The New Flesh

Chapter Fifteen

By Scarlet Fever

"Nida, are you back yet?" Daisuke folded his newspaper, putting it under one arm, and went down the stairs. Nida had gone for a walk, like he'd been doing every night since he showed up on the doorstep.

"Yeah..." Nida called. He was lifting fifty pound weights. When Daisuke came in the room, Nida put them down on the floor beside his chair. "Anything wrong?"

"No... just checking." Daisuke narrowed his eyes. "How was your walk?" He had a feeling that Nida didn't go for a walk. There was a dark feeling in the air.

"Fine." Nida stared off into space, slowly rising out of the chair. "I'm going to go use the Stairmaster."

Daisuke silently watched his son go to the exercise room, carrying his weights with him. That's where Nida had been spending most of his time, working out, his muscles showing more definition. Quite frankly, Daisuke was worried about his son. Whenever Daisuke tried to ask about Squall, Nida would get defensive and go out. Or, he would just slip into silence. He'd also started meditating more, like he was trying to push down his powers, trying to contain them within his body.

Daisuke went to his study, worried about his son, worried about the darkness in the air. He sat in his overstuffed leather chair, and unfolded his newspaper once more. "Nida, I hope you know what you're doing..." He whispered under his breath. He heard the distant strains of music. Nida must have turned the stereo on. It was a beautiful tune, classical opera. It got louder, like Nida had turned up the volume. The rich tone of the singer's voice filled the house, and lulled Daisuke into calmness. The words in front of him fuzzed up, and he yawned, feeling heavy and tired.

He blinked, and his lids felt like they were made of lead, and his heart lurched in his chest. "Oh, God...." Daisuke panted, slipping out of his chair as a wave of ugly power moved through the air. He moved his hands up to his face to rub away the heaviness in his eyelids, and it knocked his glasses off his face. "Nida!" He cried, but it was little more than a whisper. The beautiful notes filled the house, and stole his breath. "Nida!" He called again, but his voice had completely failed him.

Nida had only taken a few steps on the Stairmaster, and had already gotten sick of it. He shuffled back to the living room, and flopped onto the couch. He curled into a ball, and stared blankly at the television, which was off. He felt stronger because of Xiphias's powers, but his heart felt weaker. Squall hadn't come to find him. Squall had thought that Nida was to blame for everything. Squall hated him. As he'd been leaving Winhill, using his ever-growing powers to transport himself back to Dollet, Nida could have sworn that he'd heard Squall's voice calling for him, but it was probably just his imagination, probably just wishful thinking. Nida knew it was best to keep his distance from Squall, and the others as well, because his powers were getting stronger, and he didn't want to put them in danger. But, the Oracles had hurt innocent people anyway. It seemed that Nida couldn't get away from them, couldn't protect people against them.

But, in the past three weeks, Nida had learned to mask his power, so no Sorcerer or piece of machinery would be able to find him. Part of Nida hoped that Squall would have just come to Dollet to find him. It's not like it would have taken long to guess that Nida had come to protect his father. The Asian man sighed. Maybe it would have been better if he'd never gone to Rinoa's mansion in Deling City when Quistis asked him to help her and Xu. He never would have gotten Xerampelinae's powers in his body. He never would have become Iudicium. He never would have gotten into a relationship with Squall....

Nida blinked his tired eyes, breathing heavily through his nostrils. He flexed and contracted his hand, feeling the new power moving through him. Xiphias's sorcery wasn't as strong as some of the other Oracles he'd absorbed, but he could pick of distant flashes of knowledge about poisons. He wondered if he would be immune to poison, taking on that aspect of Xiphias's powers. Nida didn't really care. Although he knew he had to do this, he knew he had to take on this power in order to prevent the Oracles from doing more harm, he just wanted to forget it all. He just wanted to have time to have a normal relationship with Squall. Would that ever happen? Were they even compatible when the situation wasn't epic, when they weren't surrounded by mortal danger?

"Squall...." Nida whispered. The fury he'd felt with Squall back in Esthar had melted only a couple hours after the fight, and now all that Nida was left with was a gnawing sorrow and need. It was almost like he was going through what he went through when Shin, his former boyfriend, died. It was like he was mourning a love all over again. But, it felt worse, because Nida knew he loved Squall far more than he had ever loved Shin.

Nida felt himself drifting off, Squall's face and voice burned into his memory. He would fall asleep every night with the memory of Squall wrapping around him, a poor substitute for the scarred man's arms. Very gradually, Nida felt something ugly enter the air. He wondered if it was him, and because of Xiphias's powers being added to the mix, he was releasing energy. But, it felt foreign. The same feeling that had caused him to mutilate Xiphias so horribly began to rise in him, that territorial desire to destroy this source of magic. Nida slowly sat up, looking around the living room. His father must have been in the study or upstairs. The Asian man slowly rose to his feet, feeling his flesh crawl. Then, he heard it. Distant, but there. The strains of music.

He wondered if his father had turned on the stereo. It was opera music. A shiver moved through Nida, and he knew it wasn't the stereo. It was Fermata's voice, and it was slowly getting closer. It was like sweet chimes, Hell's bells coming closer and closer. "Dad...?" Nida called, but his voice seemed to get lost in the sound of Fermata's beautiful voice. Nida had wondered when the Oracles were going to make their next move. Tevedes was playing with him, and Nida hated her so much at that moment. He knew enough about her to know that she didn't care if she was sacrificing the other Oracles for her little plan.

Nida crouched beside the couch, and pulled out a flat black case. He opened it, and pulled out his newly upgraded sickles. His eyes darkened to onyx black as the magical energy of Fermata came closer and closer, her voice so gentle. Nida broke down his barriers. It was obvious that the Inaudax knew he was there, so it didn't matter if he hid himself or not. It was like a dam breaking, and Nida actually whimpered when he assaulted himself with the full brunt of his unleashed powers. He felt the black angel wings, oppressive against his back. But, Xiphias's energy must have sealed the deal, because he could feel the feathers tickling the backs of his arms.

Nida heard the song right outside the door. Nida watched as the locks telekinetically unlocked themselves, slowly, one by one. The door slowly opened, and Fermata's voice filtered in, filling the house, filling every nook of air. She stood in the doorway, a beautiful vision in crushed brown velvet, her pearls shining ivory against the mahogany of her hair and dress. She was a vision of elegance, an homage to Julia Heartilly. But, the look in her eyes was anything but elegant. She continued to sing, like a ventriloquist, even as her tongue darted out of her mouth, slowly licking over her full lips in satisfaction.

"Aren't you going to invite me in?" Fermata asked, her voice coming like a horrible, serene wave over the sound of her singing, which seemed to come from somewhere deep in her throat, not needing her mouth to project it. "It's rude to let a guest loll around in the doorway."

Nida just glared her down. "I can greet you the same way I greeted Xiphias..." He flung his power outwards, like a black wave. Fermata put one foot backwards to balance herself against the onslaught. She grimaced at him, but didn't back down from the energy. She grinned, and began forming words in an ancient language that Nida couldn't understand. But, the power within him knew those words. His eyes widened. "Dad...." He panted.

Fermata just laughed, and slowly stepped into the living room, bringing her power forth, the energy causing her hair to blow around her, to rise all around her in a beautiful waterfall of chocolate silk. She grinned, and advanced on Nida just as he advanced on her, blades out.

Rinoa stuffed the rest of her clothes into her bag, checking to see if she had everything. As she was making her way to the bathroom, she heard a knock on her door. "Come in!" She called, picking up her make-up case. She was relieved that it was Seifer and Zell, and not Squall. "Hi!"

"Packing?" Zell asked casually.

Rinoa nodded, pulling her hair back into a ponytail. "Yeah. I need to go home."

"Why?" Seifer asked. "Is something wrong?"

She shook her head, opening the dresser drawers, pulling out her underwear. "No, nothing's wrong. I just want to check on my friends.... I... I haven't been to Deling since Tevedes took it over. I just want to make sure everyone's okay."

Zell nodded. "Everyone seems to be leaving..."

Rinoa cocked an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

"Squall took off this morning."

She frowned. "Really?" Rinoa couldn't keep that small twinge of relief out of her eyes.

"You seem glad of that," Seifer said, noticing. "Why....?"

She just shook her head. "Where did he go?" She hadn't seen Squall since the beach incident. She didn't want to face him after what happened with him trying to get her menstrual blood. She just very uncomfortable about the whole thing, and more than a little mortified. Besides, she was still mad at Squall for the way he'd treated Nida.

"To find Nida," Zell answered. He bent down, and picked up a T-shirt that Rinoa had dropped on the floor. "Here."

"Thanks." She stuffed it in the bag. "But... we don't even know where Nida is."

"Squall thinks he's in Dollet..." Seifer whispered.

"But, Edea and Elle checked there...." Rinoa frowned. "Oh.... God, I hope Nida's okay." She gave a worried look to Seifer and Zell as she flopped down in the rocking chair in the corner of her hotel room. "I mean... after what he did to Xiphias...."

"I'm sure he's fine. And, Squall needs to see Nida, or he's going to waste away..." Zell stopped abruptly, shivering. "Christ, do you feel that?"

Rinoa gave a perplexed look to the two blondes, especially when she saw Seifer's peridot eyes darken. "What is it? I don't feel anything..."

"Oh, God...." Seifer whispered. "I suddenly felt this huge...."

"Release of power," Zell finished. "This feels... bad."

"Could it be Nida?" Rinoa asked hopefully.

"I hope not..." Zell murmured.

Rinoa's eyes grew wide. "Well, all the more reason to go to Deling!"

"It'll be dangerous, especially after Magdalene dissolved the Church, giving State all the power." Seifer's voice was grave. "And... you won't have..."

"What?" She asked sharply. "I won't have Squall to protect me?"

"I wasn't going to say that. I just meant that you would be alone...."

"I don't need Squall to protect me. He's falling apart anyway..." She zipped up her bag. "He's useless to everyone," she muttered under her breath. "Ungrateful little cunt."

"Rinoa...." Zell trailed off.

She smiled sadly. "Thanks for the concern, boys. But, I really have to go. And, I'm not needed here anymore. Tell Laguna goodbye for me, okay?" She gave each of them a quick hug, and moved to the door. "If Nida comes back.... Tell him..... Tell him...." She sighed.

Seifer nodded slowly. "We know, Rinoa."

She nodded back, and left. Seifer and Zell exchanged looks. The tattooed blonde sighed and pressed his temple against Seifer's shoulder. "That feeling isn't going away, Almasy."

"I know, baby." Seifer's body was stiffened from his concern, and his wariness at the dark energy that was hanging in the air. It felt like it was coming from next door, but it could have been across the world from them. "I bet anything that what we felt was Nida unleashing his powers."

"You think that another Oracle has gone after him?" Zell cocked his head, looking into Seifer's eyes. "You think that they found out where he is?"

"With this amount of energy?" Seifer couldn't help but shiver. "Christ..... Zell...." He just shook his head. "He's getting stronger."

"Do you think it's actually a bad idea that Squall went to find him?" Zell's youthful face scrunched into a frown. "I mean, if this...." He spread his hands out. "If this is what Nida's power is like now, will he even be able to.... contain himself....?"

"I think in this case, it's Squall picking his poison," Seifer answered. "He needs to find Nida before he falls apart. Maybe Nida can knock some sense into Squall." Seifer's countenance darkened. "This is not like Squall at all."

"Do you miss your rivalry with him?" Zell asked.

Seifer shook his head, shrugging at the same time. "No. What I do miss is the Squall that was part of that rivalry. I mean, I'm all for love..." He gave a meaningful look to Zell. "But, so much has happened to Squall that he's kind of forgetting that you can't let love totally control you."

Zell made a mockingly tragic face. "You mean your love for me doesn't control you?"

"Who said I even loved you?"

Zell punched Seifer in the arm, smiling. But, it was a tight smile, hard around the edges, not reaching his eyes. "Fuck you, Almasy." He sighed. "What are we going to do?"

Seifer punched the mattress angrily, then got up and began pacing the room with long strides. Zell curled his hands into his lap and watched his lover. "There isn't anything we can do right now. We don't even know exactly where Nida is...."

"Maybe Edea can find him..."

Seifer held up his hand, silencing Zell. "I know that they could, but should we? I mean, with Nida as strong as he is now, and some of the more powerful Oracles still around.... It might not be a good idea to get in the way." He sighed. "Even though we should get in the way. I still think it's a bad idea for Nida to take in all this power...." Seifer gestured around him. "And, this feeling is evidence of that."

Zell shook his head. "Scary, isn't it? That the Oracles he's absorbed already were so powerful, but they aren't even the most powerful out of the whole group."

Laguna knocked on the door, stepping into the room. "I just saw Rinoa leaving in a rental Jeep. Where'd she go?"

"Deling City," Zell answered glumly. "She wants to check on her friends."

Laguna's eyes widened. "First Squall, then Rinoa. Doesn't she know it's dangerous?"

"I don't think that would stop her," Seifer murmured. "Rinoa can be very determined."

"You've got that right..." Laguna mused. He noticed the dark expressions on Seifer and Zell's faces. "What... What's going on? You look so serious."

"Have you heard from Elle or Edea?" Seifer asked, drumming his fingers against his chin.

"Nooooo...." Laguna cocked his head. "Should I have?" He looked at Seifer, then at Zell, then at Seifer again. "What's going on?"

"We can feel what we think is Nida."

Laguna's eyes brightened. "Well, that's good, right? Squall would be glad...." Laguna stopped talking. "It's not good, is it?"

"No, it's not..." Zell mused. "It feels very dark, and troubled. Like... There's a battle...."

Laguna's cellular phone rang, and Zell made a gesture. "That'll be Edea or Ellone," he said quietly.

"President Loire..." Laguna greeted. "Edea! We were just talking about you. What do you have?"

Seifer and Zell shared an uneasy glance as Laguna talked on the phone.

"Two Sorcerers?" He shot a look to the two blondes. "Nida and.... shit." He frowned. "Should I send some troops to Dollet?" Laguna asked of Seifer and Zell.

"No fucking way," Seifer ground out. "Squall's already on his way there, and that's bad enough. We don't know what's happening there, and to send in troops could be signing their death warrant. The best bet would be to try and contact Squall after this feeling dies down."

"Okay..." Laguna turned his attention back to his conversation with Edea. "They say no.... Okay, then." He turned to Zell. "Edea agrees." Laguna's eyebrows shot up. "Huh...? Okay, thanks Edea. I'll come back to the city as soon as I can." He hung up.

"You should wait until this magic dies down." Seifer crossed his arms over his chest.

"But, I can't feel it," Laguna said.

"Doesn't matter. It would be too dangerous to fly," Zell pointed out.

Laguna nodded. "OH! Get this.... Selphie woke up."

Seifer's eyebrows raised. Zell smiled sadly. "Well...." Seifer mused. "I guess it's because Xiphias is dead."

"What other Sorcerer is it?" Zell asked.

Laguna's face darkened. "Fermata, which is not good. If they're in Dollet, and she uses her voice..." He shook his head.

"It will affect the townspeople...." Zell whispered.

"And, it will affect Squall." Seifer sighed then cursed under his breath. "Dollet's too far away to do anything right now."

"So, I just have to fucking wait while my son could be running to his death..." Laguna sat on the bed beside Zell and cradled his head. "Fuck!"

Daisuke pulled himself along the carpet of the study, his head pounding. His whole body was absolute agony, and he could only hear that song in his head. He could feel vibration around him. Magical. He needed to see if Nida was all right. Daisuke tried to rise to his feet, but his legs just would not work. Every time Daisuke tried to call out to his son, his voice would get swept away. "Nida!" He tried to call again, but this time, his mouth filled with blood. The song became more involved than a hum, and he could hear words. Words in a language he couldn't understand. It sounded so archaic and ancient. The words seemed like a real entity, moving around him like hands, fingers. When the words permeated his mind, Daisuke opened his mouth to scream. If his voice had worked, it would have been a scream that could have waken the neighbourhood, but all that came out was a wave of blood. He could smell blood too, pooling in his nostrils, flowing out to mingle with the blood spewing from his mouth. He dug his fingers into the carpet, which was becoming slick with his own blood, and pulled himself to the door. He could feel something wet beginning to pool in his ear canal.

"Nida...." He panted through the blood, finally pulling himself into the hallway. He was curled at the top of the three stairs that led down to the living room, and even through his pain, he felt fright grow in him. The furniture was all toppled over, and there were large slash marks in the walls, as well as blood splattering. Nida was fighting against a beautiful woman in a flowing velvet gown. She was singing. Nida had his sickles, and this woman, this siren, had a long iron pole in her hands, using it to deflect Nida's attacks. But, what frightened Daisuke was the look on Nida's face, the angel wings on his back. Nida didn't look like himself anymore, and it was to the point that Daisuke barely recognized his own son. Nida kept aiming for Fermata's throat, but she would deflect the blow. Daisuke shivered from the loss of blood, from the damage the beautiful song was doing to him. He also shivered from the thick magic in the air.

"Ni....da...." He tried to call again. His voice was completely unresponsive. Nida looked so terrible and beautiful at the same time, like an epic painting of the Rapture, like a battle between Heaven's Angels and Hell's Angels. But, it was one of Satan's angels that Nida looked like. He looked more like Lucifer Himself, so dark and regal, deadly and powerful.

Fermata just laughed when one of Nida's razor sharp sickles cut through her wrist like it was butter. Fermata's hand fell to the carpet in a pool of blood. She changed her tune, and hummed a bar of something, and the blood flowered at her wrist, even as it was spraying all over Nida, coating him in the hot crimson. The hand grew back, as good as new. "You're going to have to do better than that, my dear," Fermata cooed over her own song. She swung the iron pipe, and it connected heavily with Nida's jaw. It caused him to stumble backwards. But, he didn't fall. He swiped one of his sickles outwards, also thrusting out some magical energy. That wasn't doing much good against Fermata's song, so he had to rely on his weapons. The blade caught her cheek, and cut out a large chunk of it. She growled angrily, and hit Nida again in the face with her iron pipe, and kicked him in the breadbasket with one of the heels of her stiletto shoes. "I'll get Iudicium out of you, child..." She whispered, her voice a mere echo over the growing sound of her song, which was reaching a feverish pitch.

Nida grunted as she smacked him with the pipe a few more times. He could hear the sound of his ribs cracking. He quickly sliced upwards with his sickle, and the tip of one of them caught under one of the Inaudax piercings that pierced between the bones of her forearm. Nida gave a powerful yank, and the silver ring ripped out, making a horrible noise. Because of Fermata's position, perched almost on top of him, blood rained down on Nida, veiling his vision in red.

"You whore!" Fermata screamed, and her song briefly stopped. She gripped her arm, and her beautiful, calm face twisted into a horrible mask of ugliness. "You fucking STUPID WHORE!" She let out a banshee's scream, and it caused Daisuke to scream from his foetal position at the top of the steps, and it caused Nida to bow his body. He had to use his magic as a blanket against injury, but he could feel blood coming out of his nose anyway.

Nida thrust out a vicious wave of magic, and it caused Fermata to stumble backwards, giving Nida the brief opportunity to rise to his feet. Nida noticed his father shuddering at the top of the steps. "DAD!?" He cried.

"Cunt!" Fermata screamed, and she started her song again, stronger and louder than before. She lunged at Nida, arcing her lead pipe down on him.

Squall slammed his open palms against the steering wheel of the sports car as it rolled to a stop. He'd finally reached Dollet just as the sun had vanished. He'd gotten pulled over for speeding twice in Galbadia, which had made Squall even more nervous, because Galbadia was still under Tevedes's control. He'd also had to deal with the rain. Once he'd driven into Galbadia, the skies had opened, and rain had poured down, Tempest's doing.

"Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck!!" He cursed, on the verge of frustrated tears. He wasn't too far from Nida's neighbourhood, so he grabbed his bag and his gunblade, and left the car on the side of the road. The rain soaked him immediately, but Squall didn't care. The drops were ice cold, and he shivered, but wouldn't stop. He had to find Nida. He had to see him....

It was uphill to Nida's neighbourhood, and Squall's feet slipped because of the driving rain. He got to the crest of a hill, and Nida's neighbourhood, its nice, expensive houses stretching out in front of him. As he walked along the deserted sidewalk, a feeling of dread grew in him. Water was pouring down his face from his soaked hair, obscuring his vision. His steps slowed down, the air thickening. Squall strained his ears as he heard something. But, it was hard to tell over the sound of the rain, and the claps of thunder that boomed in the distance. He turned onto another street, and the sound got louder. It sounded like someone was blaring their stereo. Squall's grip on his bag slipped, and he dropped it into a puddle.

"Shit...." He hissed, picking it up again. He started shivering, and it wasn't from the cold of the rain, which had soaked his clothes through. His shirt was now translucent, clinging to his chest, his pants stuck to his legs, sloshing as he walked. He turned down another street, and recognized it as Nida's. The sound was really loud now, and he could hear it clearly over the driving storm. It was singing. Squall stopped dead in his tracks, and his bag slipped out of his grip again. His gunblade also clattered to the ground, and Squall sunk to his knees, feeling like he was being pushed down by heavy, strong hands. The sound of the music rang in his ears like a bell. Fermata's voice.

"Nida....." Squall heaved. "Oh, God...." He put his hands to his face, and his fingers came back with blood, which was quickly washed away by the rain. It was coming out his nose. "God....." Squall panted, ignoring his nosebleed. He unzipped his bag, and rummaged through his stuff, all of it becoming wet. "Where is it....." He panted. The blood from his nose was beginning to pour into his mouth, and the taste was beginning to make him sick.

Squall moaned as the song got louder, more powerful. Even though he wasn't a Sorcerer, he could feel some sort of ugly feeling in the air. It was a magic war. And, it felt strong and dark. "Nida...." Squall heaved, pulling his discman out of his bag. He didn't care what CD was in there, but put the headphones on, and turned the volume up to as loud as he could tolerate. The CD in it was KMFDM, and the loud beats drowned out Fermata's music, letting Squall rise to his feet. He picked up his bag and gunblade, and began running down the street. He could see lights on at Nida's house, and the front door was wide open. One of the garden lamps that lined the front walkway was missing, and the ground was pulled up around it. The lamp part of it was smashed on the ground, the long iron pole gone. The song skipped because of Squall's running, and he heard a loud crash and screaming. "Nida!" Squall cried, running up the front lawn, dropping his bag as he pulled his gunblade off his back.

Squall held the long silver blade out in front of him, and slowly stepped towards the doorway, his body dripping with water, blood still slowly dripping out of his nose. Squall's aquatic eyes widened as he saw the scene inside. Nida and Fermata were fighting at a speed that Squall could barely follow. She had an iron pipe, probably from the garden lamp. Nida had his sickles, which were dripping with blood. His whole body was streaked crimson, and Squall's heart leapt in his throat, wondering if Nida was injured. However, it was the angel wings, truly there, opaque and real, that made Squall's breath quicken. The wings were actually attached to Nida's body, were real and there. Nida swung one of his sickles outwards, and it cut Fermata's leg off. She screamed and toppled over.

Squall opened his mouth, and tried to step forward, but the magic was so oppressive in the air that he couldn't made headway against it. Squall let out a small, choking noise when he saw Fermata's blood flower, growing her a new leg. As it was regenerating, she hit Nida in the face with her iron pipe, cracking it against his cheek. Squall could see her mouth moving with her song, but he couldn't hear it because of his headphones. Squall then moved his gaze over when he saw movement on the steps. It was Nida's father, laying in a pool of blood, totally vulnerable to Fermata's deadly song. Squall tried to step forward, but the magic flung him backwards. He landed in a heap on the doorstep, the rain pouring down so fast that it was flooding the street.

Squall groaned, looking up just as Fermata knocked Nida backwards, pouncing on him, her long hair and dress floating around her with rising magic. Her normally beautiful and elegant face was twisted into a horrible, ugly expression of glee, making her look like a caricature, like some sort of demon. She began beating Nida with the iron pipe so quickly that the now winged Sorcerer couldn't fight her off.

"Nida!!" Squall screamed, only able to watch as Fermata attacked Nida.

Rinoa rolled down her window, the rain hitting her arm as she looked out at the Galbadian Police Officer that was standing next to the Jeep. He was wearing a yellow rain slicker over his uniform. "Is there a problem?" Rinoa asked.

"What's your business in Galbadia?" The officer asked, giving Rinoa a pointed look.

"I'm a citizen here."

"Can I see some ID?"

Rinoa sighed, and reached for her bag, which was on the passenger seat. "I wasn't speeding," Rinoa said quietly, handing the officer her driver's license, which was Deling City issued.

"I'll be the judge of that Miss...." He read the ID. "Heartilly."

"But, I wasn't speeding..." Rinoa insisted, knowing that she wasn't.

"Get out of the car," the officer said blandly.

"But...." Rinoa began.

"Out!" He commanded.

She jumped at the tone of his voice, and opened her door. As soon as she stepped out of her car, into the rain, the officer grabbed her, and put her against the wet hood of the car. "What's going on?!"

"Put your hands on the hood, Miss."

Rinoa's eyes widened as she heard the click of a gun. She put her hands on the black hood of the Jeep as the officer used his knee to spread her legs. He began to pat her for weapons. "What is going on?" Rinoa demanded.

The officer found the Beretta handgun that Rinoa had taken from the SeeD army arsenal for protection. "Okay, you're coming with me." He quickly snapped handcuffs around Rinoa's wrist. She cried out, and looked over her shoulder, a wild, shocked look in her eyes. "I didn't do anything wrong!" She gasped as the officer turned her around. "I'm allowed to have that gun, by issue of SeeD."

"Come with me," the officer stated. Rinoa could hear real glee in his voice, only partially masked under bored contempt.

"You can't do this!!" Rinoa cried. She stumbled as the officer dragged her to his squad car. "I want a lawyer!" She fell to her knees, her body becoming covered with wet mud.

"Get the fuck up!" He pulled Rinoa to her feet, and shoved her in the back of the car.

"Let me go!" Rinoa screamed. "You can't do this to me!" She banged her shoulder against the door of the car again and again, screaming curses. "Fuck! Let me the fuck go!" She glared at the officer as he moved to the driver's door. But, her curses died on her lips when she saw a shadowy figure standing in the rain, watching her. It was a Galbadian General, in full uniform. Rinoa slowly shook her head back and forth as the General in the rain lit a cigar with a flame that hovered on the tip of their finger. When the General's face was illuminated, Rinoa scuttled away from the window. Tevedes was standing in the rain, but was perfectly dry. Another figure was standing beside her, holding a large umbrella that kept them both dry. Rinoa couldn't really see through the shadows, but that made her even more wary. Tevedes and Gietzen. "Oh, God....." Rinoa panted as the officer got in the car and started the engine. "What are you going to do to me?"

The officer turned around, and the smile on his face changed. In fact, his entire face changed. His hair grew longer under the policeman's hat, and it shone like metal. He transformed into Pallas.

"No!" Rinoa cried, trying to struggle against her handcuffs. She looked out the window, but Tevedes and Gietzen were gone. "Help me...." Rinoa whispered under her breath. "Nida... please help me."

Pallas smiled thinly. "Oh, we're counting on Nida helping you, Miss Heartilly." Pallas's smile melted away, and she gave Rinoa a hard look. "Now, settle down."

"Fuck you!" Rinoa cried. She realized that she was totally under their control, and she whimpered, slumping into the seat. She felt the car move, and they began to drive towards Deling City.

Nida spit up blood as Fermata hit him again and again with the iron pipe, cracking his bones. His head snapped to the side, and he saw his father writhing in pain at the top of the steps. He cried out as he felt one of his ribs smash apart. In the distance, he thought he could hear someone calling his name. It sounded like Squall. Squall calling for him. Squall's beautiful, throaty voice calling for him, screaming for him. "Squall...?" Nida whispered. Because of the fact that Fermata was injuring him so, Nida felt her song beginning to take effect on him. He could feel it entering his brain, feel its talons sinking in.

"Nida!!" Squall screamed. To Nida, it actually sounded like Squall was there. "Squall...?" He whispered again.

"Cunt!" Fermata cried, bashing him with more severity. She was so strong, and all Nida's attempts to halt her song were in vain.

I guess I wasn't strong enough.... Nida said in his mind. I don't want them to take you... But... I can't fight her.... Nida felt his body beginning to internally haemorrhage, and he closed his eyes as Fermata's pipe hit him across the throat, stealing his breath from him.

If you let Fermata take me, everyone you love will suffer. They won't just kill your precious Squall. They'll torture him for as long as his body holds out.

Nida moaned in pain, his arms feeling so heavy. Fermata was concentrating her blows to his torso and shoulders, leaving his arms pinned out at his sides, crucified around him. Nida ground his teeth as Fermata's voice echoed over her song. "Poor little Nida. You're playing with the big girls now." She leaned in. "And, don't worry... We'll take care of Skwall for you."

Nida shivered with anger, and used every ounce of strength he had, and sliced through Fermata's throat. She gurgled, the pipe falling out of her hands as they flew to her ruined neck. Her song stopped, Nida's sickle having cut right through her larynx. Nida used the chance to rise to his feet. He could already see Fermata forming whispers with her mouth, and the flesh of her throat was already beginning to repair. It was going more slowly than usual because she could only whisper her song.

"You shouldn't underestimate me, Fermata," Nida breathed. But, it wasn't Nida's voice that spoke those words. It was Iudicium. Nida smiled grimly, and sliced through Fermata's body with his sickles. The blades met in the middle of her torso, and Nida held them there. She moaned, and Nida winked, pulling the blades right through her. Fermata's body fell in two pieces, and Nida was showered with her blood. It soaked his hair, clothes, and dripped all over the feathers of his angel wings. Her throat had healed, and she let out a terrible scream. Nida could already see her body trying to heal itself again, so he pounced on her, and began slicing her up, the curved blades of his weapons ripping her apart. He cut and cut and cut until there was nothing left to heal, until he was completely covered in Fermata. Her flesh and brains coated his blades, and he arched his back as he felt Fermata's magic, her powers, rise into the air like one of her songs. It was like it entered through his mouth, a great hand reaching down into his throat. When the power had completely entered his body, only then did Nida stop slicing at what was left of Fermata's body. She was no more than gobs of flesh staining the rug.

Nida rose to his feet, and Fermata's power strummed through him. He closed his eyes, feeling the blood, hot and wet, all over him. He could hear it dripping to the floor from his angel wings. He was still holding his sickles, his arms crossed over his chest, the blades arcing out at his sides.

Squall slowly stepped into the room, his eyes wide. He could barely see because his eyeglasses were streaked with water. Squall pulled them off his face, and wiped them on his shirt. Without his glasses, Nida was blurry, and Squall wanted to see him badly. He put his glasses back on and gaped at his lover. It was like he was looking at Hyne, at God, as he stared at Nida. His skin was red with Fermata's blood, and he looked so powerful, so less than human with his wings, which were dripping onto the floor, like they themselves were bleeding. The sickles also dripped gore, and after all the noise that Fermata had filled the house with, the silence was deafening. The drips of blood were the only sound. Squall opened his mouth to say something, but he couldn't find his voice. Even through the sheen of blood on Nida's skin, Squall could see the bruises that Fermata had given him healing rapidly. Within moments, they were gone. "Nida...." Squall whispered, finally finding a small part of his voice.

Nida's almond eyes snapped open, and he looked at Squall. Nida's eyes were onyx black, and glittering in his sockets. "Squall....?" Nida whispered back, his eyes melting back to their chocolate brown colour. The Asian man looked around him, seeing the gore that used to be Fermata. For the briefest second, Nida thought he was seeing things. But, Squall was there, staring at him, his beautiful aquatic eyes wide behind glasses. When had Squall started wearing glasses? Squall looked even more beautiful, if that was humanly possible.

"Nida......" Squall felt tears join the rainwater on his face. He opened his mouth to say something, anything to Nida, but a groan stopped him.

"Dad!" Nida exclaimed, rushing over to his father. Squall was glued to the spot, unable to move. "Dad, are you okay?" Nida asked, crouching beside his father. The black angel wings hadn't disappeared, and were still dripping blood all around.

"Nida...?" Daisuke wheezed, looking up at his son. "What....?"

"Shhhhh...." Nida coaxed. He put his hands on his father's face, and closed his eyes. The angel wings, which had folded down, flapped out from Nida's back. They were so large that the feathers grazed Squall's face, smearing him with thick blood. Nida closed his eyes, and thrust his power into his father, healing the injuries that had come from Fermata's song. "It's okay, Dad.... It's okay."

Daisuke breathed out, and passed out. He was still alive, and Nida could see the blood returning to his cheeks. Nida picked his father up, and he felt the angel wings recede, then disappear. He carried his father to his bedroom, and gently laid him in the bed. "I'm so sorry, Dad..." Nida whispered. He looked down at his father for a few minutes, then looked around. Squall hadn't followed him. "Squall....!" He quickly rose and went back to the living room. Squall was standing in the same spot, not moving.

"Squall...." Nida hovered at the top of the stairs. "What are you doing here?"

Squall just looked at Nida, his legs shaking. Nida was still covered in blood, it was still clinging to his flesh. Squall slowly sunk to his knees, unable to support himself anymore. Nida came down the few steps, and stopped in front of Squall. "Are you okay?" He asked. He moved to crouch in front of his lover, but Squall's hands, shaking, came out and gripped Nida's wrist.

"I'm so sorry...." Squall panted, looking up at Nida from his kneeling position. "I'm so sorry..." He bowed his head, and pressed Nida's bloodstained hands to his cheeks. "I'm so sorry."

"Squall..." Nida trailed off. "Get up."

"Please forgive me," Squall whispered, his voice hitching.

"Get up," Nida commanded gently.

"Nida..." Squall panted, looking up. Tears were making his eyes watery, dripping down his face along with the water in his hair. "Please forgive me. I..... Even if you don't love me anymore, I can't live if you hate me...."

"I don't hate you," Nida whispered. "I don't hate you." Nida pulled Squall to his feet, looking directly into Squall's eyes. "I could never hate you."

"I'm such an asshole..." Squall whispered slowly. "I'm so sorry... I didn't mean what I said. I shouldn't have said it...." Squall wiped tears off his face as they dripped from his chin.

"I'm not angry anymore." Their voices never rose above a whisper.

"I miss you."

"I thought you didn't want to see me..." Nida admitted. "I thought, a little part of me thought, that you really did think it was all my fault. I knew that you were in Winhill."

"Didn't you hear me calling you?" Squall demanded.

Nida shook his head. "No."

"I saw you on the beach, and I ran after you."

"Oh...." Nida whispered. "You shouldn't have come here."

Squall shook his head, his lips quivering. "Don't say that. Please...."

"It'll put you in danger. They'll kill you in a second."

"I'm already dying...." Squall muttered, his voice shaking. "I'm dying without you."

Nida shook his head, putting his hands on Squall's shoulder. "Don't say things like that, Squall..." He trailed off when he felt how bony Squall's shoulders were. He shook his head, and looked into Squall's eyes. "You look beautiful in glasses." But, a distant frown clouded Nida's features at the hollow appearance of Squall's cheeks.

"Do you still love me?" Squall asked.

Nida touched the sides of Squall's face. "Always."

Squall wrapped his arms around Nida, not caring about the blood, or the fact that he was soaking wet. Squall pressed his cheek to Nida's shoulder, sighing at the sheer relief he felt when Nida's arms came around him, holding Squall tightly. Nida felt a lot stronger than he had before. Squall felt that Nida's muscles were more defined, but the strength didn't come from that. It came from the powerful blood that was coursing in his veins.

Nida crushed Squall against his chest, his heart beating faster, feeling completed. "I love you, Squall." Nida tightened his arms around his lover, and frowned. He could feel Squall's bones protruding. Squall had always been slender, but at least he'd been healthy. Nida ran his hands down Squall's sides, his eyes widening at the feel of ribs.

"Nida...." Squall moaned, kissing the side of Nida's face, tasting blood.

Nida pushed Squall away gently so he could look into those shimmering blue eyes. "Squall... what happened to you?"

"I can't live without you..." Squall whispered.

Nida noticed the dark circles, which were mostly hidden under Squall's frames. "When was the last time you ate anything?"

Squall shrugged. "I had a banana this morning." He gripped Nida's wrists. "Please... just..." He shook his head, wrapping his arms around Nida's body again.

Nida hugged Squall back, not liking the emaciated feeling of Squall's body. Even though this skinniness worried him, Nida was glad to have Squall so close to him. Even though he'd been trying to protect everyone by distancing himself from them, he was so alone without Squall. But, Squall's skinniness, and the circles under his eyes showed that Squall had felt it much more acutely. "Did you get my flowers...?" Nida asked.

"How do you think I figured out you were here?" Squall asked, muffling his own voice by kissing Nida's mouth. He melted, barely able to stand under his own power as Nida kissed him back. Nida tasted like blood, but he also tasted like smoky power, heady and intoxicating. Nida's tongue gently pushed into Squall's mouth, craving the inner wetness of the scarred man's mouth. Squall's hands balled into fists, clutching the fabric of Nida's shirt. Blood oozed out of the shirt, and over Squall's knuckles. Nida's hands moved into Squall's hair, and water droplets fell to the ground, being shaken out of the auburn tresses.

When they pulled apart, they rested their foreheads against each other. "Why do we keep doing this to ourselves....?" Nida whispered.

"I'm sorry..."

"Stop apologizing," Nida commanded lowly.

Nida looked around the room. "God....."

"We should clean this up," Squall said quietly. "Shit!" He suddenly cursed. "I left my fucking stuff out on the lawn..." He went out to get it. As he did, Nida put his hands on his hips, and looked at the awful mess. "What have I done....?" He whispered. He moved his hand to the backs of his shoulders, which felt tender. Nida stood in the middle of the horrible bloodstain, and stretched out his hands. The blood rose up, summoned, to his fingertips, like a gory lava lamp. When the blood touched his fingers, it vanished, absorbed into his body, the last of Fermata being sucked in by Iudicium's powers.

Squall came back in, his bag of clothes dripping from the still pounding rain. "Shit..." He tossed the bag on the ground, watching with horrible fascination as the blood vanished at Nida's fingertips. Even after all the blood in the room had come to Nida's fingertips, it still looked like shit because of all the broken furniture.

Nida turned around, and looked at Squall. "Is your stuff all soaked?"

Squall frowned, nodding. "You're really powerful...."

Nida briefly looked stricken, like Squall had slapped him across the face.

Squall could see that Nida seemed hurt by his words. The scarred man slowly walked towards his lover. "I'm not afraid of you, Nida." He took the Asian man's hands.

"That actually means a lot to me," Nida whispered. He looked around. "This place is a fucking mess."

"You can buy new furniture, right?"

Nida nodded. "God... I feel so bad for my father."

"He'll be okay, right?" Squall cocked his head.

"I think so...." Nida sighed heavily. He gave Squall a hard look. "You know... I don't really like this..." He gestured at Squall's body. "Why are you so skinny?"

Squall sighed, shrugging. "I just haven't been hungry."

"You also have circles under your eyes. Have you been sleeping?"

Squall slowly breathed out. "No. I told you, I'm dying without you. Eating made me sick, and I couldn't stop thinking about you long enough to sleep."

Nida brought Squall to him, placing his hands on either side of Squall's wet throat. "Squall.... I can't be responsible for your life like that. If you put me on a pedestal like that.... My fall won't be pretty."

"But, I love you..." Squall whispered.

"I know. I love you, too." Nida kissed Squall's beautiful mouth gently. "But... it worries me that you seem to be so dependant on me."

"You sound like Seifer," Squall muttered.

"He's a smart man."

"I don't want to talk about this right now..." Squall trailed off. "We should probably clean this up." He gave a sad smile and wiped at Nida's cheeks. "You're a mess, too."

Nida just gave Squall a look.

"Nida, please..." Squall whispered. "I'll do anything you ask. I'll eat a fridge worth of food, I'll sleep for a million hours. I'll eat fucking glass if you want me to. Just tell me I can stay. Don't ask me to leave."

"But... They'll come... I just killed Fermata...The others won't be far behind."

"I told you.... I'd rather be dead than be apart from you. Even if you don't need it, I'm your Knight, and I will be until you're not a Sorcerer anymore!" Squall exclaimed. "Even after that. Just... let me be with you."

"Where is everyone else?" Nida asked quietly.

"I came alone. Seifer, Zell and Dad know I'm here...." Squall trailed off, his eyes shining. "You won't believe what happened!"

Nida cocked his head. "Hmmm?"

"I saw Raine. I saw my mother...." He gripped Nida's hands. "I talked to her, I touched her."

"What...?" Nida smiled in confusion.

"Seifer must have summoned her. It was....." He trailed off, smiling distantly.

Nida hugged Squall gently. "Come on... Let's clean this up. We can get new furniture in the morning...." Nida sighed. "Unless more Oracles come."

"You're more powerful now, though."

Nida nodded sadly. "Yeah, I am. But.... the Oracles that are left... " He shook his head. "I mean, the Oracles that are left... Gietzen, Tempest, Pallas, Viator, Valhalla, Kronos... And, especially Tevedes. They're strong." He frowned. "I almost didn't beat Fermata."

"But, you did."

"They'll hurt all you to get to me..." Nida cast his eyes to the stairs. "Look what happened to my father. I couldn't bear if it happened to you, to Rinoa, to Laguna."

Squall frowned. "In Winhill, Griever came back... I felt her."

"What happened?" Nida asked, pushing the couch towards the door. "Garbage collection is today. Lucky." He frowned.

"I tried to attack Rinoa. She was on her rag... And, I could smell the blood."

"Is she alright?"

Squall nodded distantly, helping Nida move the ruined couch, ripped with slashes from Nida's blades, the frame smashed from the iron pipe that Fermata had been using. "Yeah, she's fine. I guess I would be dead if it weren't for her." Squall explained about Xiphias's blood as they moved all the broken furniture to the curb.

"God..." Nida trailed off, stamping down the torn up lawn around the missing garden lamp. "Why is this happening?" The rainwater was washing the blood off his body. He turned to face Squall, seeing the dried blood on Squall's upper lip washing away. "Are you okay? Did Fermata's song injure you?"

Squall shook his head. "I'm fine."

"I'm going to check on my dad..." Nida climbed the steps and went into his father's room.

Squall sat on the arm of the only chair that survived the fight, kneading his temples. He cleaned his glasses on the edge of his shirt, but it was too wet, so he got a paper towel from the kitchen. His clothes were sloshing with water, but he couldn't change because all his other clothes were soaked, too. Squall climbed the steps, and went into Nida's bedroom, knowing that Nida wouldn't mind if Squall borrowed some clothes. The auburn haired SeeD stripped off the soaked fabric, dropping it on the floor. Squall didn't mind wearing Nida's underwear. He'd had his tongue up Nida's ass multiple times. Sharing underwear wasn't a big deal. However, Squall's weight made the clothes slightly baggy on him. He and Nida had been relatively the same size. He sighed deeply, pulling on a pair of loose pants and a blue T-shirt with some sort of Dollet soccer logo on it. He brought the wet clothes to the bathroom, putting them in the tub. When Squall turned around, Nida was in the doorway.

"I hope you don't mind that I'm wearing some of your clothes... All mine are wet..."

Nida smiled. "It's okay."

"How's your dad?"

Nida opened his arms to Squall, and sighed into his lover's chest, bowing his head. "Still sleeping." He pulled away, kissing the tip of Squall's nose. "I have to clean myself up. Can you just... keep an eye on things....?"

Squall nodded. "Yeah. Don't worry."

Nida trailed his hands down Squall's concave stomach. "Will you promise me you'll eat something?"

Squall nodded slowly. "Fine." He stayed in the bathroom as Nida pulled off his bloodstained clothes, which were drying, stiffening with the blood. Nida turned on the shower, perching his nude body on the edge of the tub.

"What...?" Nida asked, cocking his head, his hair stiff with crimson.

"Just looking," Squall whispered. Three weeks wasn't a terribly long time, but it had felt like an eternity. Nida's body was harder, more defined than it had been. Nida had always been in shape, but it was more evident now. Squall bit his lip, only leaving the bathroom when Nida closed the shower door.

Squall had actually eaten something. There was a strawberry and rhubarb pie in the fridge, and only two pieces had been gone. Squall had ended up eating the whole thing, wolfing it down, his appetite returning to him. After, he'd poked his head into Daisuke's room, but Nida's father was still sleeping. Now, he was laying on Nida's bed, listening to the rain pounding against the windows. He saw some tapes stacked next to the small television. They had labels that said 'Shin', and then dates. Squall had to resist the urge to pop one of them in. He'd never seen a picture of Nida's former boyfriend, the boyfriend that Nida still might have been with if Shin hadn't been murdered.

"Here you are..." Nida trailed off. He was wearing a pair of pyjama pants with a red and green plaid pattern. "Did Dad wake up?"

Squall shook his head, rolling over so he could look at Nida. "No. And, yes, I did eat something. I hope you didn't want that pie."

Nida waved his hands. "It's okay." He crawled up on the bed next to Squall, pressing his temple to Squall's hip.

"Do you still love Shin?" Squall asked, looking over at the tapes.

"Hmmm.... Part of me does, yeah. Why?"

"I just noticed the tapes."

"Oh." Nida sat up. "I was depressed about us... And.... I just wanted to remember better times." He sighed. "I love you more."

"You don't need to convince me..." Squall whispered.

"Really?" Nida raised an eyebrow. "You sure? Is this the same Squall Leonhart who can't stand to have me in the same room as one Miss Rinoa Heartilly?"

Squall sighed. "I'm getting over it.... I know that you love me...."

Nida crawled over to Squall, pulling the scarred man on top of him. "I like you with glasses. It's sexy."

"I can't see without them..." Squall ran his hands up Nida's sides, stopping when Nida winced a little. "Shit... My nails."

"They're still growing?"

Squall looked at them. They were an inch long. "I'll cut them." He moved to get up, but Nida caught Squall's wrist.

"No... don't...." Nida whispered. He ran his hands through Squall's hair. "I really wish you wouldn't stay...."

"Too fucking bad." Squall lowered his head, and kissed Nida soundly. Their tongues moved together, relishing in the taste of each other's mouths after their time apart. When their mouths pulled apart, Squall looked down at Nida, and slowly moved his tongue along Nida's high cheekbone. He licked at Nida's beautiful face like a cat, like the lion that he'd once been. Squall could taste soap and Nida's skin, which smelled faintly like aftershave. As Squall licked Nida's face, the Asian man brought Squall's fingers to his mouth, and he kissed them gently, with butterfly pressure, Squall's long nails digging gently into Nida's lower lip.

Squall's hands swept down Nida's bare chest, which was still damp. Squall raked his nails gently down the planes of Nida's torso. The other man seemed to like it, because he squirmed under Squall. Squall moved his tongue into Nida's ear, which caused Nida to murmur something. It sounded like Squall's own name. The auburn-haired man shook at this. Just feeling Nida breathing, panting against him, just hearing Nida whisper his name, just feeling Nida's hands on his body.... Fermata didn't matter, the rest of the Inaudax didn't matter.

Nida pulled at the hem of his own shirt, which covered Squall's torso. Squall sat up, and as Nida pulled it off, he suddenly felt self-conscious. Nida's body looked so beautiful, and Squall knew that he'd lost weight. He actually bowed forward so that Nida couldn't look at him. But, Nida sat up, pulling Squall's hands away from his chest so he could look at him. Although Nida didn't care for the skinniness in the least, he still thought Squall was beautiful. Nida wrapped one arm around Squall's waist, and used his free hand to pull Squall's glasses off.

"You must think...."

"Shhh..." Nida interrupted. "I think you're beautiful," Nida replied, as if he'd known what Squall was going to say. He put Squall's glasses on the nightstand, and then crushed Squall to his chest, running his hands up and down Squall's pale back. Squall's spine was protruding, and Nida frowned against Squall's mouth at how delicate he felt. Nida was almost afraid he was going to break Squall, crush him. Squall moved his legs so that he was straddling Nida's hips.

Nida opened his mouth to say something after Squall pulled away, but closed it again. "What?" Squall asked.

"It's nothing..."

"No, tell me..." Squall whispered, licking down Nida's throat, pushing his tongue into the well between Nida's collarbones.

"Please don't run away from me..." Nida whispered as Squall's tongue curled around his left nipple. "If you're going to stay... Promise that you really will..... No matter what."

Squall reared his head up as he pulled Nida's pyjama pants down. "I promise." Squall dropped the pants at the side of the bed, and cupped Nida's engorged genitals with one hand. He then pulled his own pants, actually Nida's pants, down so that they were both naked. "I missed you. So much."

"I know..." Nida whispered, looking at Squall's nude body and aroused genitals. "I missed you too. All twelve inches of you."

Squall just looked blankly at Nida for a moment, then raised an amused eyebrow. "Very cute." He gently rolled Nida over.

"You haven't wanted to be on top in a while..." Nida whispered as Squall settled his weight over Nida's buttocks.

"I just want you. I don't care how I get you...." He gently bit into Nida's earlobe, not hard enough to break the skin. He ran his hands down Nida's back, his pale hands looking lighter compared to Nida's olive skin. He stopped his hands at Nida's shoulder blades, touching the spot where Nida's wings had protruded from. There were small scars there, long and thin. Squall ran his fingertips over the scars, and they caused Nida to shiver, his skin to rise in goose bumps. Squall then bowed his head, running his tongue up and down them. As he did this, he moved his fingers down Nida's back, into the crack between his ass cheeks. Nida gasped, arching his neck backwards when the pad of Squall's thumb pressed against the puckered entry to his body.

Squall crawled off Nida's body, and opened the drawer of the nightstand. "Do you have any condoms?"

Nida nodded. "They're in there somewhere."

Squall found some, and brought out two, as well as a tube of lubricant. He kept one beside his knee in the sheets, and opened the other one, putting it on his finger to protect the delicate mucus membrane of Nida's rectum from his sharp nails. He covered the condom in lube, then gently pushed his fingers into Nida's body, doing it more carefully than he usually would have. As he pushed his middle and index finger into the hot cavity, he stroked Nida's hip and butt with his other hand. Squall could feel Nida's power all around his fingers, like he was dipping them right into pure magic. When he stroked over Nida's prostate, he felt Nida's muscles contract around him, and it felt ethereal, other-worldly. He continued to stroke within Nida's body, wishing that he could feel skin against skin, feel this magic right against his fingers, right against his cock. But, then he remembered all the blood that Nida had been covered in. He'd ignored it before, but this time, he didn't want to be so reckless.

Nida panted into the sheets, lust zinging through him each time Squall's finger moved over his prostate. And, it wasn't just over that gland. It was Squall on top of him, Squall touching him, Squall leaning over him and kissing his back, the tender spot on his back where his angel wings had exploded from him. When Squall's fingers pulled out of him, Nida wanted something filling him, wanted Squall filling him. He closed his eyes, finding a balance in his power, not wanting it to leak away from him. His power was getting larger, stronger. He didn't want to lose control of it, especially not around Squall. He gasped, a strangled moan, when he felt the head of Squall's cock press against him, and then into him. Squall's erection was large, and Nida breathed out, a distant fire moving up his spine. It had been a while since he was penetrated. He breathed out, contracting his hands into fists, gripping handfuls of the sheets. Nida breathed out further, relaxing, when Squall hit the sphincter further up in his body. It caused him to cry out, biting his lip.

Squall settled his body over Nida's when he was finally pushed in all the way. He pressed his chest against Nida's back, which was rapidly rising and falling. Squall curled his hands with Nida's, and slowly moved himself in and out of Nida's rectum. He hated the condom at that moment, hated that it was a barrier between the feel of Nida's burning hot body against his cock, all around his erection. Squall's breath was laboured from sheer emotion as he slowly thrust into Nida's body. The last three weeks of being apart meant nothing as long as he was connected this close to the other man. Squall tightened his grip on Nida's hands, moving his mouth back to the pale scars on Nida's back, running along his shoulder blades. When Squall kissed the white lines, he felt something vibrate against his lips. Power. It was thrumming underneath Nida's skin like an electrical current.

Nida rose up on his knees, pressing his back tightly against Squall's chest. He moved one of his hands, which was still clasped with Squall's, to his throbbing erection. Squall moved his hand up and down Nida's shaft in time with Nida's own masturbation. Nida lolled his head to the side, catching Squall's mouth with his own, devouring Squall's pretty pink lips, tugging at them with his desperate teeth. He panted, whimpered, into Squall's mouth as Squall thrust into him, slowly, his pace like molasses. The friction of Squall moving in and out of him, the feeling of Squall's breath against his face, against the nape of his neck, against his shoulders, was enough to make Nida's body bow, especially after his own doubts of Squall's regard for him, his own doubts about if they could make this, not to mention almost dying at the hands of Fermata, at the voice of Fermata.

Squall's fist gently tightened around Nida's erection, his hand moving in time with Nida's. Squall closed his eyes, burying his face in the soft, damp hair at the nape of Nida's neck. He came into Nida's body, his ejaculate caught by the condom. His orgasm was slow like the pace of their lovemaking had been. Squall felt the wet, sticky heat of Nida's semen coat his fingers as Nida came as well. They panted and breathed together, their hearts drumming in their chests, practically beating next to each other, as one organ.

They didn't say anything to one another, because their sheer touch said everything they wanted to convey with words as they held each other as tightly as they could, as closely as they could while still remaining two people.

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