I saw The Crystal Dome in front of me. My footsteps had been following the footprints in blood. The ghosts had brought me this far.

And I needed them more than ever now that I had came so far.

I looked around to make sure no C.O.N.C.E.A.L. ninjas were around. There was no security, no ninjas, no... nothing. It all seemed more quiet than a graveyard.

And as the lightnings lit up the dark sky again, I started to walk towards the building.

The Crystal Dome was really making it up for it's name. For one time in my life, I didn't feel like there was a decaying misery all over the place. No faded neon lamps, no thugs, no drunk people, no signs of the life I had known for a long time. It was a huge, spheral structure with a crystal dome above it as a roof.


I looked around. Then I smiled. My second complete smile of my life. They were here with me. The dead were watching over me now.

That gave me strength. I started to make my way towards the door and looking around, saw nothing to prevent me from doing so. I walked under the rain, as my steps dug shallow graves on the concrete.

I approached to the door and tried to open it. It didn't open up. Instead, an announcement was heard from the speakers;

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce, Squall Leonhart, the man with the most bodycount in recorded history.

And then, two ninjas moved in. They were easy- they weren't fighters, let alone expert. The knife was more than enough to kill them. By a sick habit, I bent down to unmask them.

They were both Sis.

This had something wrong in it. I knew I shouldn'tve looked for any logic in my situation, it was like a Death Claw trap set for me to fall in it. Then call out for a rematch and they had renamed it as retaliation.

The doors slid open, and I walked in, without any signs of threat.

You shouldn'tve came here, Squall. This will be the end of you.

Walk on...

The battle cries reported the ninjas to me. They moved in with great speed. And with my fury, my trenchcoat flew around as I rose Raine. I responded to them.

We were embraced in a wild dance of katanas and knives, shrukiens and nunchakus, a gunblade and battle rods. I was doing all I could. I slashed one open using my right arm, and then slid downwards to allow two ninjas to cut each other's heads clean off. I rose Raine to respond to a katana, and the knife spilled the ninja's, which was Zell, guts.

The last ninja was the most skilled one.

He attacked me with a gunblade, the same model as Hyperion. I didn't care. I responded just the same. I stopped his move and the knife dug into his throat. He fell down and choked in his own blood.

These eyes had seen prettier sights.

I bent down and unmasked this gunbladed ninja.

The face was another buried truth, dancing in my head. Seifer Almasy. I rose up Raine like a gyotine and slashed him again, just to take my frustrations out.

”Yes, zis iz the nature of these tings, you kno.”

With the familiar, funny accent, I turned around to face the only harmless ghost from my past.

Dr. Odine was standing right behind me.

”Yes, Mr. Leonhart, I knew you were coming to zis place. Ze path you took waz challenging, there iz no doubts there.”

”Dr. Odine, what are you doing here?”

”I am wit C.O.N.C.E.A.L., young man. I am their chief scientist.”

A question was pushed on my by a ghost, and I threw it at him.

”Do you know what these ninjas are!?”

”I surely do.” He said.

And his words made me believe, that there were still some buried truths to dig up.

”Becoz I have created them.”

Part Four: A Blackened Revelation

Dr. Odine led me through a dark, dimly lit hall. The answers I was after were ahead of me. I could sense them.

I could also sense some expectant patience.

I could sense what the ghosts were feeling. Because they were so close to me right now. Because we were so close to each other, like we had always been.

As the crazy Estharian doctor led me through another dark hall, the rain outside was making monstrous shapes on the walls, which were laughing sadistically at my failure, at the failure I was. Their smiles were foreboding uttermost doom for me.

The doom I had become.

The only feeling for Sis and what she had done had left hate in me. Because she had given me hope. She had wanted me to understand how there was no hope for me when she had chosen her name for it.

Then, another puzzle piece sunk into the flesh.

Glow- the flames of my hope. Floré- a sword model, the thing that had stabbed me and Hope, the only thing I was leaning on.

The Trio Of C.O.N.C.E.A.L., the trio that was after me all my life.

We came to a cold, steel door. Sleek, sexy, soulless, and cold of the touch, the door was the answers. It was an adamantine wall of the answers I was seeking.

Dr.Odine inserted his flashy key card and said, ”Dr. Odine, Password: Regen.”

The doors slid open and Dr.Odine led me inside. The door slammed shut behind me. My back up had been dead for seven years, and I was about to take other bullets.

As we walked together, I wondered how I wasn't dead with a bullet lodged in my head. Maybe it was dumb luck, maybe Lady Luck had found her boyfriend unsatisfactory.

Whatever it was, it was one of my excuses: Fate. If the only choice I had was to do the wrong thing, than it wasn't really the wrong thing, it was the only right thing to do.

”Here we are.” Dr.Odine said, as he stopped in what looked like a briefing room. He turned to me and said, ”Have a seat.”

If I sat down now, it would be forever. I couldn't stop yet. No matter how much I wanted to fall, I wouldn't let her have the sweet taste of victory.

”I'd rather not.”

”As you wish.” He said, and then he turned on a slide projector. It showed nothing but a bunch of people, who were the friends I had known. Their faces grey.

”Now, I kno you vant to ask questions, but first, let zis man explain thingz to you.”

”Operation Deep Eyes?”

”Precisely!” he said, his eyes sparkling, ”You vould make a great agent. Anyway, Operation Deep Eyes was launched by Hope, who iz Ellone Loire, niece of Laguna Loire. Ellone had started zis operation and Project SeeD becoz she vanted you safe of ze sorceress.”

A blackened revelation. So Ellone was deciding for me. She had decided that I should be living on as a broken man.

”Stealth izn't just a substance to locate ze sorceress, but modified versions of Stealth had been effectiv mind-kontrol mecanisms. It waz a different version of Stealth you had dealt wit when you had gotten ze knife. See, I had found out zat you produce certain wavepoints of electricity in your brain when you tink. And locating zat and affecting zat waz no big challenge for me. It waz Stealth zat made ze core of Project SeeD.”

”What does that have to do with Operation Deep Eyes?”

”Everyting. Look, be patient. Now, everyting waz going to plan until Quistis Trepe got close to an answer. Hope took her out, using The Trio and Brox Sulva, and the mafia. C.O.N.C.E.A.L. had dealt with mob bosses before, but it waz only to keep you away from ze truth.”

”So it was Ellone who was killing off all my friends?”

”She used Seifer Almasy, and when he waz dead, Selphie Tilmitt.”

Another wave. Even worse than before. My friends had died because someone had launched a project to protect me from myself. It was another way of putting me in a straight jacket.

”What about Project Regenesis?” I asked.

”After Laguna Loire has betrayed you, Ellone waz desperate. She vanted to make you pay.”

So this was the part where I had paid for what I had done in a previous life.


”Project Regenesis is a project zat created clones of your friends, based on their DNA. Modifying memoriez waz hard, but we managed to do so. And ze C.O.N.C.E.A.L. ninjas were merely genetical clones. And of course, there iz all those girls.”

”Girls? What girls?”

”Ze girls that were on your murder files when you were ze detective at large. Remember? Ze faces same, names similar? Sabrina, Aira, Leona, Calaria? All Rinoa, based on her DNA.”

”They were clones!?”

”Yes. And, Leia too. Selphie could not get in close touch wit you, becoz you were so distant. But we needed information to keep you under our watch. And then, Selphie told us you only could open to someone you loved.”

”And so, Leia was created.”

”Leia waz created by C.O.N.C.E.A.L. to observe whatever zat iz going on wit you. She waz just a... mole in your domain, so to speak. How else do you tink someone could've loved ze most wanted criminal in Galbadia or Esthar history?”

”She did...”

”She waz Rinoa, in a way. Their DNA, and their attitudes were all arranged. Squall, during your entire life, ever since you made it out of zat first 'retaliation', you had been under our control. You weren't even supposed to make it zis far. You were supposed to die when Elise had hunted you down, or Selphie had attacked you.”

”One last question; why was it named Operation Deep Eyes, and why didn't it have any other connections with Project SeeD in the files?”

Dr. Odine looked at me. His look made me shiver at the wake of a blackened revelation, that all my life, I had been nothing but a pawn on the chessboard. That someone was watching my every step and I had every justifiable right to be paranoid.

”Becoz, you weren't even supposed to survive. After you survived ze first wave and ze second wave as well, it had became personal.”

It was personal. It was even beyond personal. It was in our souls, of us, the soulless, when we had committed daily sins that could hunt us down.

”And for the name of ze project, well... She said you had really deep eyes.”

Revenge was extremely personal, and the laughters of the dead proved that only too well.

Part Five: The First Scene Of The Finale

After getting out of that room, I felt sick to my stomach. Because all of this had happened because I had made one simple mistake.

All this had happened, and I still couldn't find a way to justify it all. Justifying her reasons wouldn't help me. Her reasons were probably less justifiable than mine. Even the bullet in my head was crying.

The rain pounding against the windows fell with my broken tears of sadness. As I walked, my heart shook in sorrow. Because I knew that, the first scene of the finale was here.

But at a terrible, heavy price that now was on my shoulders, pushing me down. I knew I didn't have the luxury of walking away now.

How to turn off that small voice inside my head that's telling me now my revenge was justifiable in every boundary?

I took the thirteenth step and walked into the first scene of the finale.

I faced a dark corridor. I adjusted my trenchcoat and gripped my gunblade tight. The knife was still in my pocket. I looked to her. She was wearing her latex C.O.N.C.E.A.L. uniform, and a trenchcoat to match mine. She had a gunblade in her hand.

Her eyes were the dark pools of hate.

”Why, Sis?” I asked.

”Why!?” she asked in return, ”Because you destroyed everything I ever had! And in return, I destroyed whatever world you knew. Now we're even.”

We were even. And this was where it would all end. In this dark, gloomy, cold and long corridor.

I stood still with the calmness of post-mortem, before my death. I knew this was my funeral. This had to be. I couldn't live on. I didn't want to live anymore in the shambles of my life.

I'd rather lose them all once again than to live on after all that had happened.

The piece of music echoing through the place brought it's own sorrow to my funeral.

Rain was slapping down on the glass, on the edges of my late grave. I felt calmness, and yet, I knew this was the end. When you lived a careless, reckless life, it was bound to get to you.

And they were all dead. Love had killed them, just like love had prepared this grave for both of us.

I had lost too many friends along the way. The memories I had were fading away from me, as their voices fell away from me. The memories I never thought would fade had faded and blown away. The faces I had seen along my life, the faces of my friends had turned old and gray.

Because they killed you in the end. When nothing mattered, nothing weighed on your mind, you should've known, it was the end. And they killed you in the end. You could count on that.

I did.

The dark corridor was lying there like the final mile I had to walk, dark and viscious like her. I looked up to her. We were both losers in this battle. No victors had came out alive. The only two players were me and her, the knight and the queen. Like the chessboard was only a battle area with some blood smeared across it to spell ”revenge”.

”What do you see with those eyes?” she asked as she got out a gunblade, ”With your puppy-dog eyes?”

”You.” I replied, ”Only you as you are. Only you as what you had always been.”

”Don't forget your own role. You destroyed everything I had, in return of my simple act of duty.”

Act of duty. A sick irony was making it's way back into the picture. We had both done nothing but the 'act of duty's we had been ordered to do. Like a demon serving Diablos. A soldier in Hell's Army.

”How does this end?” I asked.

”Through you.” She replied, as I bitterly smiled to this metaphor.

But the forgotten words of our friendly hate was taking us nowhere.

”I named this 'Laguna'.” she told me.

”And this is named as 'Raine'” I replied.

”How ironic...” she told me, smiling the bitter smile of a stone-cold killer, ”Lovers meet again.”

”For the last time.” I told her.

”For the last time.”

The rain picked up it's pace. I started to run towards her, with my trenchcoat flying around. My steps made an echo, a strange Hyne's Eve chime came to my ears as the song went on and on and on like the darkness that had came on to me.

As the distance closed in on us, as the burden of the showdown, the true retaliation pushed all of us down, I thought about them.

Rinoa. Zell. Selphie. Quistis. Irvine. Even Seifer, Fujin, and Raijin. Xu and Nida were at the corners of my mind, hiding from me.

They were here with me. And it was the only thing I could count on.

I swung Raine, and in return, she swung Laguna from the opposite direction. The gunblades met as our trenchcoats flew around like our fallen wings. Jets of flame came out of the gunblades like they were the core of stars.

The first scene of the finale...

The retaliation had began.