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Darkness engulfed the earth. It was a moonless night, and even the stars refused to shine. Creatures of night seek shelter in their hiding place. Silence spreads its shroud to every corner, forming an inescapable trap where even the night air stayed still. It weighed onto each and every being, but none dared to taunt its reign.

Zidane stood in the middle of a cobble-stoned cross road. He looked around, searching madly for an escape route. He scampered frantically to the left. Finding himself on unknown ground, he seeked refuge in an allyway. His foot was carrying him as fast as he could, but he knew he could not escape. The shadow caught up with him rapidly from behind, creeping wuickly and soundlessly like a cat.

He jolted to a halt. Fear engulfed him like a powerful wave. He felt it approaching, steadily, silently like a stalking feline. A sick feeling knotted in his stomach. The dead end towered above him, as if jeering at his defeat. He felt his heart pounding. His chest felt like it was going to explode. His breath came short and gasping.

A force reached him and held him around his throat. He felt himself jerked, uprooted aggressively from the ground and hurled through the air. He smashed heavily into the wall, head first. Gasping, he struggled to sit up and see through the sweat and blood on his face.

A shadow approached, dignified and sleek, the shadow of shadows. He strolled casually, almost gliding, towards Zidane, his slow grace seemed to diffuse out of him in an aura of grandeur. Stopping three pace away from Zidane, he looked down mockingly at him. He kicked Zidane heavily in the chest.

Zidane groaned at the pain. It felt as though a claw had dismembered him from inside. He slid to the ground, face down, haunching over in bitter agony. He felt another blow at the side of his head, and his strength failed him. His numb body jerked from the assualt and landed on its side as darkness rushed over with its veil.

A soft chuckle rang out, soft but clear like a silver bell.

"Heheheh ...... . Silly little boy. You knew you couldn't escape. You knew you had no chance in the first place. You knew it."

---------------

The splash of cold water stung his aching body, withdrawing him from his unconsciousness.

He found himself in a cold, damp cellar. Thick, cold iron bars imprisoned him in an accursed prison. The only source of light was that of a flickering candle at a corner, burning out its last bit of life in its metallic holder.

Zidane lifted his hand and found them bounded with heavy chains, likewise for his other limbs. He tried to stand up, but the wounds on his body stung him so badly he almost swooned, so he slumped back against the corner.

The bold oak door, the enterence to the outer world, creaked and opened. The sound of torrantal rain and freezing cold night air poured in, stabbing Zidane like arrows. His predator entered and stood by the iron bars that encased him, touching the emotionless metal with delicate, crisp fingers. Zidane could feel him jeering from a distance.

The door slammed shut with a muffled thump in the background, shutting out the rest of the world. Zidane's heart sank. He longed to be freed, from this hellish prison, this tormenting place. He yearned to be released, but the spark of hope within his heart extinguished as the moan of the oak door echoed in the hollow pathways beyond.

The iron gate to his prison opened, crashing into the stone wall with a metallic clang. The figure entered, Thigh-high boots clicking on the stone ground. The gate closed behind him. As he walked closer, his outline became increasingly visible. He stopped infront of Zidane as he did before.

His waist long silver hair flowed luxuriously behind him, framing his his fair face, which, illuminated by the candlelight, had faded to an extremely light, almost deadly pale complexion. The purple armour he wore, trimmed with gold rims, covered his body till the midriff, while the white dress like garment he wore barely covered half of his hip. His bell sleeves rippled with the slightest movements of his hands, adding to his grace. The whole purpose of his garments' presence seemed to be enhancing his extremely feminine build, matching and blending almost flawlessly into the beautiful curves of his body.

Zidane knew who the intruder was better than anyone. He lifted his head slightly, his neck too weary and tired to do anything more than that.

" ... Kuja." He said. His voice escaped from his throat, so dry and raspy it seemed remote. It sounded more like a muted squeak to him. He let his head drop, too tired to hold it up any longer.

Kuja kneeled with deliberate ease beside Zidane, his white dress creating a little gust of wind as he did so. His silver locks were dripping with rain, but that did not reduce his glamour by a single twit. In the contary, Zidane seemed so belittled, dirty and small beside Kuja, under his supressing aristocratic aura, the overpowering feeling of his supreme grandeur. He seemed to send out an invicible wave of power, threatening to crush him utterly should he rebel.

Kuja placed an elbow on a knee, supporting his chin. He peered, amused, at Zidane. His deep blue eyes piercing Zidane's, as if grouping in his mind to search for any hidden secrets.

With the same hand that he held his chin Kuja grabbed Zidane's cheek and raised it aggressively, his seemingly delicate limb now displaying unnatural strength. Nearing his face to Zidane's, he grasped Zidane's chin and looked straight into his eyes, their faces not more than an inch apart. Zidane squirmed helplessly under Kuja's power. He tried to retreat further into the corner, pressing his tired back against the wall. his shock was betrayed by his heaving breath.

"You can't escape." Kuja hissed into Zidane's right ear. His voice was malicious and evil like a python.

Zidane raised a hand and pried Kuja's grip from his face. He swung his head to the side to avoid Kuja's wicked eyes. He waved a hand in mid-air frantically, trying to weild Kuja's presence away, and the chains that bounded him rattled noisily as he struggled.

"What do you want with me ?" He whimpered.

The amusement in Kuja's eyes diffused off into a glint of pure distaste. His hand shot out and clutched violently at his hair. He stood up and lifted zidane's head by his brown hair, and Zidane gritted his teeth at the pain that tore at his sclap. Kuja then shoved zidane's head at the wall, holding Zidane's hand in an iron grip with his other hand.

" 'what do you want with me' ?" Kuja huffed a slight chuckle, mimicking Zidane's feeble tone, "What do I want with you ? How pathetic you've become, my beloved brother," Kuja spat sarcastically, while Zidane stared fearfully into Kuja's face with his wide, blue eyes, full of fear and confusion.

A vile snicker found its way out of the silver one's mouth. Silhousetted by the dim flicker candle, he appeared even more malevoent than ever. His evil yet woeful eyes gleamed of anger and jealousy, and every word he spoke hinted of spite and hate. The snicker grew louder, till it was a hysterical laughter. A dreadful one, for Zidane. When Kuja was finally done he looked into Zidane's eyes again.

"It's all because of you. I lost everything to you. What do i want with you ? I'm recollecting what you took away from me, bit by bit. I'm going to stalk you and hunt you down. I'm going to haunt you, till the very last gasp of breath escape from your lungs." Kuja growled. "What do i want with you ?" Kuja laughed slightly, as if it was the most silly question he had ever heard.

"My world was ruined because of you. It would have been so much better if you," he hissed, shaking zidane some as he said that, "You, have not existed at all. You, took everything away from me. You're not as perfect as you think. A Percect prototype. What a silly joke. Why can't anyone see it ? The little summoners adore you. Your comardes respect you. Even the distasteful black mages, and the silly , soulless genomes liked you." He laughed, " What is this, some joke ? What are you, in the first place, that deserved so much ?"

"I've returned from hell to torture you, to smother you slowly till the spark of life cease to shine in you. I'm going to torture you, make you suffer, cause you pain, and there will be nothing you can do."

"This is IMPOSSIBLE ! You're DEAD !" Zidane screamed while trying to pry Kuja's hand from his body in vain.

"It's all because of you !" Kuja scrowled loudly, his body shaking with rage. He backhanded Zidane sharply across the face for trying to resist him. He gave the chains a tug, and hooked it up, shortening it. Its ring echoed in the dampened cellar, now leaking and dripping due to the rain above. Zidane's hands were now held high above his head. They face each other, one sitting weary and fatigued on the floor, the other kneeling easily and gracefully.

Kuja brought his face closer to Zidane's, till he was looking at his ears. The silvery, wet locks of feathery hair was all Zidane now see of his dreadful brother.

"LEAVE ME ALONE !!" He cried.

"You cannot escape." Kuja purred seductively into Zidane's ears. Droplets of water from Kuja's hair dripped onto his shoulders, seeping through his tattered clothing, icing his skin. Then, Zidane felt a tight grasp on his neck. He coughed pathetically, and swung his arms wildly in mid-air, trying to resist. As the air was being squeezed bit by bit out of his body, a burning sensation reached into his lungs, his guts, spreading throughout his body. He felt as if he was engulfed in the hottest flames in hell. He opened his mouth to gasp, to take in the life-saving breaths of air, but to no avail. His hands went to his throat, but were unable to ease the tight, painful grasp. His eyes searched madly for an escape route, but there was nothing but darkness beyond darkness.

"This, is. reality. "


Zidane Screamed as his eyelids flung open. Feeling a convulsive sensation in his throat, he ran to the washroom. Bending over, he threw up into the basin. His breaths came out as irregular puffs, his limbs were weak and useless and his body ached and burnt with fatigue. Zidane stood up slowly and painfully, and looked himself in the mirror. The boy who stared back at him was a complete stranger. His once rich gold hair is now dry and brown, his blue eyes now glint of not vibe but exhaustion. His face was dark and dirty with sweat and soil. He lit an oil lamp to see his surrounding better.

Then he caught sight of it.

The fingermarks on his neck. As if someone tried to strangle him while he was asleep just a moment ago. His throat was burning from the grasp that had left their hot red marks on him.

Then came the chill. Though the air in his room was hot and humid, he felt a icy presence behind him.

"You cannot escape."

He felt the hair on the back of his neck bristle and rise. The hot breath on his ears. He felt as though someone fiddled with his dry locks of hair.

Zidane spun around, tail flicking with fear, but there was no-one. Instead, a violet haze seemed to spread itself throughout the dark of his room. He thought he saw it creeping past the shadow's boundry, into the yellowish light of the washroom. He edged to a corner. tripping over something on the floor, he fell backwards and landed on his back. Zidane sat up, and to his surprise the mist was gone.

Zidane leaned back against the corner of the wall, then realised with shock that it was exactly the same position he held in the awful dream, in the dreaful damp cellar, at the corner where his dead brother returned to haunt him. He tried to get up, but stopped immediately when he thought he saw a shadow glide, extremely slowly, across his room, stopping briefly to turn and look at him. He blinked his eyes, and it was gone.

A low, eerie chuckle rang out, softer than a feather landing, yet clear as a silver bell. It echoes in Zidane's head, the familiar voice churning in his senses.

Zidane clutched his head in dismay. He groaned at the burning sensation, the let out a depressed howl. He grabbed his hair, attempting to tear them out. Regret and anguish gnawed at his tortured heart. He buried his face in his palms.

"What do you want me to do ?" He hollared, but there was nothing to enlighten him of his aching conscience.

Without, the midnight rain poured as it had always been, drops of crystal singing its melancholy song.